May 01, 2012

Small and Medium Sized Geospatial Enterprises Critical to the Value Chain

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In the geospatial sector, small and medium sized enterprises (SME) are the backbone of innovation, creating specialized offerings that have made the industry what it is today. Whether providing a solution that integrates into a larger organization’s offering, or creating new markets with completely unique products, it is safe to say that SMEs are one of the key reasons we have had such tremendous growth over the past decade.

I was recently asked to offer comment for an article on the value of SMEs in Geospatial World Magazine, and wanted to use this post as a platform to further elaborate on this topic.

If we rewind ten years, many of today’s leading players were once disjointed start-ups that brought about game-changing innovations that defined the models we adhere to today. Many of these companies have gone through acquisitions or grown organically and acquired others. These organizations have thrived by understanding and meeting a true market need. And, as I have discussed before on this blog, geospatial solutions will continue to address real-time needs for any global situation.

However, SMEs are going to be faced with new growth challenges in the coming years as many believe the sector may now be experiencing a downturn – mainly due to the proposed defense cuts. In addition, it will be up to the SMEs to not only develop innovations that are in tune with new user needs, but also uncover non-traditional market opportunities beyond defense and intelligence.

In addition, SMEs must not lose sight of the end user. Acquiring companies are attracted to certain smaller organizations because they fulfill a niche need that they cannot meet. It is imperative for SMEs to continually solve customer problems with leading-edge technologies. If the focus is only on being acquired, then SMEs can quickly divert away from the proper R&D that will make them a ripe target to be purchased.

Without a doubt, we are facing some interesting times ahead and the most inventive will continue to lead the pack. Geospatial solutions will continue to be the foundation for all global decision-making – whether in response to a natural disaster or for managing assets dispersed throughout a geographical location. I look forward to seeing SMEs continue to be the shining light that brings geospatial solutions to near ubiquity.

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