Rajit is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Data Sutram, a Location Intelligence Enterprise funded by the Indian Angel Network & Sanjay Mehta led 100x.VC. Having started the company during the final year of his engineering degree at Jadavpur University, he raised his first venture capital at 22. Rajit has been featured by Youth For Business (an initiative by US Consulate & Contact Base) as one of the top Young Entrepreneurs from Eastern India. In a conversation with CXO Outlook, Rajit talks about the importance of location intelligence, using data to plan smart territories & plan resources, impact of Big Data on the e-commerce industry, and much more.
How can Location Intelligence help organisations identify appropriate business opportunities?
One of the most significant factors that determine the success of any business is location. That means, even a great company with a great plan can fail if it’s set up in a wrong place. But how does a business decide which location would suit it the best? At present, most companies use heuristics and intuition when it comes to finalizing a site. However, this only brings out 10% of the actual situation. 90% of data about a location lies within a myriad of other sources such as apps, B2C companies, satellites, etc., which companies still don’t bank on. This is where location intelligence (LI) steps into the picture.
LI helps businesses expand by pinpointing new locations. For instance, where next to open stores, branches or warehouses. Similarly, it also helps companies reach out to the right audience with the hyperlocal market. For example, which societies, businesses, or doctors should pharma companies approach to sell their products? Moreover, LI helps companies improve their existing assets – both physical and digital – by assisting them in deciding what products to stock to give the maximum return on investment (ROI). An industry which was only popular for its navigation and mapping aspects is now tapping into new areas with the increasing use of analytics and intelligence.
In fact, in today’s post-pandemic world, it is widely used by governments and organizations to fight the coronavirus by making people aware about the containment zones and the nearby health facilities that they should reach out if having any symptoms or tested positive. For instance, policymakers and authorities used geographic information system (GIS) to map the disease data – such as the area of outbreak, population health and infrastructure available in a particular area to gauge the risk, during the pandemic spells using spatial trends. Likewise, several companies have used LI to visualize and analyse their operations spatially to remain effective and perform consistently during the current crisis.
How to identify the data that is critical to your future reward strategy? How to use data to plan smart territories & plan resources?
We can use data to identify areas where performance is below potential, where store/product sales are less than the market potential and accordingly classify different regions into red (grow), yellow (build), and green (defend) zones. Next, we can identify a company’s marketing targets in ‘red and yellow’ zones, where it needs to send the sales team to market their products. Then comes the final stage, that is, net impact analysis. Here, we can determine the ROI in line with salesforce deployment by quantifying the net input in terms of effort and resources.
How is Big Data impacting the e-commerce industry?
Big data is bolstering the e-commerce industry in numerous ways. To begin with, it helps players to market their products and services better than usual. For instance, through micro-targeting, they can reach out to the right audience with the right set of products aligned with their needs, keeping in mind various factors including demographics, purchasing patterns, ethnicity, age, etc. Similarly, with geofencing and hyperlocal marketing, companies can also approach a specific target audience based on their granular catchments, who are more likely to buy their products through social media, digital advertising or billboards. They can then plan better promotional strategies based on consumers’ demand for different products in different localities. We also call it product-push approach.
Secondly, big data optimizes supply chain management by ensuring timely delivery of the product to the customer at economical price points. This happens through geocoding of address (placing the right location), route optimization (finding the fastest route), and smart order fulfilment by ensuring that the order is fulfilled from the nearest supply centre via the quickest mode of transport. Big data also optimizes logistics by helping companies identify an ideal location to set up warehouses, ensuring smart stock inventory and fleet management. In doing so, it also identifies delivery bottlenecks and finds areas of ETA breaches, high returns and fraudulent orders, thereby enhancing customer experience in the process.
How can geospatial help the retail industry post COVID-19?
As we shift from globalization to localization with an increase in customer visits to neighbourhood stores, businesses can leverage geospatial data to identify high-potential societies and offices in the stores’ neighbourhood. With geofencing and targeting, companies can focus on customers who visit the stores’ proximity through digital ads and marketing campaigns. Next, they can analyse the demand for different products in different localities at a 100x100m level granularity. This is called product demand mapping and smart inventory planning. Similarly, geospatial data can also be used to understand consumer behaviour and footfall trends. This insight will help businesses decide the apt location for opening dark stores/mini-warehouses and shutting stores that are not giving profits. In short, geospatial data allows companies to identify valuable customers, understand their demographic characteristics and serve them seamlessly.
Tell us about the importance of leveraging location intelligence as an effective method for Covid vaccine distribution.
Location intelligence will play a major role in achieving the successful distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. First, we can calculate several indices such as doctor and bed count, the population in a particular area, virus spread, air quality index, etc. that will help us strategize the distribution process. Taking these factors into account, we can predict the demand for vaccines at a very granular level. Finally, we can point out the most vulnerable communities to reduce mortality rates, and supply vaccines to doctors to protect the healthcare system.
How can BFSI companies create a real-time impact with location analytics?
The core parts of BFSI that form the entire BFSI ecosystem be it financial services, SME lending, or insurance – all rely on consumer spending capacity and life quality index of a location. This helps determine the volume of business that it can achieve. In this process, LI helps organizations mobilize their resources as per demand and increase their market share by making right location-based decisions. For instance, using LI, we can measure the risk involved in the lending journey and accordingly optimize loan collection process by analysing location behaviour, thus preventing the business from landing into losses.