This Spotlight on Location Data blog series is brought to you by Esri, a leading provider of software that brings location intelligence to business decisions.
When retailers and other businesses are looking to purchase commercial real estate, they often turn to a broker who knows the lay of the land for advice on choosing the best site. But how do brokers know where the best corner for a given business might be? Experience and familiarity with territory are certainly part of it, but some brokerages are adding location-data analysis to the mix.
I spoke with Matt Felton, director of research and geographic information systems at MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, to learn how location data are powering smart site selection for businesses. Felton talked about how location tools are empowering brokers in the field, as well as how he’s getting co-workers to embrace location-data analysis.
A few of Felton’s take-aways:
- Take data into the field. Research and site visits used to be separate activities, but tablets and other mobile devices allow location analysis to happen on the fly while visiting a potential business location. Having zoning data, ownership information and more at your fingertips can make conversations between a broker and a client more efficient and productive, because questions asked on the fly can be answered within moments.
- Encouraging GIS requires a flexible approach. If you want to encourage the use of location-data analysis within your organization, you need to be willing to accommodate different styles. Some employees might want physical maps to analyze, but many will want to perform location-intelligence analysis on the fly. Businesses looking to embrace location analysis must plan for various approaches that accommodate different comfort levels.
- Sharing builds buy-in. The easiest way to grasp the power of location analysis is to see it in action. Once you persuade one employee to use location-data tools, you can use his or her efforts as an example to pique the interest of others. Soon, you’ve created a conversation that leads to questions, ideas and wider adoption of the technology.
Check out the entire interview after the jump.