A quick tour of Business Analyst

Business Analyst is a solution extension to ArcGIS used for a variety of business-critical purposes, including target marketing, analyzing customers, site selection, and designing territories. The wizard-driven software and data bundled with the application is installed and ready to use. Included are annually updated demographic data, nationwide business data points, shopping centers, streets, geocoding locators, drive-time solvers, and a custom report editor.


Business Analyst provides four toolbars:

Business Analyst toolbars

Map Documents

Business Analyst installs two default map documents (.mxd) to get started.


There are three primary ArcGIS windows to familiarize yourself with that are important to Business Analyst.

Business Analyst windows

Custom Data

Business Analyst contains tools for setting up your own custom data so you can run analyses and create reports. The Business Analyst data format is called the Business Analyst datasource, often called BDS Layer or .bds.

BDS Layers are required to run many Business Analyst functions. You can quickly add prestyled map layers (.lyr) from the \Business Analyst\Data\ location.

Tutorial Data

Tutorial data is included to allow you to work with many of the functions in Business Analyst. Navigate to the location where Business Analyst is installed—\Business Analyst\Datasets\Tutorial\—and you'll find three files:

Business Analyst Service Packs

The Business Analyst team is constantly working on improving and updating the software. Once a version is sent to you, the team works on internal enhancements and change requests. These fixes appear in the form of a service pack. A simple utility is provided to update you on the latest version of Business Analyst, or you can update your service pack manually. Here is more information about each update.

Updating Business Analyst using Check for Business Analyst Updates

With internet access, you can check for updates to Business Analyst by selecting this item in the Business Analyst program menu using Start > All Programs > ArcGIS > Business Analyst > Check for BA Updates. If updates are available, you can run the updates after they are downloaded. You can verify the current build number under BA Preferences > Data tab.

  1. Click Details to see your current Business Analyst version number.
  2. Click Check to determine if new Business Analyst service packs are available. If they are, Download becomes active.
  3. Click Download to copy the service pack files locally. Check the Run the update after it is downloaded check box to automatically install.

    A progress bar appears until the installation is complete.

Business Analyst Update

To check for Business Analyst updates, ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and SOM (if applicable) must be closed or stopped.

Updating Business Analyst manually from the Esri Resource Center

If you are unable to run the automatic update utility in Business Analyst due to local security protocols, you can download the service pack from the Esri Resource Center and run the patch locally. Follow the step-by-step instructions on the Business Analyst Service Pack page.