Strategic Plan

Using the URISA GIS Capability Maturity Model

At the Gartrell Group, we are all about helping organizations make the most of locational information. Our work can be organized into three major categories:

  • Strategy - helping organizations assess needs and develop or refine their strategies for effectively serving the geospatial needs of their customers.
  • Development - designing, developing, and supporting clients in the roll out of web and mobile software tools tailored to their unique requirements and workflows.
  • Hosting - our cloud-hosting options are home to many organizations’ geospatial data and apps.

A recent strategy consulting engagement has been with Hennepin County, Minnesota.  We are working on a multi-faceted project that is focused on increasing executive sponsorship for the County’s GIS program and on helping to enhance collaboration among the many lines of business served by the County’s GIS office.

Introducing the URISA GISCMM

One tool that we’ve utilized in this effort is a brand new assessment survey by the folks at Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) called the GIS Capability Maturity Model (GISCMM). The GISCMM is a comprehensive survey that aims to provide metrics to “enable GIS managers and organizations to gain understanding and insights about how GIS is implemented and operated in their organization.” It is made up of two parts; the Execution Ability Assessment and the Enabling Capability Assessment.

Enabling Capability Assessment Results Chart2The Enabling Capability Assessment focuses on assessing the status of an organization’s data, technology, and geospatial infrastructure, while the Execution Ability Assessment focuses on the ability of an organization’s staff to leverage data and technical resources to serve particular goals and functions.

The URISA GISCMM was developed by some of the most influential and experienced members of the GIS Community. The result is an extremely comprehensive look at an organization’s geospatial capabilities informed by metrics that range across topics of personnel, technology, data, governance, and coordination among stakeholders. The survey is designed to facilitate easy comparison with a developing industry standard in each major category of measurement.

One of the interesting elements of the assessment is a radar chart infographic that is used to depict the relative “maturity level” of an organization for each metric. A chart with circular results will show a fully robust organization without any need for improvement (let’s be clear, a fully robust organization without any need for improvement is purely theoretical), while a chart with valleys cut into it will identify areas in need of improvement.

Establishing a Baseline Metric

If used properly, the results of the survey can help an organization identify areas in need of improvement, and can be used as a metric going forward. Not only can the survey be used as a tool to measure individual organizations, but once many organizations have participated, their results can be combined to give a decent picture of the current state of GIS.

The URISA GISCMM is a brand new tool and the folks at Hennepin County are among the very first in the nation to participate in the process. The results will help their (already healthy) GIS program zero in on the areas that need improvement, and will give them a metric on which to measure that improvement.

We are excited to add this tool to our quiver!

Give us a shout if you’d be interested in having us assess – and assist in strengthening – your organization’s location intelligence.

Strategic Planning for the City of Portland

Portland, Oregon’s Corporate GIS office (CGIS) is now operating under a new Strategic Plan.  Our team had the pleasure of engaging with a broad number of City staff and partners to lead a process of envisioning and articulating how CGIS will deliver geospatial services and boost the City’s location intelligence over the next several years.

The Gartrell Group performed a detailed assessment of CGIS’s staff capabilities, their data and technologies, and their portfolio of services. We also facilitated a series of workshops to invigorate stakeholder discussion, identify current needs and challenges, and to elicit the highest priorities of the users and beneficiaries of Portland’s geospatial tools and data.  We used findings from these efforts to craft and refine a plan for how the City may best apply resources for the greatest possible impact.

The adopted plan bridges topics of organizational strategy, data management, and technology management. It expresses a renovated vision and mission for CGIS and outlines how these may be realized through a clear and measurable set of objectives.  Importantly, the endeavor of the planning process itself – the workshops, the brainstorming, balloting activities, and collaborative needs discovery – helped to strengthen bonds between the City’s management and stakeholders and to re-open communication channels across department and agency boundaries.

Assisting organizations develop and enhance their location strategy is one of our core services and a keen area of interest among all of our team members. We think the work is important, we enjoy the process, and we take a lot of satisfaction in seeing the acceleration that happens once a customer has spent some time getting (re) acquainted with their location strategy and direction.

We are equipped with a very adaptive toolkit of strategy development know-how, means, and methods, and we can tailor an approach suited to your particular needs and questions. Please contact us if you’d be interested in learning more about how we can help your organization improve location strategy.