Strategic Planning for GISI am currently working on Strategic Plans for the City of Walnut Creek and the San Jose Water Company. It got me thinking about the processes involved and why I enjoy doing GIS Strategic Plans.

It allows me to research the latest technologies, review what we’ve done for other clients and then weave that into an optimized, tailored solution for the new client.  That kind of thinking forms the foundation for everything else we do.

What is a GIS Strategic Plan? 

Strategic Plans provide GIS Managers and their colleagues with a document that defines the technical and business objectives of a GIS Program. This provides a guidepost by which to assess whether individual tactical initiatives are consistent with the overall strategy of what the organization is trying to accomplish with geospatial technology.  A good GIS strategic plan tells a story.

GIS Strategic Plan Template

While no one template fits every case, a  typical process for developing a GIS Strategic Plan at Farallon includes:

  • Identify the business problem being solved
  • Identify the target users
  • Identify necessary/desired integration with other systems
  • Identify short- and long-term criteria for success
  • Develop a business case
  • Define scope of work
  • Recommend optimal implementation technologies and tactics
  • Develop a project management plan
  • Develop  schedules and staffing
  • Develop a quality assurance plan
  • Develop a communication plan
  • Develop a risk management plan

Many GIS Managers may have an innate sense for much of this and do a good job at directing their staff accordingly. However, most GIS Managers also tend to have significant day-to-day operational responsibilities that prevent them from taking a month away to research, analyze, and reflect on business objectives, technology, data, and workflow and then document that thinking in an easily digestible GIS Strategic Plan.

That’s where I and my Farallon teammates come in. We are technical geeks at heart who also have an  understanding of and appreciation for the business processes that rely on application of GIS.  We thrive on determining the optimal and the most forward-looking technologies and workflows for the job. Basically we like to solve problems, reduce confusion, tell a story and build the roadmap that an organization can use to lead their GIS efforts into the future.  That is why, to me,  a GIS strategic planning is so fulfilling.