Review of the Plenary Sessions at the Location Technology & Business Intelligence Executive Symposium

By Directions Staff

The symposium focused in on several functional areas to further address enterprise-wide and ROI issues in CRM, real estate, insurance and field service as they related to location technology and business intelligence.In each plenary session, two to four case studies were offered (described below), which were then commented upon by a panel of senior technology providers.Below we describe the sessions' case studies.To view a list of sessions and technology panelists, click here.Suffice it to say that the technology panelists provided an interesting perspective on the case studies, and brought up challenges and issues in each area discussed.

Intelligence About Customers: It Starts with Location (CRM & Market Analysis)
The Wharton School's Bill Cody, managing director of the J.Baker Retail Initiative, moderated this session.Cody pointed out that the Retail Initiative's key goal is to help Wharton students understand that retailing is a significant career, on the same level at Wharton with finance and banking, for example, and the work being done at the Wharton GIS Lab related to retail site selection and market analysis is important to the Retail Initiative.

The sessions focused on analyzing information about customers and turning it into actionable marketing.Andy Moncla of VF Corporation addressed the geodemographics of the obesity trend in the US and its impact on store merchandising.Cindy Reid of Mapping Analytics discussed the analysis of the seniors market as a key aspect of Financial Freedom's reverse mortgage marketing plan.Rich Hollander of the Buxton Company and Gary Gregory of Hilti's ProShop Business Development group reviewed the analysis undertaken by Hilti in placing its ProShops within select Home Depot stores where they had the greatest opportunity for success.Each of these case studies offered significant examples of ROI.

The Real Estate Decision Process: Site Viability and the Ripple Effect for Marketing and Merchandising
Dr.Susan Wachter, real estate professor at the Wharton School, moderated the real estate session, which focused on applied, highly analytical applications.Andrew Galasso, vice president of real estate and finance for Charming Shoppes offered a case study looking at brand build-out potential, specifically for The Charming Shoppes' Lane Bryant mall store brand.Hartwell Hooper, director of market research at CVS Realty Company, showed how his team performs site selection and sales forecasting, and delved deeply into an analysis involving CVS store advertising through newspaper circulars.Brady Foust, executive vice president with Proxix Solutions discussed how site scoring models help companies with major expansion plans (50+ stores a year) quickly focus in on better opportunities.These are some of the more "traditional" applications where geography and business have combined in the past, but these case studies demonstrated how much more robust these analyses have become in the last few years.

Meeting Higher Expectations of Customer Service: Field Service & Logistics
Len Kennedy, vice president of UPS Logistics, moderated this session.Ed Clary, CIO of Haverty's Furniture, talked about the ups and downs (mostly ups) of bringing in a sophisticated, automated routing system to handle as many as 3,000 furniture delivery stops daily.Clary made some interesting comments before launching into his case study, which are worth reflecting on, as they tie together many of the central themes of the meeting.Here's an excerpt:

As I sat through the presentations yesterday and today, it was interesting to hear the dialogue going back and forth about 'trying to convince the CIO of something,' but I've never really found myself in that position as a CIO when it came to technology -- I've always felt like I was kind of like the innovator. But really this meeting hasf framed some things for me and tied them together in a way that I did not understand.I am approaching this from a completely different direction than probably a lot of you who have a lot of expertise in GIS, and I really don't.We approached this as a specific problem, but now that I've sat through the other sessions, I see that within our organization we are doing things within real estate, and advertising, and of course in routing, and I can start to see how they tie together, and I feel like I'm walking away with more of a mandate than I came in with.I feel the sense of urgency to get this into our data warehouse...

Michael Cosentino, who has been involved in the geospatial market for Sun since 1987, and is currently the geospatial market development manager, gave a presentation on how Sun "took their own medicine" and used geospatial technology to avoid building its 95th regional stocking center.Shaun McMullin, field service technology specialist for DHL/Airborne Express and J.Patrick Moore of Integral GIS talked about using Microsoft's MapPoint to develop a relatively inexpensive routing system fairly quickly - Directions readers will learn more about their next steps as the two plan to provide an update article in late June. Scott Fingerhut, general manager of business optimization for TIBCO, reminded the audience in his closing statement that geography is yet one more context in which business operates, and is certainly critical to TIBCO's support operations.

Charming Houston Hall on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania was the site of the plenary sessions.
Shown here is the "Meeting Higher Expectations of Customer Service: Field Service & Logistics" session.

Risk Mitigation in Finance and Insurance
Directions Magazine's contributing columnist on homeland security, Kevin Coleman of Technolytics, moderated the risk mitigation session.Two interesting case studies were offered, each with a different slant on risk mitigation in insurance.The first case study, presented by Brian Heber, director of property/casualty marketing for Nationwide Insurance, and Larry Daniel, president of Conclusive Strategies, described Nationwide's applications for analyzing market potential on the strategic (market forecasting and modeling) and tactical (open/close/relocate agents) level.In the highly competitive insurance industry, accurate deployment of resources to best capture market is critical to success.Eric Harnden, co-founder and CTO of AgencyPort, showed how a New York insurance company is using a product his company developed (Agency Portal) to speed up and improve underwriting, using an on-line system supported by decision trees. GIS has supported the insurance industry for more than ten years, but these newer applications are showing interfaces more and more appropriate to their audiences.

A Mobile and Global Workforce: Location-based Services to Facilitate Corporate Communications
Michael Graff, general manager for Microsoft's MapPoint Business Unit, kicked off the next session with a "live" demonstration of how Microsoft MapPoint partner Cubistix helps Pechters, a 500 person bakery in northern New Jersey, make sure that even the smallest orders get fulfilled, using GPS-enabled cell phones to route and interactively reroute bread delivery trucks.The session primarily focused on embedding GPS technology within telephones, which is driven by the E-911 Phase II Mandate, requiring all carriers to be able to locate a cell phone within 50' by December 2005.The commercial applications that are evolving based on this requirement were further examined.

Frank Schroth, vice president of marketing for uLocate, described several uses his company is marketing, including parents being able to know where their children are at all times. Dr.Joe Masso, Manager of ITS Business Development for, Inc. described an application being used by Abt Electronics' delivery teams to route drivers, help with directions, handle order changes on-the-fly, and even use magnetic card readers attached to the GPS-enabled cell phones for real-time credit card transaction approval.Hans van der Maarel of Exqte in The Netherlands followed up with a description of how DOW Chemical is adding custom data (DOW pipelines and facilities) to an existing navigation system (TomTom Navigator) to help locate facilities in the field in several European countries.Some of these case studies show the cutting edge in the LBS market, but also brought to the fore fairly complicated issues related to the (current) expense of these set-ups and what the ROI needs to be to make them usable, and of course the privacy issue of location.

Enterprise Interoperability: How to Make Location Technology Work with Finance, HR and Other Enterprise Systems
Henry Morris, group vice president for applications and information access at IDC, organized and moderated this fascinating session, which brought together technology panelists from the business intelligence sector with technology panelists from the location technology end of things.IDC's "A Road Map for Spatial Information Systems within the Enterprise" formed the backbone of the discussion, which included the following panelists.

Technology Panelists - Business Information:

  • Bill Hou, General Manager of Service & Call Center Products, Siebel Systems Information Builders, Inc.
  • John Morrissey, Director, Professional Services, Business Objects
  • Kevin Quinn, Information Builders
  • Rob Stephens, Director of Technology Strategy, SAS
Technology Panelists - Location Intelligence:
  • George Moon, Chief Technology Officer, Advisor Business Continuity Issues, MapInfo
  • Jack Dangermond, President, ESRI
  • Steve Walden, Vice President and General Manager, Centrus Division, Group 1 Software, Inc.
  • Dr.Xavier Lopez, Director of Oracle's Spatial, Location and Network Technologies Group, Oracle Corporation
The technology panelists from business information each offered a case study that showed how their enterprise applications embed spatial tools.The central issue of the session, harkening back to the symposium's opening session, seemed to be a variation on "the chicken or the egg" - does geographic analysis drive the enterprise and therefore form the foundation for enterprise tools (such as might be the case for a business with an entirely geography based business such as a paper company), or do needs within enterprises drive the embedding of bits and pieces of location technology into their tools? Opinions varied widely on the topic, but if there were a general consensus, it could probably be summed up as "it depends, but who cares, as long as it's good for business?" This panel was a unique gathering of senior executives: location solution providers and enterprise system insiders.When you have the likes of Siebel, SAS, Business Objects Oracle, and Information Builders on the same stage as ESRI, MapInfo and Group 1 (soon to be Pitney Bowes), it is like a view into where the future of system integration is headed - these are the companies that will make it happen.

On behalf of Directions Magazine, we found it a very fascinating two days, offering many opportunities to connect with vendors, practitioners and others.There was a small but amiable group of sponsors, and an overall feeling of collegiality - which blended with our beautiful surroundings on the University of Pennsylvania's charming campus.As a final note, we offer our thanks to our partners, IDC and The Wharton School, for all their assistance in putting on this event, and to the 210 people who came, for their enlivening company.

Published Friday, May 21st, 2004

Written by Directions Staff

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