Business Analyst Online...What's that?

Blog Post created by Joseph_Marsh-esristaff Employee on Sep 27, 2017

Business Analyst Online (BAO) is the greatest little app that you may have never heard about. It allows you to look at demographics, economics and it creates amazing infographics that help you understand your community. This knowledge can help organizations make more informed decisions.


The ability to use your own data in Business Analyst opens up great opportunities for any type of organization, since information does not need to be strictly related to 'business data'. In fact, any organization can leverage these capabilities and understand their geography in an easier way.


Business Analyst can work globally and leverage the information of the Living Atlas and your own data, in any part of the world. This allows organizations to combine different sources of information to understand their communities, for purposes related to economic development, planning, public safety, or any other. Utilities anywhere in the world can combine their data with high-quality Esri curated data in one place.


In this blog, I will show how to use BAO to discover new customers for a natural gas utility.  We want to target customers who are using bottled propane, electric, and wood to heat their homes. We also want to find customers who have enough capital to afford the conversion of their household appliances over to natural gas.


Getting Started with Business Analyst Online (BAO)

Business Analyst Online organizes your work into projects. Projects act as groups, which allow them to be shared with others. After opening up BAO, you can get started by creating a new project.


With Business Analyst Online, you can:

  • Analyze trade areas
  • Identify new store locations
  • Find new customers
  • Refine marketing messages
  • Evaluate sites
  • Reveal untapped markets

In this example, we want to find new customers, so we will perform a smart map search.



Here, we can select Esri's most up to date demographic data. As a gas utility, one of the variables that we would be interested in if we are looking for new customers pertains to the fuel non-customers are currently using to heat their homes. If we go to Housing, Heating Fuel, we can select from a range of options, and here we select Bottled/Tank Fuel, Electricity, and Wood as variables.



You can also search for variables. Try typing in disposable income and BAO will return the most relevant results. Add 2017 Median Disposable Income and apply all your variables.






With all your variables applied, BAO gives you sliders to further define your parameters. I entered in 5% on my bottom ranges for LP Gas, Electricity, and Wood in order to drop off the insignificant values. I entered $30,000 into the bottom range of 2017 Median Disposable Income because I have determined that it is the minimum amount necessary to afford the conversion to natural gas.


Select the census tracts you are interested in. You can select more than one by using 'Ctrl + Click'. Once you have made your selection, combine them into one site. 




Lastly, you can easily create infographics and reports from templates. Here is an example of a customized infographic. You can share this digitally as a PDF or image. As a gas utility, we now have a custom report we can share with marketing and sales that lets them see exactly how many potential new customers are located in block groups in our service territory.




Business Analyst Online (BAO) allows all of your disparate data sets and tables to be viewed and used together in one place, enabling you to quickly zero in on areas of interest. This can save a lot of time and effort. With BAO, you are able to create beautiful and compelling infographics to summarize key information. Finally, you can share these deliverables with the rest of your organization and the public.