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GIS (Geographic Information Systems)

Start here for general GIS questions.

ArcGIS Business Analyst

What is Business Analyst?

The Business Analyst Desktop extension is a powerful tool that can help businesses and entrepeneurs maximize their efficiency within the market through the use of detailed analysis capabilities. The Business Analyst extension comes with a wealth of annually updated business data provided by ESRI. This data includes detailed demographics, customer spending statistics, and ready to use map documents that make getting started on your analysis a cinch! These data can be coupled with user specific business information in order to optimize and customize analysis results to an individual business and their unique set of needs. 

Business Analyst Highlights

  • High quality data: Business Analyst comes equipped with several types of data to use in analysis, all gathered from top data providers nationwide and updated on an annual basis. A business database provides users with access to over 11 million US businesses to use in their analysis, while demographic data allows them to hone their results based on thousands of social variables. Additionally, Business Analyst employs top level aerial imagery for incorporation into reports that require visual detail and accuracy. Street level data allows users to analyze networks through drive-time and routing assessments. Finally, a shopping center dataset makes it easy to analyze existing consumer tastes and spending patterns before exporting results into attractive, easy to read reports.  
  • Market analysis: Business Analyst allows users to evaluate a number of market variables by blending the data types listed above with unique customer information. Doing such analysis allows Analyst users to assess the market in exacting detail and make decisions regarding future business endeavors--and whether they'd be profitable!  
  • Customer profiling: Business Analyst's built-in demographic dataset makes it easy to gather information on both existing and potential customers in a user-specified area. Knowing the customer-base--tastes, spending habits, expendable income--can help Analyst users determine how to structure marketing efforts, avoid unprofitable situations, and locate sites for potential growth. 
  • Site selection: a major strength of Business Analyst lies in its ability to quickly and accurately pinpoint areas for business expansion. By incorporating built-in data with user specified parameters, Analyst can create probability maps to show you where your customers are most likely to live--making it easier for you to set up shop!
  • Territory design: this Business Analyst tool allows users to assess sales territories to determine the future profitability of multiple territories in a given region. The Territory Design Toolbar can determine--based on demographic data, consumer variables, area size, drive-time analysis, and more--whether or not a sales territory will turn a profit in the long run.  

Geocoding in Business Analyst

One of the most important aspects of identifying the location of future business sites is by knowing the exact location of existing stores. As with classic ArcMap Desktop, geocoding allows the user to take a table of address from a file on their computer, pull it into ArcMap, and match addresses using a geocoding service called an Address Locator. In Business Analyst, the principles are the same but the process looks a bit different. Walk through the tutorial below to learn how to load addresses into Analyst for geocoding.

1) First, open a new map document. For this tutorial, you can use one of the pre-existing map documents found in the Business Analyst > US_2016 > Data folder called "2016 Business Analyst.mxd." Or, you can use a map specific to your needs.

2) Once the map is opened, navigate to the Business Analyst drop-down menu and select "Store Setup." This will open the Store Setup Wizard, which provides the geocoding functionality within Business Analyst.

3) In the Setup Wizard, select 'Create New Store Layer.'

4) Next, select how your store data is formatted. Most often, data will be housed in a table. 'Map Ready' data will already be in shapefile or feature class format. 'Create an empty layer' allows you to populate your data manually. 'Enter stores ' addresses' allows you to manually enter the store data within the wizard. 'XY/GPS' data can be loaded from your device via a file stored on your computer. For this tutorial, we'll select 'Tabular' and hit 'Next.'

5) Click 'Next' through the following screen.

6) Click the folder icon to navigate to the location of your data. In this case, we're using a set of stores from a pre-made Business Analyst tutorial. This data can be found in the file manager by selecting ArcGIS > Business Analyst > US_2016 > Datasets > Tutorial and choosing the 'sf_stores.dbf' file.

7) The next screen will guide you through specifying which fields in your table store the address information. For geocoding purposes, it is useful to create (and name!) the fields as intuitively as possible and in the format seen below, with a separate column for the different components of an address. Using the drop-down menu for each component allows you to specify the column, or field name, of corresponding information in your table. Naming your fields intuitively to begin with can save you the pain of guessing during data-loading wizards such as this! 

8) In the next window, specify the name of the field within your data that houses the store names. Then, either create a unique ID field to assign to each of your stores or point to the field where a unique identifier was previously created. A unique ID will differentiate each store from one another.

You can also optionally add your store logo to the layer by uploading an image of the logo to appear as the symbol for your data on the map. 

9) Next, specify the name of your new store layer. After, hit 'Finish.' The geocoder (USA_LocalComposite, by default) will run to match the addresses in your data with spatial locations on the map. 

10) When finished, the locations will be added to the map!

Network Analysis in Business Analyst

Network Analyst, a powerful extension of ArcMap, is included with a Business Analyst subscription.  Network Analyst functions the same in ArcMap Desktop with or without a Business Analyst package--the benefits of using it in business and market based analysis, though, is the primary reason for its automatic inclusion with Business Analyst.

Other Business Analyst Functions

Click the link to check out ESRI tutorials on common Business Analyst tasks