When is deploying an enterprise-wide GIS viable?
Updated: Jun 13
When I reached Class IX in my ICSE-affiliated school, I had selected the specialization - 'Science & Commerce'. Thereafter, I was given a choice - select 'Pure Maths' or 'Business Maths' as the compulsory Mathematics subject. Upon asking around, I figured that Pure Maths was targeted towards an audience who wished to deep-dive into complex mathematical concepts which would stand them in good stead in STEM education pursuits later in life whereas Business Maths was targeted towards an audience who wished to have a good understanding of mathematics fundamentals which have applications in a more business context later in life. A fear of the former and a propensity for the latter - the decision was easy for me to take.
This analogy is applicable in a GIS (Geographic Information System) implementation context as well. When I say that I offer GIS i.e. mapping and spatial technology solutions, business leaders are kind of wary. Like 'What is this unknown creature? Can it help my business?', they wonder (Or so I think).
I make it a point to write a detailed email and even redirect them to some of my previous blog entries meant to decode this GIS (Geographic Information System) beast. I give them confidence that this is a creature that can be domesticated to assist you in improving the operations of your business.
However, enterprise-level GIS deployment doesn't come cheap. Years of high-tech hardwork by thousands of contributors (cartographers, scientists, researchers etc.) has gone into making this world-class technology platform. Due to the high upfront costs and technology adoption challenges, it is a major decision whether to invest in GIS or not.
I generally advise prospects to identify operations problem statements which, if addressed, would result in net savings of 'Rs. Fifty lacs and above' (5 million INR+). Only then would it be viable to implement an enterprise-level GIS solution and generate a positive return from the investment. I believe that four out of five organizations from virtually any industry with an annual revenue of Rs 10 crores and above (100 million INR+) can deploy GIS across their enterprise.
At this point in time, GIS is perceived as a 'good-to-have' technology among corporates. Useful, but not necessary. As a result, not many are eager to opt for an enterprise-level implementation in the perennially cut-throat Indian business environment, at least. Moreover, even when organizations do have a requirement that can be fulfilled by one of the several GIS modules, they'd rather want to pay for that module individually rather than pay for the entire GIS package. It is akin to me selling the organizations a car when all they want to procure is a steering-wheel.
‘Location Intelligence / GIS’ solutions can be used for operations improvement purposes ranging from market development and network design to dashboarding and management. GIS essentially is an appropriate framework to process geospatial data, however, in combination with datapoints generated within the organisation or from publicly available or commercial datasets - it would assist in improving operations and enhancing the competitive edge by lowering down costs. Watch this The Shopping Centre Group use case video to understand the concept-at-work and attractiveness of GIS from a business perspective.
These applications can be configured for you so that you can view the metrics-that-matter in an desired and engaging format, across devices, integrating internal and external data, with analysis and visualization capabilities. Essentially GIS creates a common operating view of an organisation. You don't need significant technical, geospatial expertise to operate these. 'You desire and we configure': in a manner convenient to use for virtually anyone in an organisation.
Additionally, there are pure Geo-workflows as well (akin to Pure maths) which are highly technical, would require GIS-trained manpower to operate the platform on a daily basis, and which could contribute towards enhancing the 'technological edge' of your organisation. These can be related to AEC (architecture, construction, and engineering), Emergency Management, Natural Resource Management (such as agriculture, mining, solar & so on) and other Location Intelligence purposes. Theis aspect should also be factored in when you decided whether to opt for an Enterprise-GIS deployment for your organization.
Moreover, you can also come up with unique ways to use GIS. See the PaintCopter by Disney Research Hub video (drone with spray paint attached) which essentially uses spatial navigation capabilities (compatible with GIS) to paint the graffiti. Combining mapping applications with hardware, sensors and disruptive technology such as AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain and so on is also an increasingly attractive and viable option now.
To summarize, while taking a decision one should deep dive into the business use cases of GIS as well as include its purely technical capabilities which are important aspects in itself and can contribute immensely, even for commercial organizations.
Intelloc Mapping Services | Mapmyops is engaged in providing mapping solutions to organizations which facilitate operations improvement, planning & monitoring workflows. These include but are not limited to Supply Chain Design Consulting, Drone Solutions, Location Analytics & GIS Applications, Site Characterization, Remote Sensing, Security & Intelligence Infrastructure, & Polluted Water Treatment. Projects can be conducted pan-India and overseas.
Several demonstrations for these workflows are documented on our website. For your business requirements, reach out to us via email - email@example.com or book a paid consultation (video meet) from the hyperlink placed at the footer of the website's landing page.