eSpatial CEO Philip O’Doherty explores the growing trend in business to use mapping software. (This article was first published in Geospatial today)
These are exciting times for eSpatial, as we prepare for the launch of a comprehensive new upgrade to our software. In preparation, we’ve been exploring how we can better communicate what we do, who uses our product, and who is most likely to use it. We’ve revisited our marketing channels and, in the process, come up with some interesting new Personas, based on existing users. Once again, I’m reminded of how far geospatial has entered the consciousness of modern business.
Most surprisingly, perhaps, is the number of CEOs or business owners who are climbing aboard the data mapping trend. You know how powerful and important something is if the head of a company takes an interest in it! Of course, once sold on mapping software, the day-to-day management of the software is passed to someone lower down the chain of command. But certainly, at an early stage, the chief wants to know how the new weaponry works!
Another substantial tranche of our users are those who work in marketing departments – from heads of marketing to marketing researchers. They stretch across a wide range of industries. It helps that using eSpatial does not require a nearinsurmountable learning curve, which brings me, indirectly, to another one of our Personas…the IT Person.
Much of the time, it appears that the IT Person (again, this may encompass a range of specific roles) has been casually tasked with exploring the value, stability and security of mapping technology. Frankly, where once it may have been a challenge to do this, now it’s become a dull chore for the IT Person: he or she just wants to get software simple enough to pass on to someone else (the end user) who can run it independently. I don’t think I’m too far off the mark when I say IT Person’s thinking might go something like this: “I have better things to be doing that require my in-depth technical knowledge! If you need help, contact the support section of the mapping company, not me!” Woe betide the geospatial company that does not provide premium support. Not a million miles from the IT Person is the Anlayst. 10 years ago, a person in this type of role would have required little or no interaction with geospatial information. Now, location is suddenly an issue, because Analysts love digging down into data, exploring it and coming up with new insights – something that we’ve made integral to eSpatial
Clients working in the area of business analytics are fantastic advocates for the power of geospatial knowledge – even if they do take their time making decisions on which software to choose! And finally, we come to, arguably, the least technically-minded of all our Persona types – the Sales person. Why is this Persona group adopting geospatial as a business tool? Well, in business, Sales does the footwork – actually or virtually. Heads of sales departments need to know where the customers are and the quickest way to get their people or product to them. A spreadsheet can TELL, a map can SHOW – that’s a big difference, when time is money. The dissemination of geospatial techniques to such a wide and varied range of users is no surprise to me – it’s the reason eSpatial was established.
Now the challenge is to make sure the wide-ranging interest we have evoked is matched by the accessibility and power of our product. I think that’s something of which all geospatial enterprises must be cognizant in today’s market.