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Procedures: The Fifth Element

by Mike on July 27, 2015

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are generally considered to have five main elements:
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Data
  • Training
  • and Procedures
Of these, the one that is most particular to an individual enterprise, department or project is your Procedures.
 
Unlike the other items on that list, your procedures also don’t come in a box off the shelf – they are designed and managed by you, either intentionally or spontaneously by necessity.
 
Your procedures have evolved according to your work flow, the history of the people who set it up, your administrative and regulatory demands, and the way you and everyone involved needs to respond to the things that happen and the demands of your customers, both internal and external.
 
While your procedures may be largely set in motion or demanded by outside influences, there are tools and practices that will help you take control and manage them as you streamline them. They are:
  • A proactive culture
  • A digital workflow management system
  • The support of someone who has been there before
While we can’t guarantee a proactive culture will exist throughout your enterprise, you always have the ability to be proactive yourself. The nice thing about that is it tends to be contagious. A proactive mindset is the first step to a job well done.
 
A digital workflow management system can be a great framework for organizing and automating data collection, geoprocessing, administrative reviews and approvals, and the data views and communication triggers that keep everyone informed and involved. Such a system liberates the enterprise from “Reply-All-athon” email chains and provides transparent, on-demand access to the status and “next steps” of the workflow, whether it is collecting, delivering, or displaying data or delivering services as needed.
 
Experience and perspective are invaluable in assessing, designing, and delivering streamlined procedures. It’s nice to have an ally who can validate your assumptions and provide insight from similar situations encountered over many years in many different enterprises.
 
Be proactive! Begin with the end in mind!
 
… a comprehensive geographic database with a common workflow interface can help increase revenue, lower costs and mitigate risk - intentionally designing your own procedures are the best way to achieve that.
Tagged GIS, workflow