Welcome back to our Mapping for Business 101 series.
Last week we looked at the types of problems that maps can help you solve. This week we’re going to be taking a closer look at how to choose the right mapping software to meet your organization’s needs.
What are our challenges
First of all you need to write down the challenges you face and how mapping for business can help you solve them. You can use last weeks blog post to help you identify those challenges. Knowing your challenges allows you to identify the software solution that best fits your needs.
For lots of businesses it can be one or more of the following:
- I can’t visualize my market coverage.
- I need to see how different areas are performing against targets and quotas.
- I need to be able to find a supplier for my customer as quickly as possible.
- I need to balance my team’s territories better.
- I need to make sure I have enough people on the ground to manage demand.
- I need to find new territories for my organization to expand into.
- and many more!
What outcomes do we need?
Following on from identifying the challenge you face is identifying exactly what outcome do you need from inputting your data.
Some of the options available on the market are:
- Link to live interactive map
- Embed map on your website
- Insert into PDF report
- Insert into PowerPoint Slideshow
- Print off for office wall
- Share internally with colleagues and management.
You may like to do all of the above but mark out a couple that you truly need to have.
Do we need it to scale as our organisation grows?
This question really comes into play when you are looking at desktop vs cloud mapping software. If you are in an organization that is growing or plans to grow exponentially in the near future, then a software that can scale with you is essential. and is most certainly an important question to ask yourself when comparing software. Cloud based solutions tend to the best option for businesses to scale up or down, without the need to buy expensive software licenses or install programs on individual machines. We wrote an entire blog post about benefits of cloud based mapping software, which you can read here.
Do we need third party data to helo our analysis?
This is an important question as many mapping software providers will charge extra depending on the amount of third party data you require. Others will offer it as part of whichever package you choose. Some of the data you should look out for are as follows:
- Multiple globally available data sets (e.g. US, Canadian, European datasets etc)
- Census demographic data
- Customized datasets
- Global geo-coding.
What level of support do we need?
Every organization has different support requirements. If you have a data analyst in place who is familiar with similar tools to a mapping software, then the support required would be completely different to the likes of a novice with no prior experience of mapping or any other data analysis software.
Some of the things to look out for are:
- In app support
- dedicated account manager
- detailed onboarding suitable for teams of 3 as well as teams of 50+
Now that you know what you need from a mapping software it is time to head out there and identify the one you feel suits your needs the best. Use the questions we have provided you with to help you make your decision. Don’t forget to check in next week to see how to best analyze your data.