By George Goodall
Esri recently hosted the sixth annual Public Sector CIO Summit. Key topics included the role of emerging technology, emerging trends like location intelligence and smart cities, and the need to create “wins” to demonstrate IT’s value:
- Emerging Technology: Esri pointed to its work with Microsoft to combine artificial intelligence with the kind of “location intelligence” offered by Esri. It also discussed its ArcGIS Indoors offering – acquired via Austria’s indoo.rs – as a way to enable service mechanisms that require location intelligence from within buildings. The Esri Geospatial Cloud hits all the buzzwords as a “virtual cloud that combines local intelligence with artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.”
- Future Trends: Esri demonstrated the value of maps to support “data-driven accountability” on issues such as affordable housing or local procurement. It also showed the value of using location intelligence tools combined with autonomous vehicles to collect information on things like potholes as part of smart cities initiatives.
- Wins: A key issue is demonstrating progress on municipal initiatives to constituents. Esri demonstrated the application of public map–based portals for issues like homelessness (San Bernardino County Sheriff) or the coordination of services during major events (City of Pasadena during the Rose Bowl).
Esri is a leading provider of geographic information system (GIS) solutions and is incredibly popular among Info-Tech’s members. Esri’s insights are particularly relevant to municipal governments and agencies. It currently ranks second (of five vendors) in Info-Tech’s SoftwareReviews Geographic Information Systems category with a composite score of 7.7 and likeliness to recommend rating of 80 per cent..
Source: Esri ArcGIS at Software Reviews
Esri’s announcements certainly highlight the strengths and capabilities of its products. But they are relevant for all public sector CIOs regardless of the particular choice of GIS platform. Municipal CIOs and IT leaders face unique challenges in that much of their governance structure turns over every four years as a new municipal council is elected. As part of this process, strategic goals drift and identified threats and weaknesses get diffused. Esri’s case studies point to particular IT-related problems and scenarios that could inform any municipal IT strategy.