Earth with lightsConsumer-focused location applications have been growing exponentially, and this is driving the consumerization of Geographic information systems (GIS) technologies in the enterprise.

For example, if I need to bring my son to soccer practice, I can look up how to get to the field on my way there simply by tapping a few buttons on my phone in Google Maps. Along the way, a few more taps can find me the closest sporting goods store for a new pair of shin guards. The consumer is rightly focused on what they want or need to achieve and not on the underlying technology (GIS) that helps them to accomplish this.

Of course, Google Maps is not the same as the GIS technology enterprise professionals use to plan location-based initiatives – it contains only a subset of enterprise GIS capabilities. However, Google Maps has changed employees’ expectations for how easy it should be to put similar location intelligence to work for their business, which has made GIS much less of the siloed practice it once was.

This is happening in the same way that improved analytics are pushing the accessibility of data and business intelligence (BI) to more corners and more people within an organization. But far more than just a data subset of the larger BI view, enterprise location intelligence is rapidly becoming one of the most vital parts of any broader BI program.

Business Intelligence and GIS

Market analyst firm Pringles & Company estimated at the beginning of this year that the market for BI software will double over the next four years, rising from $76 billion in 2012 to $143 billion in 2016.

Part of the reason BI is getting renewed attention is simply because so many more things can now be tracked. Today, clicks, conversion rates and brand awareness can all be recorded. By further layering this data with location intelligence through GIS technologies, it’s possible to create an unprecedented view of the business, customers, opportunities and potential challenges.

Historically, much of that GIS technology existed largely as a specialized practice walled off from other parts of the organization. But, thanks to the proliferation of tablet computers and smartphones, GIS technologies have become easier to use through their “Google Maps-ification.”

More employees are looking at ways they can apply the principles of GIS they’ve learned on mobile devices to their responsibilities at work. At the same time, location intelligence is becoming more commonplace among many industries’ workforces: mining industries can locate and analyze potential natural resources; insurers can identify high-risk areas and price policies accordingly; local governments can map out crime patterns and decide where they should deploy police officers.

All of this valuable data can be created and integrated with maps that allow for better visualization and faster, more strategic planning. By combining the new consumer perspective on GIS technology with more effective tools, the revelations about business opportunities based on location aren’t happening in isolation anymore. Now, that information is easily converted to actionable insights that drive sales, IT or business development.

Challenges and opportunities like these are why we focused on helping GIS professionals create multi-layered, visual representations of location intelligence with the MapInfo Professional v12.0 technology suite, and why we launched MapInfo is a trusted brand in the GIS community, and we wanted to provide professionals access to a multitude of resources to help them break out of their historic silos and facilitate location-based applications and services for their peers across the enterprise.

The new site encompasses a wealth of knowledge about how GIS is changing and impacting businesses including a wide range of case studies from companies like T-Mobile, Peugeot and Citroen, and even local UK public safety offices. There are also videos, blogs, newsletters and more. I invite you to take a look, or share below other ways you see GIS transforming business.

Interested in learning more about the future of GIS? Read my other blog posts about how location intelligence is changing.