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Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.

GIS Failure or Success?

January 25th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan

Now there is a scary title for a blog post. But really, when you look at your company, products and business plan are you preparing for the new world of GIS?

The cloud and mobile have changed the game. If you are relying on old methods and approaches your business may well hit the rocks over the next few years. Competitors will be looking to steal your crown: start ups run by young, hungry technically savvy folk. We are truly in a time of the new. I’m always hesitant about business books, too many are self promoting and backward looking, but Built to Last provides an interesting analysis on how successful companies adjust to change.

GIS Failure or Success?

Let’s consider some questions you might want to ask yourself:

– Is your server or platform available in the cloud?
Many customers today want to avoid the expense and expertise needed to set up and manage third party software solutions. You need to offer a cloud instance of your server or platform.

– Is your GIS software easy to install/configure?
Once I have bought your software if I need to spend weeks and a small fortune on installation and configuration, that is a problem.

– Do you provide commercial off the shelf (COTS) solutions?
From nothing to something quickly, that is key. If a client buys your software solution they have a problem which is in need of a solution. COTS solutions are very popular since they provide the ability to solve problems quickly.

– Is your software solution easy to configure and (very importantly) easy to customize and extend?
COTS solutions, as we have mentioned, are a great start. But all customers have their own unique problems, different workflows etc.Your solution should be easy to adjust (customise) for customers since all are unique. There is truly no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

– Are your software solutions intuitive, focused and easy to use?
Complex solutions are a thing of the past. Today GIS serves increasingly a non-GIS user base. Users who want to get their job done quickly and simply. Our job as solution providers is to offer those tools. If your applications are filled with drop down menus, require training and a thick user manual on hand at all times … you have a problem.

– Do I understand your solution offering?
This applies to new and old companies. What are you offering to solve a specific problem? Don’t provide technical gobbledygook. Use plain and simple language focused on solutions to problems.

– Are your sales and marketing folk problem, and not technology, focused?

– Do you provide versions of your software (eg. Basic, Advanced, Enterprise) which are affordable to all organizations: small, medium and large?
If I only want a subset of what your solution offers, don’t make me buy the full solution. Give me options which help me overcome my unique challenges at a price I can afford

I think one of the key challenges for GIS companies is not comprehending how the landscape is changing. Less about being myopic, more a lack of understanding of the sea-change underway. We spend ever more of our time as a company helping others understanding and plan accordingly.

Established GIS organizations need to throw away the old script, spend time listening, asking questions. Understanding. Continued success means:

Reassess, adjust, reinvent.

Contact us for more information on 801-733-0723.

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Categories: ArcGIS Online, cloud GIS, location data, Mobile ArcGIS, Mobile GIS, Web and mobile GIS

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