The Rise of Data as a Business Problem – And What You Can Do About It

Author: Todd Slind, VP, Technology
Achieve better outcomes using a modern geospatial platform approach that connects systems and increases data accuracy.
Even in a post-pandemic world marked by increasing inflation and global disruption, investments in technology and data continue to rise. Gartner projected worldwide IT spending to total $4.4 trillion in 2022, an increase of 4% from the previous year. Yet, even as spending continues, many companies find themselves unable to transform their vast data stores into actionable intelligence. Saddled with antiquated technology consisting of a hodgepodge of disparate databases, including data locally stored on laptops, companies struggle to manage their data as an asset. The result? Duplicate, erroneous, and out-of-date information that leads to poor decision-making, which is costly.

IBM discovered that businesses lose $3.1 trillion annually in the US alone due to poor data quality. A previous study from Gartner reports poor data quality costs individual organizations an average of $15 million per year. Many businesses, big and small, across industries, simply don’t know what’s behind the proverbial data “curtain.” As a result, they don’t have an accurate account of their information and how to use it in a modern way that meets their business objectives.

Despite all of this, there’s a reason for optimism. A modern geospatial platform, developed with flexible architectures and APIs, can connect systems and optimize data using the power of location. It can enable companies to transform incoherent data into actionable insight, delivering greater value to the business—and the end customer.

IT complexity that causes poor data

Today’s modern data dilemma exists for several reasons, including disparate enterprise systems, independent data silos, antiquated infrastructure, and legacy geospatial technologies, applications, and development environments. This mixed bag of data and technology creates complex integrations and unnecessary points of failure.

From customer addresses to asset locations and field service work orders, the same data is often created and managed multiple times in separate applications and disconnected systems. This results in duplicate data stored in different silos and format.

And because data is inefficiently managed in a way that lacks flexibility, business unit managers or IT analysts can’t perform independent project work without needing a newly dedicated technology stack and a massive data preparation project. Moreover, many companies don’t have a clear pathway to incorporate new technology, including GIS, into the services they provide to business users.

When an organization wants to create a new application, it strains already precious, finite resources because it must build “the whole stack” from scratch. Unfortunately, companies that recognize these challenges often don’t have the bandwidth or resources to rebuild their infrastructure and train people.

What businesses need—and what leaders want—is to make data accessible from one place to understand what their data looks like, devoid of duplicates or errors. This leads to trust in data, enabling companies to make better decisions, optimize operations, bring new products and services to market faster, and deliver customer value that turns into increased revenue and brand loyalty.

Yet even the savviest IT leader may not understand the entire tech landscape and how to address data challenges in a more modular way that scales for the future.

One way to solve the technology and data dilemma is using a modern geospatial platform. Built with a unified, well-documented API, a well-planned GIS implementation can replace patchwork IT infrastructure built over decades of incremental investment that includes kludgy system connections. With a platform approach, organizations can modernize systems at their own pace. They avoid massive all-in-one projects that aim to update the entire IT infrastructure at once.

Better data through a lightweight, flexible GIS platform

Today modern GIS meets the many challenges of tech and business leaders. It leverages a lightweight and flexible platform that securely links enterprise systems using location data to enable a range of data processing and analysis microservices. Organizations can replace their existing patchwork connections and workarounds with a seamless design built on modern APIs.

This applies to any enterprise system, from ERP to CRM to enterprise asset management (EAM), work order management, and more. It can also work alongside legacy systems, data sources, and functionality so that companies can do more with less.

Organizations can use modern APIs to replace a patchwork of legacy workarounds with a smooth, seamless architecture that links multiple databases into a centralized ecosystem. This dramatically improves the extraction and processing of data and functions like database search and table access management.

In addition, you can leverage open source technologies to develop low-cost, easily configurable component-based applications that work well with proprietary solutions. Thus, you can reuse modules and give users a similar experience across applications.

The platform approach allows organizations to scale and keep up with evolving location-driven business questions and demands. They can quickly and easily leverage new spatial data and technologies as they become available, lowering the bar for application development, managing resources, and predicting costs. This includes adding new third-party data services, such as satellite imagery, SAR data, or crowdsourced data.

How is this possible? Modern GIS leverages APIs that link common cloud data platforms and standard GIS file formats. This enables the delivery of microservices that perform work on connected data sets and geospatial functions such as map view, vector tile/GeoTIFF serving, auto-detect of duplicates, as well as modern analytics like hexagon processing/overlay. It also helps automatically deliver analytics like hexagon processing and overlay. And you can layer these services within a secure, user-managed environment with search, catalog, quality management, and more. The result is improved data and services, particularly geographic content, that fuel existing systems.

It creates an easy-to-manage technology environment that provides business value in unique ways. For instance, you can monitor and track usage in a secure fashion that adheres to privacy standards. This type of measurement opens the organization up to new consumption-based business models. Instead of buying a half-million-dollar license, you can negotiate a per request cost. And you can develop new business models using rapidly maturing innovations like AI and machine learning.

Deep experience in platforms and data

The key to building the right geospatial platform, which leads to optimized information and decision making, involves taking a customer-first, user-driven design approach tailored to the individual organization. Only then can the right software, technology, applications, tools, APIs, and more be designed and built for converting data into value.

That’s where a highly experienced partner like Locana can help. We work closely with clients in both public and private sectors, from utilities to commercial businesses to nonprofit entities, to deliver modular, flexible, and quickly adaptable integration platforms and enterprise architectures. This removes the overhead involved in maintaining legacy systems and stove-piped solutions, as well as trying to carry out massive, painful, disruptive IT implementations in-house.

And we specialize in data. We can help with a detailed assessment to see where gaps exist. We can build and develop data pipelines, design search features, catalog metadata, search features, and identify freely available sources of open data. In addition, we can supply an integration layer as a service that enhances the speed and access to data wherever it resides.

Using standard cloud connections and cloud services, we can help you gain the ability to maintain your enterprise environment in a fast, efficient manner. You can turn microservices on and off, making it easy to scale the business rapidly in both boom and leaner times. This enables digital transformation at your own pace without signing up for a significant upfront investment. You can follow a rational, incremental approach using an integration layer that makes your resources work together with grace and ease.

Don’t let your legacy digital infrastructure prevent you from getting the most out of your data—and delivering better business outcomes. Instead, leverage a trusted advisor to maximize your return on investment and innovate for the future. One that can provide a business-savvy, customer-driven platform that transforms data problems into insightful opportunities.

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Contact us to discover how you can achieve better business outcomes using a modern geospatial platform approach. Or visit our services and industry pages today.

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