In just a few months, the world has fundamentally changed. There are many aspects of our lives that will be different, from how we greet each other to how our children are taught. In many ways, it will be driven by how we can interact, socialize, work, and care for each other while ensuring a safe environment. For many, how they work will be the first and most obvious change. The debate of open spaces, cubicles, and telework may finally be over. The best way to work is the safest.
Organizations wisely look at costs versus benefits when planning facilities and office layouts. How many people can we get into an area and not reduce productivity? Open office articles are used to show how great these plans work, but in reality, open offices support a greater density of workers which helps the bottom line. Workers adjusted in order to keep their jobs. Stress may occur but the studies are used to counter any complaints. But, close working conditions today with COVID-19 make open office space with tight desk configurations unadvisable. Providing distance between desks will also be expensive.
The month-long experiment in social distancing provides a perfect time for businesses and organizations to build out a new model of working. While some staff will need to be in a central office, many don’t. Setting up home offices (WFH) is being pulled together on short notice by workers around the world during stay-at-home orders. Data can sometimes be shared via FTP but this is cumbersome and often not secure. What is critical for effective and productive work to be done is behind the scenes - getting the back office, siloed data out of their proprietary databases.
Staff will need to get access to information, data, and their work communities easily and quickly.
During this pandemic crisis, organizations may use temporary fixes to get workers connected. But this is also a great opportunity to set up the office of the future today. Three things to you can do now:
Rethink your data and technology strategy. The structure, formats, and location of data evolve over time. Old systems get replaced with new solutions and managers retire. This is the time to look at what data is critical and what systems are needed. Data that at first was used for a single project may now be a huge asset to the entire company if it was available.
Design around open access and collaboration, tear down silos. Many systems were designed during the mainframe, workstation, and PC days. Cloud computing is relatively new and affords many opportunities. While integrating siloed systems and data in the cloud may be on your long term plan, it is time to move it to the top.
Make the complex simple. Over time, organizations’ back-office systems become complex. Rethinking your strategy and deploying a cloud-based system should be held to the standard of simplicity. Start by assuming the new systems must be easy to get a team up and collaborating in less than a week.
There are many examples of overly complex and siloed systems. It is tough to find an organization that actually has a master data model for its customers, for example. Information is scattered in at least three enterprise systems and countless other contact databases and spreadsheets. But geospatial data and systems stand out as even more complex because of the size, types, and format of the information. Data ranges from addresses to extremely large satellite files. There is also Computer-Aided Design (CAD) files, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) features, survey (COGO) files, LiDAR, and Location Intelligence (LI) objects. Each emerged with its own history, use, and proprietary formats.
Accessing, combining, and analyzing these geospatial data together will fundamentally change how we look at the world. We need a revolution in the geospatial market. The decentralization of the workforce will accelerate this change.
Will these individual systems go extinct? Not necessarily and at least not at first. They will continue to be used to collect and manage specialized datasets. The use of the data will be done in a new way, collaboratively. Proprietary formats will give way to open data solutions.
Geospatial data sets free from the constraints of the past will fuel new solutions, ideas, and visions for the future.
Getting started is easier than it seems. Access to geospatial data has never been easy but at Koordinates, we have made it our mission to figure it out.
The Koordinates solution is an open geospatial data platform used by LINZ and other organizations to share geospatial information. New pioneering work continues at Koordinates with open source technology that supports distributed version-control for geospatial and tabular data. The Koordinates platform allows easy ingestion of all geospatial data and sharing and providing collaboration to teams or to the public. Now remote workers, contractors, and the public can use and share data using the tools and formats that best fit their needs.
Koordinates supports different user types to fit each organization's needs.
Once data is available, building apps using the data is much easier. As more data becomes available within an organization, new insight and ideas quickly emerge. Universities, governments, regulated organizations and big corporations all benefit from having a holistic view of their data.
Sharing across departments will change how we work. Remote working will be the push to make it happen.
Organizations no longer have the luxury to wait. Remoting working will require remote data access. With a user-first approach, successful platforms will make data and apps easy-to-use so staff can work on their projects and not chasing after system administrators and search for pesky licensing files.
Interested? Check out how we can help.