It’s time for GIS to break free

We live in a world where, whether you realized it or not, location influences business decisions every day. From risk management within Insurance or coverage mapping within Telco, to site selection in Retail, and city planning within Public Sector, each of us is impacted by business decisions that are influenced by location information.

Fri Sep 07 13:16:00 EDT 2018

We live in a world where, whether you realized it or not, location influences business decisions every day. From risk management within Insurance or coverage mapping within Telco, to site selection in Retail, and city planning within Public Sector, each of us is impacted by business decisions that are influenced by location information.

The demand for location information and technology is growing at exponential rates, with the market expected to hit $25 billion by 2025. However, the timely and meaningful access to required location insights can be both limiting and siloed. Some GIS (geographic information systems) technologies in market today limit what types of software can be used across the organization, as well as who can use it.

What Can be Used

I often work with clients who use software for CRM, data and infrastructure management, waste management, and more. One of the most common challenges among these clients is an enforced constraint to use one specific GIS provider because it is either what is already deployed in other parts of their organization, or what their infrastructure has been built on.

What this means is that the client doesn’t have control over the GIS provider or technology that best fits their business model and strategy, and instead must work with a specific provider by default. In doing so, users often lose the flexibility to change providers or solutions as their business needs change, and/or businesses must change their own processes as the technology itself changes.

For example, one function may be best served through geometric-focused software (Esri), while another may need table-focused software (Pitney Bowes). However, geometric-focused providers, like Esri, can lock customers in and restrict customers from having flexible deployment in order to get more for services they provide. By forcing all functions to align with one provider and one geospatial format, organizations can be limited in deliverable insight and innovation, and costs to the organization may increase.

Pitney Bowes offers solutions that instead enable users to design the relationship within the databases. For over 30 years, our solutions have supported multiple GIS vendors and thousands of users, and we adopt our technologies to other business models, ultimately increasing ease of deployment, and reducing costs to the customer. 

Who Can Use it

Once a GIS provider is selected, the people within the organization who can actually use the software can also be limited. Geospatial information is often stored within complex, legacy GIS, and it can only be accessed by gatekeepers with specialized educations, and whom have built their career around accessing and analyzing that information.

For the average analyst, CIO, or CDO, they simply don’t have the tools or knowhow to rapidly access and make sense of it without the help of the GIS professional. Every organization is different, with different needs, resources, and financial availability. GIS software therefore should be as well – flexible to serve any organization and any professional regardless of where the company or its employees are within their growth strategy.

Free Your GIS

It’s time for organizations to fight back, and to take control of their freedom to choose the GIS provider best suited to serve their specific needs, and to equip both GIS professionals and the GIS-curious with tools that can help them maximize geospatial insight.

While Esri is notably the most used platform for GIS professionals, there are better options available that serve everyone (GIS professionals and GIS-curious), and allow organizations to work with different providers across various functions.

 As you begin to consider your own journey to unlocking location intelligence, consider the following:

  • Plan carefully but deploy quickly – After you analyze your decision processes and the ways that location intelligence can help you, start with a simple, cost-effective solution that will deliver immediate value and scale over time.  Pitney Bowes solutions are generally quicker to deploy than those of our major competitors, and our customers include some of the largest organizations in the world, with thousands of users.
  • Choose a solution provider with the right expertise for your organization and its mission - If you are deploying ruggedized tablets for military operations, find a vendor with this experience. If you are using location intelligence to deliver context around an address and ultimately grow and retain customers, you will find that Pitney Bowes solutions have been developed for these purposes by industry experts, and have been recognized as Leading Geospatial Analytics Tools and Platforms. If your organization is in Retail, FinServ, Public Sector, or Telco, you'll be in good company as a Pitney Bowes customer. 
  • Assess the technical skills of your user base – Location intelligence software is used by scientists and engineers, but it’s also used by business analysts who don’t have the time or training to become GIS experts. Pitney Bowes has designed its solutions for a broad range of users who have told us that our software is easier to use than our major competitors.
  • Determine your data acquisition and management needs – Location intelligence software only has value when you add data (i.e. your customers, your assets, and data from the world around these). How important is accuracy and precision for your operations, and what kind of data do you need? Organizations like Esri focus on environmental and government data, while Pitney Bowes data is focused on address-based data that is built on nearly a century of experience processing names and addresses, as well as industry-leading tools for geocoding, data quality, and data integration.
  • Calculate the true cost of your system and beware of “teaser” pricing – After you have designed and deployed an Enterprise Location Intelligence platform, it won’t be easy to change.  Some vendors will offer significant discounts in the first year or two of a contract and raise prices substantially later.  Do research on these practices and insist on fair pricing over multiple years before signing a contract that seems too good to be true (because it probably is).

As geospatial data and insights requirements grow, software vendors need to be flexible to work across differing environments, while being interoperable with a range of applications and data types. It’s time to liberate all professionals – the GIS-curious and the GIS experts -- and to deliver alternatives that unlock location intelligence and deliver immediate value to their organizations.

With demand for location intelligence continuing to grow at a significant rate, organizations are increasingly aware of the benefits of geospatial insights to save or make money, lower risks, increase customer engagement and ultimately increase opportunity.

We invite you to join us in the fight to liberate your GIS strategy, and to participate in the #FreeYourGIS Week Webinar Series as we explore the challenges and opportunities associated with leveraging geospatial data across your organization. Join online today at: