Operationalizing GIS: A Business Approach

At the Esri Senior Executive Seminar, four executives shared their success stories on how GIS became an operational necessity within their individual lines of business.

Jack Verouden, the general manager for geomatics at Royal Dutch Shell has inserted GIS into five lines of business for upstream lifecycle operations. Exploration, oil field appraisal, field development, production and finally well decommissioning all employ GIS in some part of the management process. A common operational picture supports applications in surveying, positioning, geodesy, remote sensing and underpinning it all is geospatial information management. Investor relations has even recognized the importance of maps and at times has actually impacted the share price.

Paul deBoer, director of asset management at the Port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, articulated four guiding for GIS. deBoer said that there must be a 1) simple information model combined with a 2) single integrated system with 3) map uniformity. The final principal is that he adheres to the concept of "3 clicks to any content." He wants to be able to reach the content he needs within three clicks on the web map of his operations.

Bruce Wong of advanced network analytics at General Motors is revolutionizing the way GM tackles information. He calls it P-E-D:  performance enhanced data. But in using GIS to assist dealers with consumer information, he's gone a step further by advocating "internal open data." That is, he's not just giving dealers maps and reports, he's opening up the system for direct access.

Finally, Chris Dermody, the CIO for Denver Water, a public agency, described what it takes to put GIS at the center of the enterprise paradigm. His "secret sauce" is not just technology based on a service oriented-architecture but the application of Lean process management and organizational transformation. Lean has driven improvements for Denver Water some of which did not require new technology investments. However, as a result of Lean, application development time has dramatically quickened with nearly continuous stakeholder input. Dermody described how the organization has moved to an Agile software development process using Scrums (short duration software build cycles). The process is changing the dynamics of the way teams work thus driving better business governance.

Each of these organizations has now embedded geospatial information at a different level of their IT infrastructure than what has been done historically . The GIS department doesn't exist; GIS is operationalized as an enterprise function relevant to many if not all facets of the organization. 

Published Monday, July 14th, 2014

Written by Joe Francica

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