For GIS Managers, Planning and People Are Keys to Success

08-22-2017 09:52 AM
Esri Regular Contributor
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The two most important components of a successful GIS are good planning and good people. Keep in mind, though, that all the planning in the world is useless if you do not have adequately trained people to operate your system.


So said the late, great Dr. Roger Tomlinson, who coined the term "geographic information system," and authored Thinking About GIS, Geographic Information System Planning for Managers (now in its fifth edition). Tomlinson writes:


Roger Tomlinson quote

If you're a manager, you are responsible for supporting the people who build, manage, and maintain your organization's GIS. How have you supported their development? Like Tomlinson, do you see a relationship between developing your workforce and the success of your GIS program? Do you see a relationship between the success of your GIS program and the success of your organization?


For some, training can be a challenge to justify when budgets are uncertain. The reality is that every program must justify its existence. If your GIS program is instrumental in managing key assets, collecting data and providing business intelligence that increases revenue, or providing valued constituent services, then workforce training is easily justifiable.


In his book, Tomlinson recommends keeping senior management informed of the business benefits and solutions received from the GIS and present all requests for training expenditures in that context. Communication, as in all things, is key.


Get the Answers You Need

Today, most managers understand the strategic value of workforce development. They do, however, want to make sure they are sending individuals to appropriate classes, so that the training investment provides measurable results, including increased productivity, higher quality information products, and operational efficiency.

We frequently receive questions like these:

  • What training is available from Esri?
  • Which training format will be most cost-effective for my organization in the long term?
  • Are there training programs that can save me money?

Of course, the answers to these questions are on our website, but the fastest way to get answers is to contact an Esri Training team member. Training consultants have extensive experience partnering with organizations to develop training and workforce development plans that take into account upcoming projects, staff roles and responsibilities, GIS workflows, and the organization's strategic, ArcGIS-enabled goals.


A well thought-out training plan is a valuable tool for making and measuring progress toward your GIS program goals. Remember:


GIS success formula: good planning plus good people

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About the Author
Suzanne is a Maryland native who enjoys writing about Esri technology and other topics. She is a Marketing Program Manager with Esri Training Services in Redlands, California.