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New Contributor III

The Esri UC in San Diego is the GIS conference and provides hours of learning experience via technical sessions, presentations by industry professionals, workshops, and seminars, all of which share best practices in GIS, enabling attendees to leverage the capabilities of GIS to stay ahead of the digital curve and bring real value to their organization.  But this year, with the entire world going through a global pandemic, the Esri UC (normally 20,000+ attendees in San Diego) was made virtual. 

And if you're like me, the virtual Esri UC somehow felt even more overwhelming due to the amount of fantastically beneficial content and sessions. In fact, I felt a lot like this good boy trying to manage it all:

CAN

CAN'T CONCENTRATE - EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!

This is where I'll try to help.

First, let's take a step back and look at this year's first Virtual Esri User Conference. By the numbers:

  • 86,482 Registered Attendees
  • 2,200+ Esri Staff
  • 180 Countries (57% US, 43% International)
  • 118 Live Workshops
  • 114 On-Demand Workshops
  • 250 On-Demand Demos
  • 200 User Videos
  • 39 Special Interest Groups
  • 153 Exhibitors

Second, any conference comes with its fair share of swag, and everyone walks away from the Esri UC looking something like this:

STUFF WE ALL GET

Hope you left room in your suitcase

And while it's not quite the same experience of sitting on your suitcase trying to cram it closed, Esri put together a Digital Swag Bag, which includes:

  • An Esri Map Book
  • Creative Activities for you or your family
  • Screensavers, backdrops, and wallpapers (I actually saved all of these and used many of the background in the Special Interest Group I hosted!)
  • A National Geographic FREE 3-month Subscription
  • Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, Esri launched a MERCH STORE that will be open year-round!

Now that I've overwhelmed you even more than before, here's where we get to business:

1. Take Advantage of the (Unprecedented) Available Resources

As I mentioned above, this year was the largest Esri User Conference yet! And the greatest part about this year's UC being virtual is that almost every session, presentation, and special interest group is now available to stream on demand. Usually these events happen in San Diego and then, poof!, they're gone forever. Here's what you can stream today:

Plus, if you are reading this, there's a good chance you are one of my clients.  Refer to the Renewable Energy Guide for the UC to see what sessions may be of high-interest to you to help narrow down the selection.

2. Learn from Other Industries

One of my favorite things to do at every Esri UC is explore how other industries are utilizing the ArcGIS Platform.  Don't be afraid to jump into a Tech Session on a new ArcGIS Product you've been curious about or spend the free time you find throughout the day browsing the Digital Map Gallery. Then think about how you could apply these capabilities or ideas to your organization.  Many times, the Esri products you already own are capable of much more than how they are currently utilized and you already have the tools in your hand to perform those workflows that seem unattainable!

3. Set Realistic Goals

Now that you have inspiration and ideas in mind, translate this to business value.  Technology is not just an invaluable but critical component to the generation of business value.  "Business Value" is different for every organization: whether it be ROI, deploying an authoritative platform, completing initiatives ahead of schedule and under budget, etc. GIS provides the ability to inform, automate, detect/predict patterns, and enable organizations, all of which have the ability to provide unparalleled business value.

Here's how we develop business value both quickly and efficiently:

  • Develop a Goal for Something Your Organization Can Accomplish Using the Esri Technology in 30 Days
    • An example of this may be to build one Operations Dashboard for one workflow, or add 5 Named Users to your Web GIS Organization
    • Utilize this "low-hanging fruit" to accomplish quick and powerful wins for your organization. (I find that these are typically the most important for all organizations to understand the value of GIS!)
  • Develop a Goal for Something Your Organization Can Accomplish Using the Esri Technology by the End of the Year
    • An example of this may be to adopt a new Esri technology, or integrate a new data set
  • Develop a Goal for Something Your Organization Can Accomplish Using the Esri Technology for the Long Term
    • An example of this may be to integrate a new business unit, or for your entire organization to utilize Web GIS (ArcGIS Online or Portal) as their Authoritative Content Management System

Setting these goals gives you a road map on how you can execute something today.  Otherwise, everything you've learned at the Esri User Conference may stay as a wish list or philosophical ideas, and the potential you can accomplish with GIS will always stay an "if" rather than a "when."

4. Remember Your Resources

You are not alone!  There are a multitude of resources available to you to get started.  My job as an Account Executive is to help my clients work through these business challenges their organizations face, the goals they want to accomplish, and partner with them to help them leverage the ArcGIS Platform technology to quickly achieve business value.  I work specifically with Esri's Renewable Energy Industry, but no matter what industry you are in, Esri has an Account Manager, Digital Sales Representative, Solution Engineer, Professional Services Contact, Solution Architect, Product Manager, Digital Sales Contact, or Business Partner for you!

 

5. Take Action!

Always remember that you are a resource! No matter where you are in your GIS maturity, you too have the ability to use Esri technology to understand data, gain insights, See What Others Can't, and make better decisions. Whether you spent the entire week watching all the available Esri UC sessions or are still working through it, the information you need to maximize your investment in the ArcGIS Platform is waiting for you to act on it.

And finally, take care of yourself, stay safe, and know that your work helps everyone to understand how we can all collaborate and build a better future.  Thank you!

Seconds After the ReSIG!

Have any specific questions?  Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email: amillican@esri.com 

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New Contributor III

So you attended Esri's 2019 User Conference (and by now should have caught up on all the emails you missed while you were gone) ...Now what?  Is it time to panic?

First things first: Don

Actual video of me returning to the office and trying to catch up on work

The good news is, there’s no reason to panic! Hopefully this blog can help you connect what you saw at UC to the ways in which you can bring value to your organization, maximizing your investment in the ArcGIS Platform by helping to answer the following questions:

  • How do you bring value to your organization in a way that makes sense to the business units outside of GIS and IT? 
  • How do you utilize the power of spatial technology to solve business challenges?
  • Where do you start?
  • And how do you gain the ability to...

Image result for see what others cant esri

See what I did there?

First things first, let's start with the Plenary.  If you missed the Plenary, or want to relive every minute of the day, the recorded Plenary presentation videos are available hereI will update this post as soon as the Tech Sessions are available for viewing!

Besides this being one of the most incredible and visually-stunning UC Plenaries I've ever seen, Esri staff and clients showcased a multitude of different Esri Products, Services, and Solutions, including the following:

ArcGIS StoryMaps

ArcGIS UrbanInsights for ArcGIS
ArcGIS ProAutodesk AEC CollectionsHolistic Market Research 
ArcGIS HubDigital Supply ChainSpatial Analytics and Data Science
ArcGIS IndoorsEmergency Management OperationsTracker for ArcGIS
ArcGIS MonitorField OperationsWater Outage Solution
ArcGIS QuickCaptureImagery ManagementLink to all Esri Products

Now that you've watched the entire Plenary Session again, here's my advice on how to move forward to bring value to your organization using the ArcGIS Platform:

1. Learn From Your Peers

One of my favorite things to do every year is pay attention to how other industries are utilizing the ArcGIS Platform.  I love to take one afternoon during the expo and walk around to the other industry islands and see what our incredible Solution Engineers from various industries are using the software to accomplish.  If you missed the User Conference, or didn't get the opportunity to explore the Expo this year (you'll have to come back!), this is where the Plenary videos can provide a quick sampling of what you missed.  For example, here were some of the workflows showcased:

  • ExxonMobil utilized ArcGIS Indoors and Survey123 to put geospatial technology in the hands of their employees and campus visitors to navigate on and report issues about their 3 million-square-foot campus
  • USAA utilized ArcGIS Pro, Deep Learning, Imagery, and Remote Sensing for catastrophe response to help their members get back on their feet faster; and most importantly, perform these insurance workflows in minutes, not days.
  • The United States 2020 Census utilized Web GIS, ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, Navigator for ArcGIS, and many other GIS workflows in operations and in the field in to motivate people to respond to the Census to ensure a more accurate count of the United States population.  This helps to allocate 900 billion dollars of federal funding to local communities every year.  They only have one shot to count every citizen once, only once, and in the right place. 

With so many users sharing their workflows, there's surely content in these videos that can have an immediate impact on your business.

2. Understand That GIS is More Than Digital Mapping

My incredible coworker and dear friend Sarah Scher‌ wrote this post about connecting business with technology.  Her words inspired my post (with her blessing), and here are the key takeaways:

  • GIS doesn't exist to make maps - GIS exists to satisfy business needs and to solve business challenges
  • Adopt a 'Business First' Philosophy - have a clear and concrete understanding of what your organization is trying to accomplish
  • The Capabilities of GIS Fall into a Set of Patterns that Describe Geospatial Capabilities -  Mapping & Visualization, Data Management, Field Mobility, Monitoring, Analytics, Design & Planning, Decision Support, Constituent Engagement, and Sharing & Collaborating
  • These Patterns of Use Establish Connections - weave these together to address the business challenges identified in your 'Business First' Philosophy

This advice is industry-agnostic.  Take this and move into Step #3.

3. Set Realistic Goals

You'll notice that this item is in red.  This is the one thing that I always try to communicate with the users I'm talking to - whether at UC or any of the other 51 weeks of the year.  It's been my experience that this is the most important advice anyone could ever give (and not just about GIS!).  So if you don't read anything else on this page, at least read this!

Years ago before Esri, I was working onsite at a massive refinery in Southern California and had to sit in 6 (yes, 6) hours of Health and Safety Training before we could start.  The Health and Safety Director started the training by saying, "Remember that we are in an extremely complex facility that, if something went wrong, could completely level the entire Los Angeles metroplex - we're not out here baking cookies."  And as much as I would love to be on the Food Network baking all day, you aren't baking cookies either.  The way your organization operates on a day-to-day basis is equally complex.  Here's the advice that Sam Rosario had when we were talking about how to process the multitude of information that comes from the Esri User Conference: set realistic and time-dependent goals.

  • Develop a Goal for Something Your Organization Can Accomplish Using the Esri Technology in 30 Days
    • An example of this may be to build one Operations Dashboard for one workflow, or add 5 Named Users to your Web GIS Organization
    • Utilize this "low-hanging fruit" to accomplish quick and powerful wins for your organization. (I find that these are typically the most important for all organizations to understand the value of GIS!)
  • Develop a Goal for Something Your Organization Can Accomplish Using the Esri Technology by the End of the Year
    • An example of this may be to adopt a new Esri technology, or integrate a new data set
  • Develop a Goal for Something Your Organization Can Accomplish Using the Esri Technology for the Long Term
    • An example of this may be to integrate a new business unit, or for your entire organization to utilize Web GIS (ArcGIS Online or Portal) as their Authoritative Content Management System

Setting these goals gives you a road map on how you can execute something today.  Otherwise, everything you've learned at the Esri User Conference may stay as a wish list or philosophical ideas, and the potential you can accomplish with GIS will always stay an "if" rather than a "when."

4. Remember Your Resources

You are not alone!  There are a multitude of resources available to you to get started.  My job as an Account Executive is to help my clients work through these business challenges their organizations face, the goals they want to accomplish, and partner with them to help them leverage the ArcGIS Platform technology to quickly achieve business value.  I work specifically with Esri's Renewable Energy Industry, but no matter what industry you are in, Esri has an Account Manager, Solution Engineer, Professional Services Contact, Solution Architect, Product Manager, Digital Sales Contact, or Business Partner for you!

5. Take Action!

Always remember that YOU  are a resource too! No matter where you are in your GIS maturity, you too have the ability to use Esri technology to understand data, gain insights, See What Others Can't, and make better decisions. Whether you’ve just come back from User Conference, followed along from home by tuning in to the Plenary live stream, or are just finishing up this blog, the information you need to maximize your investment in the ArcGIS Platform is waiting for you to act on it.

Special thanks to Russell Sands for acting as editor for this post  

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