ESRI Press Publishes Two Books on Creating and Using GIS Systems

23 Jul, 2008

Books share methodology for building a successful system by planning the infrastructure and focusing on return on investment.

ESRI Press announced today that the company has published Building a GIS: System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers (ISBN: 978-1-58948-159-6, 302 pages, $44.95) and The Business Benefits of GIS: An ROI Approach (ISBN: 9781589482005, 200 pp., $24.95).

Building a GIS author Dave Peters, director of systems integration for ESRI, shares a methodology for building a successful system for GIS that's rooted in ESRI's consulting experience and feedback from customers. He hopes the book will help managers avoid a common tendency to "feel their way" to a proper system design.

"The system architecture design methodology in this book has already led to thousands of successful GIS deployments by ESRI customers over the last two decades," Peters said. The fundamentals behind this methodology are embodied in the Capacity Planning Tool (CPT), a design analysis tool that Peters introduces in the book. It is a Microsoft Office 2007 Excel-based workbook he created to help in capacity planning, the primary system design task of matching system components to an organization's needs. Chapters 7 through 11 (in the book and on an accompanying CD) are devoted to understanding and using the CPT, an automated tool that virtually completes the design analysis as organizations identify what they want from the system.

The first six chapters of the book provide an overview of the technology, covering topics such as the system design process, software technology, network communications, GIS product architecture, enterprise security, and GIS data administration. The next three chapters focus on the fundamentals of system, software, and hardware platform performance. The last section provides the how-to for completing a system design that will lead to a successful implementation, using a fictional city for the case study. Building a GIS serves as a companion piece to Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers by Roger Tomlinson, known as "the father of GIS."

The Business Benefits of GIS: An ROI Approach details a return on investment (ROI) methodology that explains how the implementation of a GIS can create business value for an organization. This book was written by David Maguire and Victoria Kouyoumjian, ESRI's chief scientist and IT strategy expert, respectively, and Ross Smith, a member of PA Consulting Group's management team and leader of the firm's GIS initiatives.

"Today's executives are seeking more sophisticated approaches for prioritizing and targeting investment in GIS technology and for proving how and when that investment will deliver tangible benefits to their organization," Maguire said. "The Business Benefits of GIS: An ROI Approach provides the steps necessary to quantify the return on investment when implementing a GIS project."

Maguire believes that a wide variety of GIS practitioners, including managers and business architects, will use the material in the book, in conjunction with the supporting Web site to implement an ROI-based GIS project. The site provides access to all the tools and templates necessary to implement the steps in the methodology.

"The 10-step methodology leads people through the whole process, from the initial idea to a complete, compelling report that can be presented to a review committee or funding body," Smith said. "Although it is written as an end-to-end process, we anticipate that some organizations will use only portions of the methodology. For example, some may use the approach to create a budget or to model benefits they expect to be delivered by their ongoing work."

Kouyoumjian added, "The approach focuses on six key topics that we believe are critical to creating a defensible position on the value of GIS for any organization: demonstrate the real business value, determine the specific costs, estimate the time frame for delivery of benefits, understand the resource requirements, define the governance and management, and calculate the return on investment."

The original methodology was developed by PA Consulting Group, a management consulting firm. It was customized by the book's authors, under license from PA, for use by GIS practitioners.

The books are available at online retailers worldwide, at the ESRI Web site, or by calling 1-800-447-9778.