Undertaking a GIS software upgrade can be a daunting task. Sometimes, it can take time to get everything together and cleaned up to ensure a smooth transition process. It tends to be difficult to ascertain what benefits you will receive from upgrading your GIS to the latest and greatest version. In fact, the worry stems from considering what other systems are connected and how those systems will be impacted by taking your GIS offline for an upgrade. In the case of your GIS software, there are three main reasons why upgrading is a good idea and can save you time and money in the long run.
1) Better GIS Software Security
Software upgrades tend to have a large number of security updates that assist in protecting your information from possible compromise. With data breaches on the rise, your city or county’s GIS data is extremely important and it becomes imperative that you have ensured that there are no vulnerabilities in the security of your asset information. Deciding to stick with an older version of software may expose your system to unnecessary security flaws. A proactive attitude toward information security for your city or county will speak volumes to the trust and professionalism of your organization.
2) Enhanced GIS Software Functionality
As more and more regulations and open data requests come to fruition, GIS managers need to have the best tools available to meet their needs. GIS software, such as Esri, focus on meeting the needs of their users through enhanced functionality, which allows them to conduct more complex analyses of their data. Without these new tools, GIS managers are at a disadvantage when trying to create powerful reports and maps.
In addition, maintenance workers in the field are often an untapped resource for information on infrastructure assets. With a strong management system with GIS-centric functionality, the visual, map-based views help to link spatial information with asset management information so you can rest assured that your data is secure, accurate and up-to-date.
3) Bug Fixes
With every software, there are bugs. Upgrading your GIS as releases become available can alleviate some of the issues that were hampering your GIS manager’s ability to portray accurate and effective information which can be solved by keeping your GIS up to date through upgrades.
One other great benefit of upgrading is that with some GIS platforms, like Esri, you have people who can help you through this process via their support group. Any issues or questions can be answered and the process can be smoothed out by this responsive group. Keeping your GIS up to date with the newest released version can provide considerable assistance to your city or county by giving you the tools and corrections needed to effectively track and analyze your spatial data quickly and efficiently.
While these upgrade processes can briefly impact your integrated software systems, the efficiency in scheduling and ensuring that work can continue as needed is well worth it. For instance, an Enterprise Asset Management system could require significant scheduling if that system directly relies on your GIS to function. With an EAM system that integrates with your GIS, like AssetWorks EAM, instead of relying upon it, it gives flexibility to your GIS management to upgrade their GIS as needed without impacting your city’s or county’s ability to complete their work. The new tools and enhancements that are added in the upgrade can also be used to optimize the data from your integrated EAM system to create open services and maps for public consumption to ensure your community knows you are working on their concerns.