20th Annual Worldwide Business Partner Conference Draws More Than 700 Attendees
Thought Leaders Come Together to Explore GIS Business Opportunities
"You, as a network of GIS business professionals, know so much," said Jack Dangermond, Esri president, speaking at the 2008 Esri Worldwide Business Partner Conference (BPC) Plenary Session. "The ways you have applied GIS are a mosaic of examples for better understanding and managing our earth."
Business professionals from around the world joined Esri at the BPC, held March 1518, 2008, at the Palm Springs Convention Center in California. From water networks and records management to transportation and elections, the conference highlighted a variety of areas in which GIS is being applied every day for improved problem solving, decision making, efficiency, and communication.
Business Problems, Partner Solutions
During the Plenary Session, Dangermond and Esri staff discussed business questions and presented simple but innovative answers. The presenters explored how the latest ArcGIS technologies support more action and collaboration than ever by providing tools, methods, workflows, and analysis, which offer all types of organizations the geographic advantage, including more time, resources, and a higher return on investment. "Today's ArcGIS is a complete geographic information system," said Dangermond. Designed to author, serve, and use, ArcGIS 9.3 is also a response to hundreds of user- and partner-requested enhancements. Added functionality includes labeling advancements, such as stacked Asian characters, unique symbols and shapes, animation and three-dimensional capabilities, better rendering, and predictions based on history.
"We are systematically enabling technology and standardizing the way we use, adapt, apply, and share GIS," said Dangermond. "And in the future, ArcGIS will integrate with everything. We are essentially wiring up the planet in real time. It's a great, great, great world. I wish I was 18 again."
Also during the Plenary Session, Bernie Szukalski, product manager for Esri's ArcGIS Explorer, demonstrated how this free software's newest additions include features such as transparency, the ability to stamp a map with a company logo, and traffic webcam capabilities. Hugh Keegan, manager of Esri's applications prototype lab, demonstrated the mobility and ease of connecting and running a new 10-terabyte data appliance, a powerful data and solution provider that's also a turnkey package for sale.
Looking at the road ahead, Dangermond elaborated on which product and marketing strategies will continue to propel the performance, usability, science, and relevance of GIS. Having open architecture, an interoperable platform, and a flexible framework for any size client and type of application, as well as incorporating green technology, are just a few of the ways mentioned to improve GIS-based solutions for customers. Other goals include aligning efforts to simplify, enrich, and share the partner, customer, and user experience.
Networking and Recognition
Beyond the latest Esri and GIS updates, a draw for many business partner representatives attending the BPC is the chance to connect with other organizations. "This conference is perfect for networking with other business partners," said Doug Marvel, geospatial technology consultant with Spatial Marvels. "And networking is so important as a small business, meeting people and making strategic connections. It's a great thing, and my relationship with Esri is one of the most positive aspects of my business."
Partner Award recipients were also pleased to interact with their peers. "It was an honor to receive this award," said Michelle Frye, Trimble Mapping and GIS account manager who has attended the BPC once before, as well as several other Esri conferences. "And coming here again, it's just good to make such important contacts."
"I feel very honored that we would be selected for this award from such a large group of our very talented colleagues," said Arunas Kalinauskas, manager of the Geomatics Group at R.J. Burnside & Associates, Ltd., and whose company has been coming to the BPC since 2002. "This is my top conference that I always attend. It's a great way to interact with Esri staff and business partners from all over the world. It creates a sort of synergy for all of us; it's good for our customers, too." A complete list of Business Partner Award winners can be found at www.esri.com/bpc.
Enlightening Sessions and State-of-the-Art Technology
From discussing customer satisfaction and technical support to perusing state-of-the-art products and services, attendees were able to expand their knowledge, be inspired, and stay at the forefront of GIS innovation. A range of breakout sessions was offered covering best practices in business, market opportunities, and products and technology. Participants could learn about the path to success as a business partner, sales and marketing strategies for specific industries, certain aspects of the ArcGIS product suite, leveraging GIS, calculating return on investment, recent trends, and more.
The GIS Solutions EXPO on Sunday gave exhibitor partners the chance to share their hardware, software, data, and solutions with a large, diverse audience. Visitors and exhibitors met to discuss products, projects, and possibilities in different markets. During the Esri Showcase, Esri staff were on hand to meet with attendees at various product islands and answer their individual questions.
"The show's been great," said Ken Schneider, CEO of Adapx. "We're very excited about the quality of attendance. Not only are we in front of potential partners, but this is a great venue for connecting with Esri staff."
"Here we are," said Dangermond during the Plenary Session. "Thousands of partners that are, to me, quite extraordinary in applying the geographic advantage and making a positive difference in the way the world is evolving." Dangermond added that "everyone confronts individual challenges while trying to make a difference, but combining our efforts with GIS is how we can collectively do something for the planet, as well as succeed in the marketplace. You are part of us; we simply could not do what we do without you."
Find out more about the 2008 BPC and watch for updates about next year's event at www.esri.com/bpc.