I have just returned to the office after a couple weeks of traveling both in the UK and across Canada. I had the pleasure of meeting with over 300 of our users, and alongside Dale, sharing information on our current product offerings and the future plans we have for our technology.
One of the recurring thoughts that came to me as I met with people is the importance of “collaboration” and how it is going to be even more important in the future. In the upcoming era of web services, organizations that can easily pull together small services that can do something specific incredibly well, will be capable of adopting new technologies quickly and hold a significant strategic advantage over less nimble competitors.
With traditional desktop-based technology, we have found product integrations to be very time consuming both for initial implementation and ongoing maintenance. This means that tight integrations of our technology are limited to the major players in the GIS industry. The era of web services changes everything as it provides the perfect collaboration framework for technology.
As a company that focuses on moving data, we are seeing the need for our solutions growing rapidly, particularly because our FME platform enables users and organizations to connect these various web services together.
While the technology is exciting – and it seems that every day there is a new announcement relating to web services, or cloud computing, etc. – the technology alone is not sufficient to deliver these new solutions. Future systems are becoming more and more complex; so to be successful, organizations are going to need to pull together parts from more suppliers. To prosper in this new era, companies themselves have to foster a culture that enables them to collaborate with a wide variety of other companies.
They must also recognize the huge value of their customers, who implement the systems. It is the customers who are working to solve the complex problems. It is the customers that are the experts. It is the customers that understand their problems and what tools they need.
In short, to be successful, software vendors need the following:
- Technology that lends itself to working with other technology
- A culture of working with other software providers to deliver a solution that cannot be delivered otherwise.
- A culture of partnership with users, which involves both understanding their needs and solving them. This is a huge asset for any software vendor, helping them deliver leading edge components that are necessary for the challenges of the future.
We at Safe continually strive to keep our focus and not get pulled in new directions or new markets. Fortunately, it is easy for us to figure out what we do: we focus on technology that is related to moving data! If there is one thing that all services, databases and applications need, it is data. Today, data is increasingly scattered not only across an organization but across the world. Helping organizations collaborate by connecting services, databases, and applications together is what FME – in both Desktop and Server – is all about.
Don MurrayDon is the co-founder and President of Safe Software. Safe Software was founded originally doing work for the BC Government on a project sharing spatial data with the forestry industry. During that project Don and other co-founder, Dale Lutz, realized the need for a data integration platform like FME. When Don’s not raving about how much he loves XML, you can find Don working with the team at Safe to take the FME product to the next level. You will also find him on the road talking with customers and partners to learn more about what new FME features they’d like to see.