We had a large SpotOn contingent take part in the Esri Developer/Partner Conferences a couple of weeks back. I wish there was a way to bottle the thoughts and ideas that spontaneously occur at these events. Fantastic events put on by Esri, in particular the Partner Plenary was unlike anything I had ever seen, outstanding! Kudos Esri!
There is a notion brewing somewhere in my brain, and it has to to with the cost of “awesomeness” and “step-down transformers”...
Can anybody make anything of this yet? This one may need a little more seasoning, however its origin is all tangled up with the contrasting world views from a GIS versus BI perspective.
I’ve written about this in the past, whereby a set of client requirements would be (had been) interpreted in radically different ways. With one of our early SpotOn Vantage clients, during our introductory call, a spirited disagreement broke out between the GIS and BI groups, along the lines of: “Your solution sucks!” “No your solution sucks!”. True story. We injected, “You’re both right; now let us show you how the two solutions can work together.”
Another story, about a year ago I was having a conversation about the prevalence of Cognos and Esri solutions with insurance companies. I suggested to a GIS counterpart that this could be a good market to focus on. With far more insight on the insurance industry than I possess, he responded that Esri solutions were utilized in specific risk analysis functions whereby Cognos was generally deployed elsewhere in operational reporting capacities.
Me: “Fantastic, we’ll propagate mapping capabilities throughout these companies enhancing the BI reporting in the process.”
Him: “It doesn’t leverage the complete and powerful capabilities of GIS”...
Me: “So what, we would be providing significant incremental value to large numbers of users...”
Him: “If the solution isn’t being used to its fullest, it’s not where we want to be.”
Me: “...” [dumbfounded]
Now this story is simply about two individuals with different opinions. It does reflect a “GIS perspective” that I have come across at times, it goes like this:
“GIS is awesome! Didn’t you just what it could do? Just wait until the world sees this awesomeness! By the way, don’t annoy me with your ‘dots on a map‘ requirements...”
Back to the Esri Partner Conference. Jack Dangermond and Clint Brown, Director of Software Development, interrupted the plenary proceedings after the first morning session to give an off the cuff, impassioned view on GIS and maps in the world at large. Here are my notes and impressions of what they said:
“maps enabled his operational work” [referring to an incredible talk that Russ Johnson gave in the morning session]
“you put your information into the systems - that information comes to life” [in the map]
“this [the map] allows people to use information to do a better job, to accomplish real key tasks, opening GIS to everyone”
“we need to learn to build maps that open up GIS to mere mortals”
“there is disconnect between GIS departments and decision makers, executives, users - I can feel it”
“maps take rich information and bring it to life, that’s how GIS is going to open up to the rest of the world”
Jack echoed the comments by stating, “maps are the language”.
These comments cut close to the bone for me, in a good way. The one point I would add is that it’s not only about designing and building the right map, it’s about the delivery of that information. If maps are the language, we need to ensure that the message is being heard. It’s about taking this incredible information system to the point of business.
What do you think?
And what about the step-down transformer?