The single most important element of any project involving GIS is defining the business problem and goals. Ask yourself this: How often do you jump into the technology before you have discovered the problem and goals?

We are all guilty of jumping ahead. Running quickly before walking. Successful outcomes demand up front understanding and clear definition. I’ve sat through presentations where GIS folk sing the praises of a GIS product. Listened to inquiries met by a product pitch. No regard for the problem at hand.

Nobody wants a wall of words. The business problem is what keeps people awake at night. And that need be our focus as solution providers.

GIS Defining Business Problem & Goals

I’m sounding a bit like a broken record on this one. But its true. If we talk about GIS only in terms of the technology: what it can do, how easy it has become, all the new shiny toys. We will fail to successfully solve problems.

Success is built on solving problems using the technology to satisfy goals!

Putting in Place a GIS Process or Methodology

I was listening to an interesting podcast with Mico Yuk, Ryan Goodman and Greg Davy last night. More a BI focused conversation than GIS, but defining business goals, and having a process or methodology in place to guide the discovery process stood out for me. Teasing out the problem and setting goals is not easy.

The toughest thing about any project which leverages GIS is defining the problem and story-boarding what a solution might look like.

In the business world the term KPI or key performance indicator is used to define a business metric used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization. In GIS we need to start focusing on KPI’s.

Within our company we have thought long and hard about business problems, goals and a clear process to tease these out. In our case we came up with a process called from WHERE to THERE in 4 steps. Our process involves:

1. Defining the Problem – A structured session to tease out the root of the problem
2. Evolving the Story – Often with the use of story-boarding. What might a solution look like?
3. Setting goals based on KPI’s
4. Applying the technology to solve the problem.
5. Solution review around the overall location strategy.

What would happen if you did nothing?

One key question we ask within our from WHERE to THERE in 4 steps process is: What if you do nothing? Its a question which causes much pause for thought. It also helps focus the group, and drive urgency to act or not, depending on the impact of the problem.

There you have it. GIS is amazing technology which helps to solve business problems. But overcoming business challenges demands a clear understanding of the business problem. A process or methodology is needed to help set the foundation and path for success.

Have a WHERE business problem in need of a solution? Contact us on 801-733-0723.


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