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Why Current GIS Solutions Won’t Make you Smarter: The Value of Strategic Store Lifecycle Management

Bart Waldeck

We recently released a white paper entitled Making Store Lifecycle Management Strategic. The white paper illustrates the importance of setting your real estate and store development strategy and executing against it – and that the relationship between strategy and execution is mutually-dependent. You can set a plan and execute against it – but if you fail to take lessons-learned in the field and factor them into your strategy going forward, you are truly missing an opportunity to improve.

 

Part of the challenge in doing this well is that the existing disconnected point solutions most retailers and restaurant concepts use today only address part of the process. The deal makers, market planners/analyst, finance departments, construction managers, facilities managers, etc, are using separate systems that don’t talk to each other – with the resulting information kept in silos, resulting in tremendous inefficiencies and frustration as the various groups try to meet deadlines and keep track of the process.

 

Inevitably, mistakes happen – somethings significant ones – because one group doesn’t get the full breadth of the information. In fact, according to one Harvard Business Review study, this is not uncommon. They report that 30 percent of manager identified failure to coordinate across units as a challenge to executing company strategy, and that they were three times more likely to miss performance commitments due to lack of support from other areas of the business.

 

Many companies fail to recognize how critical it is for departments to “speak” to each other when managing the complexity of the retail real estate and store development cycle – and working with existing, disconnected point solutions simply exacerbates the situation. When GIS, predicative analytics and store lifecycle management solutions operate independently, they only address one piece of the puzzle without a clear understanding on how they impact other areas.

 

In this series of blog posts, we’ll share excerpts from the white paper that highlights the limitation of the current landscape. In this post, we’ll start with the current state of GIS.

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Geospatial Information Systems – The Current Landscape

While existing standalone Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) claim to meet the unique requirements of several industries including retail, they are simply not designed to address the industries’ specific requirements.

 

Largely map based visualization and query/reporting tools, they offer little to no capability for true analytics or decision support. Given their emphasis on the look rather than the efficacy of the maps, they are largely limited to desktop use, and therefore constrained by the processing and computing power of those individual computers. The result is that any big data analytics are unrealistic.

 

These stand-alone, on premise GIS solutions are not supported by IT organizations because of their niche and often obscure technology stacks, leaving store development teams at the mercy of the vendors. In larger organizations, they are often cobbled together with other solutions to provide some semblance of an end-to-end solution. These integrations are always custom, the systems were not designed to work together and support is a challenge because the organization is dealing with multiple vendors and non-IT sanctioned tools.

 

From a real estate and store development perspective, GIS is typically an island – disconnected from predictive analytics / modeling and store lifecycle management execution. Here’s the bottom-line regarding today’s GIS landscape:

  • Not intelligent – GIS solutions cannot perform the underlying analysis retailers require to model markets and analyze retail trade areas.
  • Not collaborative – current standalone GIS solutions fail to meet the real estate department’s requirement to share and collaborate anywhere and at any time.
  • Not optimized for retail – significant emphasis on mapping, and limited to no capability in analytics or data processing.
  • Not connected with execution – as an island located at headquarters, GIS cannot inform store development and store development cannot communicate the daily realities of execution that impact strategy.
  • Not supported by most IT organizations – as non-standard technologies they only have a limited user base within organizations.

And like all standalone solutions, they are only one piece of the puzzle. While they provide some answers, without the logical connection to predictive analytics and store execution development, you’re making decisions based on parts of the story – and missing the full plot. Retailers require their GIS systems to move beyond mere visualization, to be responsive to shifts and ensure rapid and fully informed decision making and execution alignment.

 

To learn more about the limitations of the current landscape and how a Strategic Store Lifecycle Management solution provides the intelligence and logic that enables you to build a plan and execute against it, download the white paper below.

 

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