The Machine that Goes 'Bing'!

This might date me, but I was reminded earlier this week of a Monty Python sketch about a machine in a hospital that goes "Bing!" Here is a shortened, edited part of that very funny sketch. 

See; with technology in general and Geospatial Technology in particular, sometimes we are more distracted with the Bells, Beeps and Bings rather than the actual patient. In local government we, (because i know) can be focused on how to creatively fund and justify a GIS rather than on assisting the public get answers. Everyone started out with good intensions.  Innately in our profession is a drive to get better at what we do. When we allow the tools distract us we may have lost site of our proper definition of Customers. 

Defining 'Customers'

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 10.22.59 AM.png

There is so-so -so much to keep us from the simple goal of doing what we need to do: Provide mapping services to our customers.   GIS inherently is a service-oriented field, I daresay that's all we do. I don't care if you're a one-man-shop providing GIS to 10 different departments or a singular JavaScript programmer on a team within a huge firm. You have customers. Sure they go by different names; co-worker, boss, teacher, board member, phone call, field worker, lineman, administrative assistant, manager, joe public.  IF they are consumers of a mapping service (paper, online, digital or data) that you provide, they are your customer. I did not learn this until 2007. My boss at the time had spent some of his career in the private sector and he brought that perspective back into the public sector. The idea of other departments or even my co-workers of 'Customers' was new and foreign to me. After I accepted it, other GIS users stopped being 'people who bug me' and started being MY Customers. And I wanted to provide better customer service to them. 


Re-Focus & Simplify 

There will never be enough time, you will never have enough money, there is not enough bandwidth to test, try-out and evaluate every new shiny toy that comes down the pipe. In the last few months Apple inc has released about 7 new products. It would cost you about $5,285 to buy and try them all. (maybe you should just focus on learning the iPhone you DO have) Heck, even if you commit to one particular stack of software, Esri for 'random' example, you STILL can't get to all their offerings.  Your best chance to stay sane is through focusing on what you do best and have the discipline to let the rest go. If you're not a programmer, then don't try to create a GIS website from scratch, it will be awful. If you are a Planner and write great grants, then don't make maps, they're ugly. If you're an Engineer....... well, you get the idea. 


Get Help

There is no pride lost in asking for help. On the other hand, there IS something lost when you do everything poorly, your reputation. Being a life-long learner means that you have things to learn. Ask for help.  Our Service are geared to help you. We do it well. We have several focused KickStarts that give you just that edge you need to pull off a successful GIS.  

These solutions are meant to help you focus on what you do best by taking care of the things that you may not have time to learn right now. No One is saying that You Can't or Don't want to. You just need help, and as My customer, I want to help you.