Directions Magazine (DM): What has been the biggest challenge in your career?
Barb Wenninger (BW): Prior to my job at ADCi, my background was in marketing insurance and financial products and services for a Fortune 500 company. It was a bit of a personal challenge to enter the mapping industry with no prior GIS training or experience. It took some time not only to grasp the licensing and technical aspects, but also to really understand who our customers and prospects are, and clearly comprehend their applications and how they use the data. A continuing challenge now revolves around identifying ways that we can reach the decision makers in the various industries so that we can help them understand the benefits of the products we offer.
DM: What is the company's vision for 2008?
BW: At ADCi, we are planning to expand our website to include E-Commerce and offer some basic data and licensing options on-line. This will allow our customers to get the data they need quickly through an immediate download of the data.
In addition, we have some really exciting enhancements planned for our ADC WorldMap Digital Atlas product and have plans to ramp up promotion so that more businesses (government, educational and commercial) can take advantage of this fantastic product. We are also hoping to make ADC WorldMap available via E-Commerce on our website.
Finally, there seems to be a growing trend toward Oracle databases. We were one of the first of a still very small number of companies that offer map data in Oracle Spatial format. In 2008, we plan to spread the word of our capabilities so that we can provide data to businesses operating in an Oracle environment.
DM: What kinds of changes has ADCi had to make to stay viable in business?
BW: There were several areas where we had to make changes.
- We have made our organization "leaner," eliminated redundancy, and are really focusing on doing only those things that have a direct and positive impact on the customer.
- To meet the needs of a growing market demand we needed to put the processes in place to offer our data in Oracle 10g and 11g Spatial database. This included adding hardware, software, technical staff and training, and becoming involved as a board member of the Oracle Spatial Users Group.
- We needed to look at the various channels in which we distribute our product to make it most convenient for the customer. This has led us toward offering E-Commerce capabilities.
- From a marketing standpoint, we need to focus on reaching our customers and prospects on their terms. This includes being involved with various developer zones, free webinar downloads and social networking. We even have some clips of a recent webinar posted on YouTube (1, 2)!
- We work very hard at building relationships ... with our customers, prospects, business partners. We pride ourselves on our customer service and responsiveness. We treat the people we interact with exactly how we would want to be treated, with utmost respect, regardless of the size of the customer or potential sale.
- We have enhanced development, marketing and sales plans in place to make our ADC WorldMap Digital Atlas product valuable to a greater number of customers worldwide (business, education, government).
- We are being proactive about succession planning so that we can continue to remain viable in the years ahead.
BW: When I started at ADCi in 2002 we were just beginning to market to government agencies. Our focus at the time was showing the benefits of "buying" versus "building" data. Another primary market at that time was the cable industry. Since then more and more local, state and federal government agencies have embraced the benefits of commercial street data for their applications. Today we have also expanded our focus to include increased marketing efforts aimed at both businesses and developers. As a result, we have seen an increasing number of Internet licenses and ASP applications. Because of continuous technology advancements and the widespread use of map data, the complexity of the GIS applications and subsequent licensing has risen dramatically during the past six years.