2020 has seen a tectonic shift in the conventional workplace, with millions of Australians picking up their proverbial desks to work remotely. 

Technology has been expected to seamlessly transition with us – but as we’ve all seen first-hand, the transition hasn’t always been ‘seamless’.

Many traditional instances of technology and infrastructure deployments have been pushed beyond scoped limits – with the most obvious example of this being desktop-based software.

For a number of government agencies in particular, desktop software has been the standard – albeit legacy – approach to technology deployment. I've certainly seen this to be true in my domain of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.

Up until the COVID-19 pandemic, retaining a largely desktop-based software approach appeared to meet the needs of many organisations, perhaps considered a safe bet for maintaining existing workflows and enabling continuity.

But in this new era of remote working, I’ve seen organisations across the country falter, requesting hundreds of desktop GIS licences – and essentially having to duplicate effort and resources – to enable their workforce to have access to the same computing power at home, as in the office.

While this is a demand we can meet – it’s not one I would recommend as cost-efficient or sustainable for long-term operations.

On the flip side, I’ve seen other organisations – who have recently undergone digital transformation to establish enterprise-wide Cloud-based GIS solutions – make that ‘seamless’ transition to having hundreds of staff work from home, without the need for any additional software deployment.

One of the best examples I’ve seen of an agile Cloud-based technology deployment is at Woodside.

Over the past few years, the Australian oil and gas giant has become one of our early adopters in transitioning their GIS technology to the Cloud, making spatial capabilities widely accessible throughout their geographically dispersed operations.

When faced with working from home, staff simply accessed their GIS Cloud environment, as they would have in the office.

From a business continuity perspective, this is an impressive feat for a company of Woodside’s size and scale.

As we start to look to a future of lifted restrictions, and make the slow transition back to the office, it is important to not go back to the way things were. Rather, we must use this as an opportunity to reflect on technology strategy and business continuity plans, to be prepared for next time – whether it’s another crisis or simply having the flexibility to support an increasingly mobile workforce.

I firmly believe transitioning to Cloud-based environment should be on the agenda for every organisation. As we’ve seen first-hand, the ability for organisations to rapidly adapt and work at any time and from any place is critical to ensuring business continuity, organisational flexibility, and workforce efficiency.

To learn more about this topic - and the steps required to transition from desktop to web GIS - download this whitepaper. 

Subscribe to
Esri Australia news