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Geocoding attributes for multinational expansion

Today’s market leaders are using geocoding capabilities to visualise relationships and see opportunities to streamline processes, reduce costs, manage risk and optimise customer communications. Many insurance companies and financial services organisations are using high-quality geocoding tools to increase the accuracy, immediacy and insight of enterprise location intelligence in order to differentiate themselves from competitors and delight their customers.

Insurance and financial services firms and companies in many other sectors are now asking how do we expand this capability internationally. However, there are a host of challenges when ensuring that geocoding solutions travel well. From data cleansing to analytical issues, the careful expansion to each new country is fraught with challenges.

High accuracy and low false positives
There are still significant challenges to ensuring the accuracy and actionability of geographic insights. Many organisations have begun using reverse geocoding for a level of precision that goes beyond other geo-location solutions. Reverse geocoding takes latitude and longitude coordinates, turns them into an address and returns location results within milliseconds. The process also allows for scalability, allowing organisations to translate millions of records at the same time. End users are provided with pinpointed location data that can inform real-time marketing, logistics and other business decisions. Ultimately, successful reverse geocoding can assign each address to a specific building rooftop.

Operational location intelligence
Operational location intelligence helps businesses make informed decisions with each geocoding exercise. For example, high quality geographic information is critical to the insurance industry, as risk is typically tightly coupled with location. Home policy premiums are influenced by situation within natural hazard zones, while insurance companies seek diversification of both core products within the same regions as well as market distribution across different regions.

Location data is necessary to complete the underwriting process and inform operational activities, such as balancing exposure to aggregate risk across different areas, catastrophe management, assessing theft and damage potentials and regulatory reporting to governmental agencies and commissions. This also helps insurers to better estimate potential losses and help customers to purchase the correct amount of cover at the right price. Insurers can suffer major financial losses if risk assessment is not accurately done. Location intelligence offers them a sharper accuracy, enabling them to price policies more competitively instead of taking large geographic areas and apportioning a small risk to every single property.

High throughput at high speed
Too many companies are still relying on postal codes, which lack true location precision and can seriously misinform business decisions. Organisations need to use longitude and latitude coordinates to gain a true view of their location data, allowing them to solve even the most complex of business problems. Geocoding capabilities are enabling organisations to verify location data and transform location insights into valuable business intelligence to reduce risk, increase customer satisfaction and streamline operations. For instance, financial institutions are able to use geocoding tools to ensure that decisions on tax assignments are based on accurate location data, allowing them to avoid costly errors. Many companies also need to process millions of location data records from multiple sources at high rates. An efficient geocoding solution will be able to process high quantities of location data in a matter of seconds.

Single platform for all countries
More and more organisations are turning to international geocoding for insights to support their planning and operations worldwide. However, geocoding at an international level poses a range of new challenges — address formats vary, different languages are often used within one country, localities or points-of-interest may replace street names and key pieces of information that are not required for local delivery will be unavailable for use in geocoding.

Worse still, many companies are using unfit geocoding tools. This can have the side effect of creating more false positive returns, which wrongly identify the location of a site. Businesses could be making decisions based on false data that they believe has been verified, costing them time, money and jeopardising new ventures.

With all of these challenges, effective international geocoding needs to offer a consistent API to be used across countries, an extensive selection of databases and the flexibility to use third-party databases. Further, it is important for decision makers to understand the accuracy of the available geocodes so that they have a sense of the level of confidence they can place in the data. Organisations need to ensure that this is conveyed through a results code that indicates the geographical accuracy of the data.

Deliver clear business insight
The growing volume of data related to the location of events and transactions can and should be analysed in ways that will contribute to business insight among a variety of operational and analytical dimensions. These can include influencing customer behavior, analysing risk, identifying credible threats and evaluating tax dependencies. As the nature of business transactions is increasingly influenced by location, and more and more business users participate in studying the location component, organisations need to make sure that mapping capabilities are included in geocoding solutions. Clear graphical representation of location data is critical for general business users to understand the data and to act upon it.

Companies are beginning to realise the need for a definite global strategy to manage these processes. With a little planning and commitment, considering the attributes above can help them map out business success across the world.