ESRI & IBM Map New BI Avenues

ESRI has reached an agreement to allow IBM consultants to integrate ESRI’s spatial analysis software into IBM’s business intelligence (BI) offerings.

ESRI, a leader in spatial analysis and geographic information system (GIS) mapping software, is making its line of software programs and services, most notably ArcView Business Analyst, available to IBM customers. ArcView Business Analyst, allows companies to create and analyze market areas, analyze demographics and locations, and generate maps to show potential business or advertising locations.

"Working with ESRI will add a new visual dimension to our business intelligence solutions, allowing IBM customers to make more strategic business decisions because they can visually portray their customer base, store layouts, geographic market penetration and driving distances from branches, for example," says Ben C. Barnes, General Manager of IBM Global Business Intelligence Solutions.

IBM clients are already benefiting from this agreement. For example, Dallas Teachers Credit Union, a full-service credit union with more than 145,000 members, combined the strengths of IBM business intelligence and ArcView Business Analyst when making its presentation to the Texas Credit Union Department to upgrade its membership charter from occupation-based to community-based.

An occupation-based charter would limit the Dallas Teachers Credit Union’s member base to around 250,000. By enlarging its scope to include the residents in a five-county area around Dallas, the credit union could attract 2.2 million potential members.

Dallas Teachers Credit Union uses IBM DB2 Universal Database, IBM DB2 Intelligent Miner, IBM Visual Warehouse and Business Objects OLAP to compile information on its current members and where potential members would be after the charter change. That information was then plotted on a map using ArcView Business Analyst and sent to Texas Credit Union Department officials to request the change.

As its member base grows, the Dallas Teachers Credit Union averages two new locations per year. More factors come into play than just the number of members when building a new branch. Sometimes the new branch needs to alleviate high traffic patterns at an existing branch.

"We just opened a new branch in a suburb that is relatively close to a branch that was overloaded," Thompson said. "We wanted the drainoff. We mapped out intersecting circles from the branch locations showing two to three miles of overlapping members. We estimated a 20 percent drainoff, and I think we’ve got about 25 percent from the old branch using the new branch." Thompson says the mapping ability of ArcView Business Analyst drives home the powerful information brought forth from BI.

Dallas Teachers Credit Union’s core system runs on an IBM RS/6000 S70. The business intelligence solution runs on an IBM Netfinity 7000-M10 server running Windows NT, using IBM DB2 Universal Database, IBM Visual Warehouse and Business Objects OLAP. It also uses IBM DB2 Intelligent Miner.

Business intelligence serves as the "intellect" of an organization, and is defined as the gathering, managing and analysis of vast amounts of data, transforming the data into information, and distributing it throughout the company for strategic decision-making.

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