Why Now? – Outsourcing your GIS needs

It’s just common sense in today’s low-price climate that the future belongs to those who make smart business decisions. My last article outlined why it is so important to have your IT house in order so that when things inevitably get busy again, you will be ready to not only get the job done, but to get it done efficiently and securely, and at a better price than your competition.

HeadshotAnother integral aspect of landwork, and one which is all-too-often overlooked, is incorporating an intelligent GIS program. In my experience, the majority of brokerages and small operators with whom we deal recognize the value of professional GIS services, but would rather focus on landwork than concern themselves with the cost, learning curve and staffing headaches associated with providing GIS services themselves.

GIS 101, why expertise matters, the argument for outsourcing

GIS stands for Geographic Information System. In a nutshell, GIS info is in the form of points, lines or polygons, although other information such as raster images can be easily included. The important factoid is that the points, lines and polygons “know where they belong” on the globe. That’s why someone can send you a shapefile and you can drag it into a GIS project and, as long as you have the correct projection, your information will snap into place—in the right place.

This naturally involves an almost incomprehensible amount of number crunching behind the scenes. Software nowadays makes GIS work, in the hands of a qualified individual, a relatively easy task. That being said, if you’ve ever tried to teach yourself how to operate even the thinnest GIS application, you have probably already come to the conclusion that much of it is Greek, and it is, if you don’t speak the language. True GIS professionals are a marvel to watch. They all share the following traits:

  • Critical understanding of foundational concepts such as projections
  • Necessary resourcefulness (there are many free resources available on the internet, but not all are reliable) to build a good base map
  • Creativity needed to present information in different ways via layers
  • Technical knowledge required to link to external data sources
  • Experience with the land industry to know when the precision of a survey is needed and when ‘getting color on the map’ will suffice
  • Good time management and people skills

Most people probably never think about the day-to-day routine of a truly professional GIS individual, but I can tell you they wear many hats and are critical to the smooth operation of a project as well as a business.

Many organizations simply cannot keep an individual busy solely with GIS work, so they resort to using landmen that can put together and maintain a map. While I respect these individuals, I assert that it makes much more sense to outsource your GIS needs to a company like Landman Trends. I am fortunate to be associated with a staff of experienced professionals that can meet all of your needs, on an as-needed basis, and make you look good in the process. Outsourcing also makes a great deal of sense as it is very conducive to remote operations in today’s technical world.

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity

For our operator clients out there, we can handle all of your GIS needs, while giving you the added bonus of consistent results and limiting your contact list. In other words, instead of dealing with multiple GIS departments corresponding to the brokerages you deal with, you need only deal with us and let us work with the various brokerages to enforce standards and get you a uniform product.

Let Landman Trends handle your GIS needs, so you can focus on getting clients and keeping them happy. We would love to tell you more. Just reach out to me at Bill.Justice@LandmanTrends.com or 337-347-9534.

Bill Justice, CPL – President, Landman Trends

Watch for future articles addressing social media marketing, bookkeeping services, management consulting and more.

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Why now? – Be prepared when opportunity comes to your door

To a company, each land brokerage and small operator that I speak with nowadays is squeezing everything it can out of every penny they have—and with good reason. The work that has been such a blessing to us all over the years is pretty darned thin at the moment, without a lot of hope (unfortunately) for a quick turnaround. Cutting costs not only makes sense, it is necessary in order to keep the doors open. In other words, the alternative is not very appealing.

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Whenever faced with a situation like this, expenditures are prioritized, whether overtly and methodically, or subconsciously. Regardless of how it is done, we all end up with a ‘bottom line’ category consisting of expenditures that are absolutely vital, not just for survival, but for positioning oneself to be able to react when that rare opportunity presents itself.

The former are common-sense—rent, utilities, insurance, etc. The business has to at least have a heartbeat if it is to conduct any commerce. The latter is the focus of this article. It is one thing to simply have a heartbeat. It is another to be able to jump on an opportunity and turn it into positive cash flow quickly. For this, you need your technical infrastructure to be not only in place, but healthy.

What do I mean by ‘technical infrastructure’? I’m talking about the necessary components of any modern operation, such as the performance and security of your network, your software, hardware, and telecommunications package, your data sharing and retention policies, and much more. While these things may seem mundane, having your act together (or not) can make the difference in getting and/or retaining a client.

Luck is when preparation meets opportunityLandman Trends provides IT consulting services so that you can be confident you are where you need to be when opportunity comes a-knockin’. Our consultants are not only extremely sharp and experienced, they know the industry, so are aware of and can relate to the issues unique to land brokerages and small operators. If you are already where you need to be, then congratulations. You are better prepared than your peers. If you are not sure, contact me at Bill.Justice@LandmanTrends.com or 337-347-9534 and we’ll talk about performing a technology audit, reviewing all aspects of your operation to find vulnerabilities, then proposing affordable options to address them. In most cases, we can be just as effective remotely as in person.  It’s really simple, common sense, and now is the best time.

Watch for future articles addressing social media marketing, GIS services, bookkeeping services and more.

View Landman Trends’ web site here

It Just Doesn’t Make Sense To Me…

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Why would anyone start a venture whose client base is land brokerages and small operators?  I get asked that often, and it usually only takes a few minutes before the inquirer is nodding his head and saying that he gets it.

I am blessed to have many great friends across the country working in the land industry.  My time with TotaLand, the AAPL and local associations has given me a great feel for the needs of land brokerages and small operators.  I can tell you that there are very many individuals out there who are excellent landmen and who are able to get and retain clients.  In many instances, however, those same individuals are not so proficient at the numerous other skills required to start and maintain their operations.

Beyond the landwork itself, there are many issues to be addressed, such as building and maintaining a website and social media presence, building and maintaining a secure network that serves both ‘internal’ and ‘external’ clients, data security and management, GIS and data entry services and even bookkeeping.  What do all of these services have in common?  They are all critical to a successful business, and all require technical expertise in order to ensure that it is done correctly.  Any of the aforementioned areas, if done incorrectly, can be very inefficient at best, and catastrophic (in the business sense) at worst.

Another common thread is that there are many companies out there willing to provide these services, but very few who have the land background that we do.  Our clients don’t have to bring us up to speed on the nuances and intricacies of the industry.  As both a provider and consumer of consulting services, my experience has been that not having to overcome that learning curve is better for our clients’ bottom line as well as their peace of mind.

Suffice to say that now is the time to talk to us about getting your operations tuned up for the inevitable upswing.  We provide consulting and services in website design, social media marketing, IT and data management.  We also provide GIS, data entry/capture and bookkeeping services, allowing you to outsource rather than handle with internal staff.

Are you nodding yet?  Keep an eye out for additional posts going into more detail about each discipline.