Friday, June 15, 2012

Location Intelligence: Disruptive or Enabling?

The Deloitte Technology Trends 2012 Report is out and it's a great read. The report groups 2012 trends into 2 categories, Disruptors and Enablers.

  • Disruptive innovation tends to be revolutionary ‑ it changes your workflows. Included in this category are Social Business practices, Enterprise Mobility and Cloud technology.
  • Enabling innovation tends to be evolutionary ‑ it improves existing workflows. Included in this category are Big Data and Geospatial Visualization.

The report makes the case that Geospatial Visualization (e.g., Location Intelligence) is enabling rather than disruptive, and thus that its implementation within an enterprise is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. It is perhaps a small distinction, but one that might have a significant effect on implementation decisions, so let's delve into the report's methodology:

Our 2012 report shares ten trends grouped into two categories. Disruptors are technologies that can create sustainable positive disruption in IT capabilities, business operations and sometimes even business models. Enablers are technologies in which many CIOs have already invested time and effort, but which warrant another look this year because of new developments. Enablers may be more evolutionary than revolutionary, but the potential is there to elevate the business game with technology. (Preface)

Can we judge from these definitions whether Location Intelligence is disruptive or enabling, revolutionary or evolutionary?

I think the problem with these definitions is that they are relative to the particular enterprise. You cannot say absolutely that Location Intelligence is an enabling or disruptive technology if the designation depends on work already done by the CIO within individual enterprises. So, Location Intelligence may be revolutionary in some contexts, and evolutionary in others.

It's important to note that there are no value judgments attached to these labels. Just because a technology is labeled disruptive, that is no reason not to implement it. While implementing a disruptive technology may be more capital-, time- and labor-intensive, and present a higher risk, the implementation may be fully justified by return on investment and competitive advantage. Only diligent cost-benefit analysis will tell you for sure.

Geospatial Visualization will be an enabler if you integrate it with current enterprise information workflows ‑ with the existing technology and practices within your enterprise. Your information consumers will realize the benefits much more quickly.

The APOS Location Intelligence Solution (LIS) integrates SAP BusinessObjects with Esri ArcGIS technology, letting you introduce Geospatial Visualization within existing enterprise infrastructure and workflows. If you already have SAP BusinessObjects, APOS LIS is most definitely an enabling technology.

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