The Web GIS-centric™ Open Platform


Recently published in ArcNews, Esri outlined how ArcGIS is a system of engagement. Geoffrey A. Moore, the author of the best seller Crossing the Chasm, is attributed with first articulating the concept of system of engagement. A core premise of system of engagement is that ubiquitous Internet access, mobile computing, and consumerization of IT (innovation arising in the consumer market sets the expectations for end users of business and governmental enterprise systems) are the drivers for change. The “digital generation” desires easy and intuitive access anytime, anywhere. This is easily seen with the demand for iOS and Android apps.

The traditional enterprise system is a repository of authoritative data, or system of record, that supports an organization’s critical business processes. Moore makes an important distinction that system of engagement does not replace or make obsolete a system of record. Rather, his emphasis is that system of engagement “overlays and complements” an organization’s investment in a system of record driven by web-based access, usability (ease of use), and collaboration (openness). Esri makes the same important distinction. “The ArcGIS platform is in a unique position: it is both a system of record and a system of engagement.” With ArcGIS, Cityworks becomes both a system of record and a system of engagement for public asset management.


A core premise of the Cityworks GIS-centric approach is that the ArcGIS geodatabase is the organization’s best and most up-to-date authoritative data repository for local government assets. When responding to a request from a citizen, knowing what and where matters. Cityworks builds on this foundation to track the request to resolution, including resource use, and maintains a historical record of the responses. The historical information provides a data lens for magnitude and frequency.

Cityworks and ArcGIS together form a foundational, core system of record for local government public asset management. Data can be visualized in a map for making better-informed decisions, now and for the future. Maps are a particularly good medium for making the system of engagement come alive. “Nearly anyone can look at a map and quickly grasp complex information. . . . trends and spatial relationships.” 1 But not just any map. The essence of the Cityworks GIS-centric approach has always been to leverage and broaden the use of ArcGIS for public asset management. A local government organization’s response to a request by a citizen always means first correctly identifying what and where. With ArcGIS as the authoritative asset repository, there is no need to maintain a redundant asset repository.

We understand the drivers for change in enterprise systems. End user expectations influenced by ubiquitous Internet access, mobile computing, consumerization of IT, and collaboration and openness are propelling enterprise systems beyond a system of record, to a system of engagement. With ArcGIS, Cityworks is committed to being a part of the system of engagement for local government. We have always seen maps as a better way, but not just any map.

The essence of GIS-centric has always been to leverage and broaden the use of ArcGIS. We are the original and first GIS-centric system designed to leverage ArcGIS as the authoritative asset data repository. Together, ArcGIS and Cityworks are the system of record for local government public asset management. Overlaying and complementing this core is the ArcGIS system of engagement that Cityworks is a part of—a Web GIS-centric open-platform system of record and system of engagement.