Designing a software package for an office, where everyone has
computers of similar specifications and access to broadband, is one
thing. What Newgrove had to produce for the Post Office® was a GIS
software package that could integrate seamlessly with the Post
Office®'s central data warehouse, hooking easily into its document
management database. MapIT® and ExploreIT also had to work on any
computer, on dial-up as well as broadband. It had to be easily
understandable to people who may not have worked on anything more
complex than an Excel spreadsheet. At the initial consultation
stage, Stuart and Joel worked closely with Newgrove developers.
With considerable knowledge of web-mapping themselves, they
appreciated the opportunity to meet the people actually doing the
work, who were flexible and receptive to their requirements.
With the application now live and a solid platform to work from,
the Post Office® hopes to develop it further so that, for example,
local field users can run basic spatial queries rather than rely on
centralised resources for information. One area of concern is the
increased licence fees involved in licensing data for wider use.
The cost of moving from a small number of users working on a local
network to wider availability of data through the Internet can be
prohibitive. This, Stuart Hayes believes, is an issue the industry
needs to address.
As the project moves on to the next stage the hope is that its
user-friendly application will mean minimal staff training is
required - though Post Office Ltd will provide help where
necessary, and Newgrove is always at hand to offer back-up.
Whatever the detail of future technologies, one thing Stuart is
sure of is the potential benefits of the Newgrove system to the
vast Post Office® network and the advantages it will give to
"The whole point of this application is to maximise branch
sales opportunities. Armed with this tool, our people should be
able to effectively identify local market opportunities and the
potential they hold, helping to increase sales. It will allow Post
Office® branches to operate in a more informed way and will give
them more power and more opportunities to thrive."
Head of Network Planning at the Post Office