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Recent years have seen GIS technologies and geospatial data go from a niche specialty to a key information asset in supporting the entire organization. We are also seeing a strong trend for GIS departments to merge with IT departments.

GIS leaders with a more forward-thinking vision have strategized the implementation of geospatial data management strategies across their companies, which is to say, in alignment with the business orientations of their organizations. One part of this strategy is choosing enterprise technologies that typically include GIS itself, such as ArcGIS, as well as a GIS data integration platform.

Read on for five reasons a growing number of managers are choosing FME Server as an enterprise tech solution.

Effectively managing a single source of truth

GIS tech, which was initially based on specific applications with file-based formats, has now moved to databases that can interface with platforms and applications. The natural next step is enterprise data management (EDM).

EDM is the process of organizing and managing large amounts of geographic information in a single repository, accessible to members across an organization. It provides a framework for storing, managing and analyzing GIS data under one roof. FME supports EDM as a way to manage and control data quality out of this precious single source of truth, be it at the validation, correction or enhancement stage.

Any EDM strategy worth its salt must also guarantee that all stakeholders have access to the same version of the truth, in terms of data accuracy and reliability. This is where FME comes in: it democratizes access through a series of processing operations that allow users to extract the data they require and then manipulate it in their own systems and environments. This gives users all the flexibility they need to access the metadata and to manipulate and even enhance data as they see fit. This extraction method allows GIS managers to breathe easy knowing that their actual source of truth is not directly accessible.

Eliminating programming in point-to-point integration

Point-to-point integration is a quick solution for developers, but it can just as quickly turn into a huge headache for IT and GIS managers. Experience shows that this strategy can lead to a tangled, fragile and troublesome architecture, in terms of both the IT/GIS budget and the organization’s ability to respond to change requests.

If you’re looking to integrate your applications, the advantages of a low-code platform like FME include:

• Co-creation and collaboration: GIS and business analysts with knowledge of data structure can work with developers to perform integrations.
• Simplified documentation: The graphical interface gives users a quick and clear idea of processing operations, which can then be documented directly inside the workspaces.
• Increased productivity: Your users can access connectors that have already been developed, which can then be modified as your needs, APIs and database structures change.
• Greater flexibility: You can automate and chain together data processing processes.

Implementing a monitoring and notification strategy

Over the years, organizations have developed dozens of processes for validating, integrating and disseminating information. While some kinds of data processing are used by experts simply for analysis purposes, others are critical to keeping the organization running smoothly, especially when they feed vital business systems and dashboards used by leaders.

FME Server is a great option, thanks to its monitoring and notification capabilities. It enables an organization to confirm that all processing has been carried out and, should any problems arise, to notify the right people. Ultimately, it gives decision makers the confidence to make choices based on validated, up-to-date data. This is often a smart strategy, especially for organizations that are data driven or operate in a context that calls for sound governance rules.

Managing a single data integration platform

Please note that this paragraph is intended for IT managers of medium or smaller organizations.

For large organizations that manage huge amounts of data and have multiple departments that do not work with geospatial data, the new trend we are seeing is to have a dedicated enterprise platform as well as a more GIS-specific platform.

We do however work with a growing number of IT managers who are only just now learning about all the possibilities, versatility and performance potential of FME, and who are adopting FME as their central platform. If you still have reservations, rest assured that Safe Software was recognized in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for data integration tools, because of its completeness of vision and ability to execute. Knowing that, do you still think you really need more than one data and application integration platform?

Saving on licenses

If we’re being honest, data integration technologies can be prohibitively expensive to acquire. And using web tools that appear in the stacks of giants, even if their price per unit is reasonable, quickly becomes prohibitive as the volume of processing increases exponentially. FME licenses are relatively affordable compared to many other options on the market.

But the fact remains that, if you want to implement an EDM strategy, you do have to invest in acquiring licenses for your testing and development environments. You also have to add engines for additional processing capacity to help you manage a growing flow of data, especially as real-time flows are becoming more and more common.

With our new population-based FME subscription designed for local governments (LGS) and an enterprise licensing agreement (ELA) for other kinds of organizations, Consortech is able to provide its clients with incredible flexibility. In addition, paying for use time on FME Server engines is a great option for organizations that deal with spikes in their data processing.

In both GIS and IT, there’s nothing time, money and a solid team of developers can’t fix. But if you want to break out of this paradigm, you’re probably ripe for a shift to low-code solutions.

You can use FME Server as a middleware option to streamline and democratize access to data, while at the same time protecting your single source of truth. You’ll understand now why more and more government and private organizations have made FME Server a central part of their data management strategy—and all without breaking the bank!