Scenario: During July and August, 2014, the University or Redlands introduced Esri's new Business Analyst Online (BAO) application to undergraduate students in the School of Business. The tool was a smashing success. Students particularly loved the ability to generate reports from distance and drive-time rings. Unfortunately, with success came stress. We were caught off guard by the credit consumption associated with these popular uses of the tool. As students gleefully explored the new BAO and generated hundreds of reports, our credit tank went from nearly full to almost empty.
Coaching point: BAO is an online application that uses ArcGIS Online for mapping, geoprocessing, and analysis services. Accordingly, operations such as defining areas for reports and generating reports in BAO consume credits from an institution's ArcGIS Online organizational account. For instance, each report generated from distance or drive-time rings consumes about 10 credits. Running the underlying network analysis needed to define drive-time rings is also credit intensive. Thus, when dozens of students are conducting drive-time analyses and generating reports in BAO, credit consumption can be high.
We learned from our summer experience that, to anticipate such demand on our organizational account, we must proactively work with the School of Business (and any other academic wishing to use Esri applications associated with ArcGIS Online) to predict how many credits will be used by a planned activity. Such a prediction may be accomplished by having a single student work through the activity ahead of time while we use the ArcGIS Online Dashboard application to measure the student's credit usage. Once this per-student credit consumption estimate has been determined, the credit consumption for implementation of the entire activity may be predicted. If the predicted amount is too high, the activity may be revised to lower the anticipated credit consumption. The author of the activity might consider reducing the number of reports needed to accomplish the activity, limiting drive-time analyses, and/or having students work in groups or teams. Providing students with clear guidelines for use of the application is important, as well as impressing upon them that the application should be used thoughtfully and sparingly.
View more ArcGIS Online coaching points at: ArcGIS Online Coaching Points for Higher Education