Technology is our future and geo-technology is part of it and is permeating our businesses, believe it or not, at any level. It is not important the way it is delivered, but it cannot be ignored as location is increasingly recognised as a key element of our data for everyone working in our knowledge economy. No one from the \'basement to the boardroom\' can afford to say \"I do not need to know\"!
GeoConnexionUK has organised a special section in the magazine, \"The Executive Suite\", directed at senior management dedicated to a strategic view of geo-technology. Below are our latest two articles. The editor also invites you to see Editor\'s Choice for a selection of more printed pieces available for download. Happy reading!FROM VISION TO REALITY - MAKING IT HAPPENCharles Kennelly, CTO of ESRI UK champions the role GIS in both shaping â and delivering â our visions of the future, www.esriuk.comVision is what drives us forward, as people and as organisations. Without being able to see and communicate possible futures, all we can ever hope to do is perpetuate the present. The ESRI UK Annual Conference recently focused on demonstrating the strategic role that GIS can play in helping us all to shape the future of our organisations â whether these are a multi-billion pound commercial business, local authorities responsible for delivering services to thousands of households or small charities working to protect vulnerable people, animals and habitats. At ESRI UK we are continuously amazed and inspired by the range and intensity of our customersâ visions. But we are also very aware of the enormous challenges that our customers face in delivering their visions. To achieve their goals, organisations have to be able to interpret a wide variety of complex factors. They need to access all the relevant data that affects their business, model how those factors interact, make sense of the picture that the data is painting â and then act upon it. A typical utility organisation in the UK has assets in the field that are inspected and maintained by field based staff, monitored by real time sensors, subject to degradation through use and exposure to the elements and connected, in some way, to other assets. The number of assets is often measured in the millions, and this can result in a level of complexity that is difficult for humans to understand and make decisions upon.GIS is the only viable technology that can link together and make sense of the vast number of data sources and systems that contribute to this complexity. Therefore, GIS has an important role to play, not just in shaping a vision, but also in making it happen. At ESRI UK, we have a vision of how GIS can transform the way that organisations operate, to make them more productive and efficient. We understand how to take GIS beyond the simple provision of maps and into the domain of using geographic relationships to process information in ways that have been unachievable to date. Later this year, ESRI will launch ArcGIS 10, a major advancement in its leading GIS technology. With ArcGIS 10, ESRI has taken its GIS platform and focused on making it much more accessible to users, developers and administrators. The upgraded solution introduces powerful web-based editing; enables the faster deployment of GIS services; offers advanced image analysis; and is even easier to use. These features help to close the gap between having a vision and realising it. The growth of the web and of computing power, combined with the reduction in cost of obtaining location-based data, has resulted in one of the most exciting times for GIS in the last 30 years. ESRI is at the forefront of this, with new functionality, new approaches and an ease of use that is unmatched. With ArcGIS 10, we can help our customers achieve visions that would have remained just visions, a few short years ago. Together, we can make it happen.HOW WILL GIS COMPANIES WEATHER THE CLOUD COMPUTING STORM?By Philip O\'Doherty, [email protected] CEO eSpatial, www.espatial.com The debate about cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) is well and truly over. SaaS just offers too many advantages to credibly argue against it. The pay-as-you-go model provides ease-of-use, scalability, reduced maintenance and lower total cost of ownership. Customers expect SaaS or cloud options when evaluating new software. But what does this mean in the world of Geographic information Systems (GIS)? We know the potential that GIS offers, but can it evolve to meet the needs of a world that consumes its software as a service in the cloud or do we rip it all up and start again?SaaS is a complete game changer. Itâs not only changing the way software is bought and deployed, but also the very notion of software itself. GIS software companies need to stop thinking like software companies and start thinking and acting like service providers. However, I see little evidence so far that the larger GIS incumbents have made that mind-shift. Just ask Marc Benioff, founder of probably the best known and most successful cloud computing company, Salesforce.com. He claims his big rivals in the customer relationship management (CRM) space, Oracle and SAP, donât have what it takes to make a go of it in the new cloudier climate. He could be wrong, but history would support his point of view. Innovation and major paradigm shifts â such as what is required to move from traditional on-premise solutions to offering software as a service â arenât easy for large incumbents. This problem is obvious in the GIS sector, dominated by a few large incumbents. Ultimately it is going to take the newer, smaller and hungrier vendors to provide GIS customers with credible SaaS and cloud offerings.The âSaaSificationâ of GIS could be just what the doctor ordered. This new deployment model could finally deliver GIS capabilities to a much wider corporate audience. Those of us who have worked with GIS software for decades know the power and potential of geospatial technology, but we also recognize that it has failed to set the business world alight on a global scale. However, widespread availability of basic online mapping such as Google Maps, Google Earth and Microsoft Bing Maps has created consumer interest. I believe that fully functioned GIS service in the cloud could take that interest one step further and lead to widespread use of GIS technology in all types of businesses.
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