Start With the Problem, Not the Technology

Jul. 28, 2016

iStock_000034943248_Large-595106-edited.jpgToo often we see GIS professionals discuss the technology before they have a thorough understanding of the problem. Don’t lead conversations with a solution. Take the time to understand the client, their business, and their problems. Some questions that need to be answered include:

  • What business problem are they trying to solve?
  • Who within the organization will benefit?
  • What will the solution look like?
  • What level of GIS knowledge is within the organization?
  • What is the expected value to the organization?
  • What are the risks vs rewards?

Many problems have a location based component to them. As an example, a property insurance company may receive 10,000 requests for residential property flood policies. Over the years, they have developed a set of criteria they use to determine which policies they write. This criteria might include:

  • Is the property in a flood zone?
  • What is the distance to the flood source?
  • What is the elevation difference between the flood source and the property?
  • Are their elevation barriers between the flood source and the property?
  • When was the last flood in this area?
  • During that flood, was the property affected? Etc.

A GIS solution might result in 500 policies that they end up writing based on their criteria and GIS data. Take the time to get to know the organization, their business and their problems before discussing GIS technology. Lead with questions, not with technology.

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