Tag Archives: GIS Project Planning

Equip Our Team with Operating Capability (Not Just Latest Technology)

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime Chinese Proverb




Similar to the proverb above, we all know that give a man a fast boat or an expensive fishing rod wouldn’t help if teaching him to fish is not part of the package. Yet this conventional wisdom is oftentimes being ignored in technology implementations. As a result of that, many good projects were subsequently abandoned because lacked of funding allocation for continuous maintenance and training.

Sounds familiar? While future proofing our technology equipment is important but we wouldn’t able to benefit much without continuous human resource development.  Although many current practices put Transfer of Technology (ToT) in initial project implementation but this one-off initiative oftentimes become the hairline crack that eventually sink the mightiest ship. The results: we often realized too late, spearheading human operating capability is still very much an on-going battle, long after acquiring the greatest technologies.

Among the reasons that warrant this on-going efforts by setting aside annual training budget are:-

  • People movement due to job transfer, retirement or new team members on-board
  • New technology versions/releases might cause previous workflow to be obsolete or irrelevant
  • New innovations/inventions that can be embedded to enhance efficiency and save time/cost
  • Take full advantage of latest configuration/integration capabilities

Formula to ensure continuous success of GIS implementation is to ensure both technology and operating capability is updated/maintained persistently. Equipping our team with the right operating capabilities deserved constant attention of all senior executives that want to make a difference.

When I was leading Esri Malaysia team, continuously equipping my team with relevant capabilities and guide them to excel in whatever they do is one of the most rewarding effort that propelled the company into spectacles growth trajectory. A trained and competent team is always more motivated, confident and committed to undertake new challenges. I suggest all senior executives shall put utmost emphasis on up-keeping operating capability for their team in order to fully leverage and maximize their ROI on technology investments.

This writer hopes to see more organizations will allocate annual training budget to equip their team with relevant operating capabilities. How about an acid test for all: “How much have we set aside our budget for operating capability training this year?”


Abandoned 1Malaysia Futsal Courts – Lesson for GIS Project Planning

Expecting IT system to continue operating indefinitely at optimum level without on-going operating expenditure (OPEX or OE) funding is just not realistic

Many IT facilities are in similar sad state of disrepair

Malaysia The Star daily recently reported that millions (of Ringgit or RM) go down the drain when most of the 1Malaysia futsal court facilities around the country were left unattended for long time and is in a sad state of disrepair. It was reported the crew visited more than 100 of 1Malaysia futsal courts around Selangor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Perak and Kedah. Many were found neglected with some clearly never having been maintained since the day they were constructed.

According to the paper there are 2200 (later was corrected by official there are about 646 futsal courts and the rest are multi-purpose halls) 1Malaysia futsal cum basketball courts that have been built around the country for the community at about RM150,000 (app. US$46,000) each since 2009 as part of Youth and Sport Ministry’s noble initiative to promote futsal, basketball and other sports among youngsters.

This interesting report caught my attention and also sparked some discussions on social media. I’m not a futsal player and did not really check any of these facilities. However if we ponder a while and look around us, it is not difficult to uncover many IT projects/facilities that faced the similar faith.

Ironically (for the benefits of those that are unaware), any facilities (regardless of futsal courts or IT labs with hardware and software) need ongoing up-keeping to ensure the facility is always in proper working condition. From IT perspective, this refers to maintenance or upgrade of computer hardware, storage, software version, etc. It does not take a genius to figure out that a sudden rush of adrenaline to allocate development expenditure (DE) funding to build but forget about the on-going operation expenditure (OE) funding is the culprit behind these failures. Initiating an IT capital expenses (CAPEX) project without proper care given to aspect of on-going ownership, managing, maintaining and operating cost (OPEX) is not sustainable. Bottom line, expecting the IT system to continue operating indefinitely at optimum level but without on-going maintenance allocation is just not realistic.

Back to the 1Malaysia futsal court issue, according to the daily,  there is no plan by the Sport and Youth Ministry to repair the damaged courts, as it will cost about RM18.7 million annually and the ministry failed to get funding from Economic Planning Unit (EPU) for the repairs.

Again this is nothing new to us. As IT savvy Malaysian, we are used to see many agencies have to abandon their aged IT systems after a once upon a time glorious official launch of the then state-of-the-art system due to lacked of maintenance. No wonder we are famous with first world infrastructure but third world maintenance. Malaysia Boleh ! (Loosely translated as Malaysia Can Do, or Malaysia Capable – a common slogan in Malaysia to instil never give up attitude).