I’ve written on this topic before: my increasing dislike for our over-use of the term maps. I was surprised by the popularity of our Stop Calling me the Mapping Guy blog post. I want to revisit this discussion again in this post.
As the need for location intelligence becomes greater within the commercial sector, the technology is being compared to business intelligence (BI) software. Large enterprises are realising their traditional BI platforms might contain maps but are not able to answer business critical WHERE questions. So the worlds of GIS and BI are moving closer.
If GIS is Mapping Technology is BI Charting Technology?
I see GIS struggling with a perception problem. And in many ways its that term map which is at the root of this problem. Thus the question: If GIS is Mapping Technology is BI Charting Technology?
A chart is one output from a business analysis. A map is a key output from a GIS. Yet no MBA graduate describes his/herself as a charting person. They are solvers of business problems. And that is how we should be perceived too.
You wonder why GIS departments are rarely part of the business decision process. An enterprise sees GIS staff as mappers not business problem solvers. That is a notion we have to dispel. And QUICKLY!
The question is how? Some ideas:
1) Join with the BI community – Share ideas. Cross pollinate.
2) Rework our Messaging – As long as we remain focused on maps in our written and spoken communication we pigeon hole ourselves and our industry. Let’s move away from maps. Truly our technology is focused on WHERE questions. Specifically answering business critical WHERE questions. We need to shout that LOUDLY.
3) Case Studies: A New Approach – Case studies are a wonderful way to demonstrate how GIS was implemented to overcome challenges. But often these are very GIS-centric, with deep dives into the technology. We need gentler case studies more problem to solution focused, more generic and less technical.
4) Work Together – We wrote about this in a previous post: Does GIS hand holding mean I’m a girly-man?. We are best working together rather than in isolation. Let’s move away from competition paranoia, thinking we have all the answers. There are lots of challenges we need to overcome to widen the adoption and use of GIS beyond traditional sectors.
Have ideas to share? Contact us on 801-733-0723.