What is our primary use case?
We work with ArcGIS for the desktop. ArcGIS is an online platform. The product is the main GIS (Geographic Information System) solution we are using. The most recent update is 10.7.1. It is used for extracting information of interest to location-based services. It does this by integrating digital maps with databases and extracting statistical information based on geography and different geographic levels. It has business applications in marketing and sales for companies that require statistical information based on geography. This is the whole idea of the services we provide.
What is most valuable?
The reporting features are very interesting and very important. Reporting along with geoprocessing. Several algorithms are embedded in the solution which help to produce reports. So geoprocessing algorithms and very rich reporting are the two main features I believe are most important.
What needs improvement?
I think that the interface and the importing from external data sources and external databases should be simplified a little bit. The product originates from the engineering world and it is doing more to target business users now. I believe that the user interface and the integration of maps with the external databases could be easier for less technical users. There are other platforms that are doing this better than ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) Maps for Office. Some products are more targeted towards business users. These models show that the integration of external databases with maps could be simplified more to appeal to those markets. This level of user-friendliness is the main thing that is required by business users.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been working with this solution for about 25 years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I have seen very, very few instances of instability. For all of the years that we have been using the product, we get updates and patches to fix the problems and bugs that are discovered. I would say that there were some cases with bugs in the past which caused instability, but not in the present. Now the product is quite stable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The licensing is per user for Arc GIS for desktop. Of course, if the licensing is per user, it is scalable. When you want to scale, you just buy another license. With our company, there are two users. Our clients have up to three users per customer.
How are customer service and technical support?
Because we are communicating with the distributor of ESRI in our territory, Milestone Data Systems, we contact the vendor and not directly to ESRI.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We previously used a different solution and several years ago we purchased and started using another product. The product was purchased by ESRI back in 2005, if I remember correctly. The name was Atlas GIS from Strategic Mapping. When it was sold to ESRI, it was incorporated into the product lines. So we use more than one product from the same company.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was straightforward. There is no problem with that.
What about the implementation team?
In fact, we are integrators and we do implementations for other people. If we need any help, the vendor in our area has support staff available in order to get us some help — if we really need it. Most of the time we do the installation and configurations by ourselves.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The product for desktop is purchased and we pay for the maintenance of the product and that is all. There are no additional costs for technical support which are included in the maintenance fees. The fee structure for the online product will be different.
What other advice do I have?
My advice to other users seeking this type of solution is that the product is very good and quite user-friendly. It could be improved in this sense of user-friendliness for a business user, but it is currently very good for the needs of more technical users and it is improving. It is a complete solution for those who want to examine the geographic implications of his or her queries. If someone needs to see data from the perspective of location, then it is a complete solution. The product offers everything that someone would need in a GIS solution and it can answer any question in terms of geographic dimensions.
On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate this product as an eight. If you consider all the aspects, it is a very good product that has areas where it can improve. I think eight is fair in my opinion, as it suggests this is a good product and leaves room for the improvements they should consider making.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?