Elevate location to increase efficiency
One of the benefits of my job is that I get to visit a large number of transportation agencies and speak to transportation professionals from all over the world. A common theme I often encounter is uncertainty with respect to the future. From Departments of Transportation that are unsure of the future infrastructure they will need to provide to support autonomous navigation and connected vehicles, to transit agencies that struggle to understand the rapidly changing mobility patterns in their cities, they are all trying to effectively respond to an uncertain future environment.
At the same time many of these organizations recognize internal challenges with their information and business systems. In order to meet the challenges of the coming age it will require relying on information technology, business and location intelligence, and performance management, all with the goal of becoming data driven organizations.
And while these organizations often talk of comprehensive digital transformations, the record of large-scale technology initiatives is not reassuring as both public and private organizations have endured less than successful investments in technology.
Fortunately, this spotty record has driven changes in the IT industry and brought about changes in the paradigms for successful implementation. A key component of these changes is the recognition that organizations need to empower their employees with the right information and technology to drive better decision making, greater collaboration, as well as greater efficiencies and the resulting productivity gains.
This pattern of technology implementation is often referred to as a system of engagement, and it is designed to enable everyone within an organization to access the information they need to more effectively carry out their daily tasks. It complements an organization's investment in its larger business systems (systems of record) by providing convenient access to data as well as easy-to-use applications that enable collaboration across the organization.
WHAT IS ESRI'S SYSTEM OF ENGAGEMENT?
A System of Engagement is the delivery of data, improved workflows, maps, and apps to empower an entire organization. It is best achieved through thinking spatially and connecting workflows with location to access data.
At Esri, we believe there are six actions for creating a successful system of engagement that will empower organizations to thrive in the changing environment.
How exactly do you achieve a successful system of engagement?
- Create a single location for users (who have appropriate permissions) to access authoritative data, using any device at any time.
- This location is to be different from the large data warehouses that organizations used to build several years ago. Rather, the core principle is that the ownership and stewardship of the data should remain with the group responsible for collecting data, but also that the data should be at an easy-to-access site, often requiring no more than three clicks.
- Build on your existing technology and data investments.
- Most organizations have already invested in numerous business systems—the problem is that the data is not widely accessible to everyone in the organization. The goal is not to build new, large, complex systems but rather to leverage the data you already have and to make it much more widely accessible. Fundamental is the notion that data should be unlocked and made widely available, based on user credentials.
- Discover the possibilities for your data when it is exposed and made available through user-focused, simple applications that are designed to facilitate the daily workflow of the various users.
- The journey begins with interviews of users and individual business units to understand their workflows and identify any inefficiencies or technology gaps, and then design the tailored applications from this process. This way, the system of engagement is built to tackle the business needs and process improvements, and only after the discovery phase are any specific applications built.
- Build a sustainable technology environment that provides for continual innovation.
- Designing a system of engagement is a focus of ours to enable your staff with the information and targeted applications designed to support their daily workflows. This becomes a continual process of refinement and improvement that ultimately redefines the way in which people are connected to information, with the goal of increasing business efficiency and performance.
- Reuse data and web services to build specific applications.
- By using interconnected applications, subsequent applications are built on components from prior development projects to allow capabilities of the current development efforts to increase at a faster rate over time.
- Implement off-the-shelf technology and rely on configuration as much as possible.
- This prevents the problems of over customization that often plagued IT projects in the past, and instead represents a lower-risk approach with a significantly higher rate of success. Esri has a large number of prebuilt templates and applications that are designed to allow for a quick implementation pattern, with simple configuration rather than custom coding. These cover everything from mobile workflows and operational awareness to business dashboards and constituent engagement applications.
When the vast majority of agency workflows are supported by targeted applications, and everyone—from the senior executives to the fieldworkers—comes to rely on the information and user applications afforded by a system of engagement, it becomes as important as (if not more critical than) an agency's system of record. In this way our system of engagement is designed to help an agency make a smooth transition to a more information-enabled environment, one where innovation is a continual process and better decision-making is the rule. And that, in turn, helps transportation agencies build confidence to respond to the disruptive trends in the future.
To learn more about Esri's system of engagement, visit go.esri.com/implementing-a-system-of-engagement.