As data science continues to coalesce, it is widely believed that a large majority of compiled data contains a location element that significantly impacts the level of insights (and, therefore, value) that can be derived—and deploying location intelligence has become a critical business strategy for “mapping” data.
However, new research from location intelligence firm CARTO reveals that while the knowledge and collection of location data is widespread across organizations, many face challenges in analyzing this data and have a perception gap of how mature their location intelligence is.
“We’re encouraged by the work we do every day with forward-looking organizations using location intelligence to truly make a change, not only in their business, but in society,” said Javier de la Torre, CEO and co-founder of CARTO, in a news release. “It’s evident that more organizations are seeing the value of location data and the benefits possible from incorporating location intelligence insights into business decisions. With the right resources and mindset, we see the potential for smarter business models, more personal experiences, better access to resources and general improvements to our work and personal lives.”
According to the study, 94 percent of organizations knowingly collect data with a location component, and 84 percent of C-level respondents are planning to invest in location intelligence in the next three years. Executives also believe that location intelligence will grow in importance to their organizations over the next few years, with 68 percent of respondents saying it is “very” or “extremely” important today and 85 percent reporting that would be the case in the next three years.
To the best of your knowledge, how does your organization collect location data?
However, the study found that only 17 percent of analysts say their business performs spatial analysis on their location data, while 39 percent of C-level executives believe this is the case. Additionally, many businesses are hindered from diving to a deeper level through their location data analysis, with 42 percent still relying on traditional business intelligence tools to analyze their location data. In fact, the most popular software for analyzing location data was Microsoft Excel (54 percent), indicating many companies don’t support spatial data science methods and techniques.
The survey also found that businesses collecting and analyzing location data will need to overcome some difficult challenges to successfully adopt location intelligence, particularly data quality and accessibility. Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) said “ensuring data quality and accuracy” is a top challenge. Analysts were reported less aware about the various possible methods to collect this data and related challenges, like extracting data in a useable way, and storing and securing data. However, analysts were more aware of challenges like ensuring data quality and accuracy and gathering data in real time.
With respect to collecting location data, which of the following challenges does your organization face?
Other key findings include:
- The top challenges of location intelligence data analysis were extracting, cleaning and transforming the data into a workable format (41 percent); ensuring sufficient data is available for actionable insights (38 percent); and making sense of the data (37 percent).
- Only 27 percent said they use custom geography and 17 percent use block groups, indicating most businesses collect location intelligence data with less detail.
- An overwhelming number of respondents that were extremely familiar with location intelligence said artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet of things were either very important (44 percent) or extremely important (49 percent).
- The availability of location data across departments varied widely, with 52 percent saying it was either “very accessible” or “extremely accessible,” while 30 percent reported it was “somewhat accessible” and 16 percent said it was “not at all accessible.”
CARTO polled more than 200 respondents at midsize to large enterprises about their current and future plans to implement location intelligence.