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07 Jun 2024

Uptake of location intelligence gathers pace

London Tech Week blog from Esri UK

With access to geospatial tools becoming easier and more cost effective, large organisations are investing in the technology to better manage data and reap the benefits. Mark Wells, CTO at Esri UK, highlights three examples of location intelligence moving centre stage in the enterprise.

Adopting a data-driven strategy is a priority for many senior IT and data professionals and with location serving as a powerful unifier for disparate datasets, taking a geospatial approach is becoming increasingly common. Geography is being used as the primary key to integrate systems, analyse data and find new business value in data.

Historically, the cost of technology, software and the skills required for spatial analysis were prohibitive for many. But the accessibility of geospatial technology is developing rapidly, thanks to software-as-a-service and cloud platforms and more recently, the emerging potential of AI to further democratise access.

Managed Cloud Services have been instrumental in how Esri UK delivers solutions to organisations and has rapidly become the fastest growing part of our business, achieving 50% growth year-on-year, while demand for online GIS continues to grow in excess of 30% a year.

Simplifying access to geospatial technology in this way is helping a wide range of organisations take full advantage of location intelligence. Providing a comprehensive system for maintaining and analysing data, an Esri geospatial framework supports innovation, collaboration and data-driven decision-making.

National Highways, the Ministry of Defence and EKFB/HS2 are just three examples where location intelligence is helping thousands of new users on a daily basis.

Digital roads

National Highways made the move to an Esri enterprise GIS over a year ago, following recognition that geospatial data was its most critical type of data. This was the result of an in-depth asset evaluation which valued its data overall at £60 billion.

In support of its Digital Roads strategy, National Highways has consolidated all geospatial data and applications into one spatial portal, adding new capabilities and making GIS more accessible at lower cost. Delivered via Esri UK’s Managed Cloud Services, the GIS enables over 5,600 staff to make better use of spatial data.

Projects have included creating a single digital model of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) to provide staff with a single source of the truth: a unified real-time view for the first time.

National Highways Chief Data Officer, Davin Crowley-Sweet, commented at the time:

“Our spatial data is the ‘crown jewels’ of our data landscape – the primary key of primary keys. Having a single view of it to support the whole organisation helps foster a data-driven culture, increasing business benefits and critical for delivering our Digital Roads vision and beyond.”


Collaboration at scale

Last year the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) also opted for an enterprise agreement with Esri UK to help deliver operational benefits to the Defence community by enabling collaboration at scale. Worth over £46m, this new three-year contract provides broader and easier access to Esri’s location-based technologies and services in an open and scalable manner.

Supporting the MOD’s digital transformation journey and its cloud-first and mobile-first strategies, the agreement will help it achieve and maintain information advantage across its enterprise, accelerating decision-making cycles.

Building on a relationship of nearly three decades and now backed by an ‘Esri-first’ policy, this partnership enables MOD to unlock the power of location, deliver digital transformation and allow data to become the force multiplier it should be.

Savings in excess of £20m

Geospatial technology has also moved centre stage on the HS2 project in the last year or so. The EKFB joint venture (Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall) is HS2’s main works contractor, responsible for delivering civil engineering works for 80km of the rail link. Construction works include 15 viaducts, two tunnels, 81 bridges and around 30 million cubic metres of excavation.

Delivered via Esri UK’s Managed Cloud Services, EKFB has created over 200 new digital workflows using geospatial technology to help 4,000 users on the project perform better. The new approach has led to estimated cost savings in excess of £20m.

Overcoming resistance to change, where 85% of users had not used GIS before, EKFB’s blueprint for success in geospatial implementation not only delivers benefits on HS2 but acts as a legacy for the industry. EKFB has completely normalised the use of geospatial technology all the way up to board level.

If you’d like to know more, contact Esri UK on 01296 745599 or [email protected] or visit https://www.esriuk.com/en-gb/location-intelligence/overview – and check out this episode in the Enterprise Thought Leadership podcast.


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You can find more details on the author of this blog, below:


Esri UK

Digital transformation through location intelligence

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