Why Technology and Data Matter

Why Technology and Data Matter

By Alejandra Guzman

Click aqui para español- >La importancia de la tecnología y de los datos

There is a lot of discussion in the Economic Development field on how technology is changing the nature of our current jobs and what that means for the future of work and designing curricula to meet those demands. In New Orleans, the different organizations that are involved in this topic are in constant communication and coordination with each other to help address this challenge. Although this is a huge issue that needs to be addressed, I also want to point out that there are more positive aspects of technology and the data that can be collected through it. This is benefiting workforce development, for example, by increasing access to online curricula and providing more flexibility to both students and educators. It is also benefiting other areas of economic development. For example, at the New Orleans Business Alliance, we use data and technology to support our work around business attraction and retention.

A big focus of my 2020 work will be on developing and executing real estate, policy, and partnership strategies to promote the development of communities that have been handicapped by disinvestment. Technology and data analytics will play a large role in this.

In the case of real estate development, we partner with internationally recognized data analytic companies such as Buxton to build the case of why investment opportunities have a high probability of being successful in our market. Our partnership will help us gain access to relevant information and elevate our potential to recruit retailers and real estate investments to New Orleans. 

It is important to note that over the last decade, the process of retail site selection has changed significantly. Once considered solely an art, relying on the experience of seasoned professionals, it is now becoming a blend of art and science. In the past, cities would be analyzed mainly on median income levels and other demographic factors, which are important, but not the only ones. They do not fully capture the lifestyle details that explain why people have specific shopping behavior. Psychographics can provide a much clearer picture of the potential customer base. With data analytics, we now understand purchasing behaviors, media preferences, and lifestyle characteristics. This information has helped us clarify certain misconceptions around the communities we want to support.

We have proven with data that just because a certain area lacks retail and restaurants at the moment doesn’t mean that there is not a consumer base to support them. This has helped us focus our energy on the real challenges and make a more compelling business pitch to those brands that we want to attract. Our NOLABA team will be using this information on RECon, the International Council of Shopping Centers’ largest global gathering of retail and real estate professionals. 
For the 10th year in a row, the New Orleans Business Alliance will build a large contingency of locals to make the trek to Las Vegas from May 17-19 in an effort to showcase the retail and real estate opportunities our city has to offer.   

We are committed to working closely with our partners to keep new retail projects moving. All members of the New Orleans delegation will have access to the NOLABA booth with meeting space, Buxton data analytics (applicable to their specific projects), and networking opportunities, among other benefits. I´m very excited about the future of our city!

If you also want to be part of this effort, make sure to visit nolaba.org for more information.

Alejandra Guzman


Economic Development/Desarrollo Economico



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