• Scott Tansley

What has geoworx been up to?

A common question that geoworx is asked is ‘what have you been doing?’

In summary, it can be described like this:

The simple truth is that full-time contracting has been the focus. Alongside that, though, has been a lot of additional work with some great customers. geoworx believe that we should not name our customers in public until they are ready to release whitepapers and references. That day is approaching, but until then we’ll talk about them anonymously. Just after the NZ Esri User Conference in Auckland (August 2019), geoworx was approached its first two customers.

The first had ArcGIS Enterprise, but it has been unstable and didn’t perform in the way they believed it should. geoworx conducted a desktop study of artefacts that could be supplied, portions of as-built documents and architectural diagrams. A picture quickly emerged that has been seen many times before. The initial recommendation was to provide a health-check and technical strategy/roadmap. The health check scientifically confirmed the suspicions and we were able to explain the issues at hand to the customer, in a workshop, and in a way that they understood. We used picture language, after all some of the Esri concepts are hard to understand, and so we use analogies that simplify and educate.

geoworx provided a strategic technical roadmap with a recommendation to ‘start again’. Telling a customer to ‘throw out’ their existing investment never sits well, but this was the only way forward. The reasons for this were not just ‘Esri’ or associated with the original vendor – far from it. We observed and discussed multiple enterprise factors that suggested a completely new direction was needed for the future state.

The roadmap was accepted as valid and as the best approach for the customer. We were, therefore, asked to work on a solution design. This design supports the use of MS Azure cloud services, uses the latest operating systems, and ArcGIS components. We’ve focussed on simplicity, security, stability, flexibility and futureproofing. The design has been accepted.

Currently, we are working on the pre-production implementation. The customer is engaged in building the Azure componentry, supported by geoworx. geoworx is also currently deploying the first parts of the Esri software jigsaw.

Quite literally, in the space of 4 or 5 months we have gone around our service circle. We have set time, cost and quality expectations and we have worked to them. Once or twice we’ve had to reset the expectation by a few days. Most of the time we’ve exceeded expectation. We have delivered on time and within budget.

These standard project deliverables have been appreciated by our valued customer, but the greatest feedback we have received is that we are responsive to questions. We don’t just answer them, but we give context, options and the right information to empower our customer to make the decisions they need to make. There’s no heavy sell, we just consult – it’s our way. geoworx is consultancy led, bringing mentoring and technical leadership or a thought leadership approach.

We are told that it is our technical leadership that is most appreciated, and the greatest thing we have to offer.

The second customer had issues with data and services and wanted a health check and report of findings with recommendations. They have an ongoing relationship with another vendor but wanted a second opinion. We are more than happy to work like this, and we have handed over information that the other vendor can use to remedy the situations present.

geoworx wants to work in a partnership with customers who want an enduring engagement, but we respect relationships that are already held with other vendors. Our Esri partnership status means that we are up to date with technology, alongside that we bring a level of independence and experience that allows us to be your second opinion. If we see something good then we’ll tell you, we celebrate other people’s success, but if we see something wrong then we won’t hold back either. If you want our services then we will work in an open and transparent way. We believe in good old ethics and customer service, and that means telling the truth, good or bad.

If you need a second opinion, then we can help.

As you can see, geoworx has been busy. We’ve gone nearly all the way around the circle and we’re still going, and we’ve stepped in, moved forward and stepped away. If that’s not busy enough then we’ve also been involved with other clients:

  • A review of a current state 10.3.1 environment. Recommendations for the upgrade of IaaS to support ArcGIS 10.7.1, with a full pathway for data migration. The IaaS is almost complete, and geoworx will be deploying internal and external environments in the very near future. We will be available to assist and guide (mentor) the migration as well.

  • We are also just starting with another customer that does not have ArcGIS Enterprise but have acknowledged a need for it. We are in the consulting phase, eliciting high-level requirements and preparing for a workshop to confirm status and plan for a technical strategy and roadmap. We genuinely hope to go beyond that stage, but our approach is to build a relationship and take a step-by-step approach, growing the relationship and trust and allowing the customer to lead on cadence and direction.

  • We have also undertaken a significant architectural review, which has turned into a health-check of the built environment. The report for this is submitted.

  • We have also partnered. geoworx has good knowledge of the NZ geospatial community and the various providers. We know there are real strengths out there, and specialities that we do not have. We are not afraid to put our hands up and say, “we’d love to help, but we know these guys can do it better, can we introduce you?” Similarly, we’ve had partners recognise that ArcGIS Enterprise is not their speciality and called us in. We love this, an eco-system of effective partners each specialising in their own areas is our vision for a healthy NZ Esri GIS community.

The primary feedback we have received is that people like that we are focused on ArcGIS Enterprise. Having a specialist in the field gives them options. geoworx has the skills, experience and knowledge to take on wider pieces of work, but our focus, for now, will remain in making sure your ArcGIS Enterprise is as good as possible.

From February 2020 geoworx will increase capacity by releasing Scott into the geoworx consulting architect role full time. We’re also working on bringing in some sub-contractors, to fill gaps as needed. These people will have to meet the high standards that geoworx requires to conduct its operations.

So where are you on the consulting circle? Are you needing a second opinion? We’re here and we love to help.

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About geoworx geoworx has been operating in New Zealand for two years. It has a range of clients across NZ and many industry sectors. It is an Esri Silver Business Partner with the Release Ready speci