In the aftermath of COVID-19, businesses will rethink their remote work operations. Find out how your GIS team can future-proof a distributed workforce system in the finale of our three-part series.

By modernising your team’s remote work environment, you’ll future-proof your GIS business function and find new ways to operate innovatively. Refer to Part 1 to discover how you can transition your GIS team to a remote working solution. Refer to Part 2 to discover how to optimise an existing set-up.

  1. Find novel ways to meet existing business needs with Web GIS

    Previously, we focused on how a GIS team can work remotely in order to ensure “business as usual” continuity. However, when making the transition to a Web GIS distributed environment, it is an opportune time to review how new functionality can meet existing business needs.

    As an example, an organisation may have previously produced PDF maps on-demand from an enterprise geodatabase using ArcGIS Desktop. Imagine the geodatabase was updated once a week by field workers. The organisation had previously deployed a Portal environment, but it has not been used widely.

    Let’s say that the organisation’s GIS team leader has directed that the contents of the enterprise geodatabase are published as referenced feature layers within Portal to enable team members to easily access and edit the same data wherever an internet connection is available.

    This opens the possibility of using Survey123 for field data collection, while maintaining the familiarity of SDE database administration. At the same time, an ArcGIS Insights dashboard can now be built which reflects edits made in the geodatabase using the field applications in real-time.

    In this example, the GIS team data management and analysis workflow is greatly improved. But even better, the business process of collecting data is radically enhanced, along with the end consumer product. Consequently, the transition to a Web GIS environment can have wide-ranging benefits.

  2. Evangelise the benefits of a distributed GIS

    Non-GIS team members may not immediately see the advantages of a distributed GIS. It is imperative that GIS leaders evangelise senior executives who can envision how the change fits with the strategic direction of the organisation.

    Widespread adoption of a distributed GIS will introduce the need for governance structures to document new data and business processes. For example, if a team unfamiliar with GIS uses an ArcGIS Insights dashboard, a framework document will improve the transparency of the product.

    An example framework would document the following aspects of each dashboard component:

    • A short description of the visualisation

    • Data sources used and filters applied

    • Calculations performed

    • An explanation of data units for a non-technical audience

    • How the component drives decision making

    • User experience (UX) design guidelines

    If developing new business processes is outside the capacity of your GIS team, Esri Australia offers business consulting services to provide strategic advice and project management expertise relevant to your industry.

  3. Bring your organisation along on the Web GIS journey

    Organisational change is not just technical – but cultural.

    One way to earn buy-in is to showcase a distributed GIS demo to employees. The demo may be a working proof-of-concept or a detailed example from another organisation. Need help? The Esri Australia Solution Engineering team can assist in showcasing relevant examples.

    Demonstrations not only remove uncertainty – they also provide an opportunity to inspire confidence in the change. As part of the demonstration, outline the benefits for your audience and how they fit into the bigger picture. Most importantly, ensure your audience has ample opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback about how the change will impact their work.

    When commencing your Web GIS journey, it is possible that your team may not yet have the skills or experience needed to perform the initial steps of your implementation. Esri Australia has a highly skilled Professional Services team which can assist with even the most complex tasks. As part of an engagement with Esri Australia, our Professional Services team document the work they complete and can ensure that your organisation gains and retains the technical knowledge required.

    It is wise to take an iterative approach to your organisation’s GIS evolution. Tools such as ArcGIS Monitor for Portal can enable you to identify which aspects of your GIS environment experience the heaviest load, allowing you to prioritise your resources appropriately. In turn you will maximise the effectiveness of your GIS environment, whilst minimising the costs.

Series wrap-up

Thanks for reading our series on distributed GIS. If you’ve found the contents of this blog series useful and would like further details on how distributed GIS can work for your organisation, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

Our team is here to help you and your organisation. For more information on distributed GIS solutions, contact the Client Success team.

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