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[PODCAST]: Geospatial Technology on a Global Level

In this episode of HxGN Radio, Hexagon Geospatial Vice President Claudio Mingrino discusses nurturing global strategic partnerships. To listen to more HxGN Radio episodes, visit our channels on iTunesSoundCloud or Stitcher.

Welcome to HXGN radio, this is your host Veronica Miller. In this podcast we talk with Claudio Mingrino how Hexagon Geospatial nurtures global strategic partnerships, especially in the areas of defense and intelligence and large geospatial enterprise systems. Welcome to HXGN radio.

CM: Thank you, welcome. Thank you.

VM: Can you tell us a little bit about Hexagon Geospatial and your role there?

CM: Hexagon Geospatial is a new division created two years and a half ago with the precise mission to take ownership of geospatial technologies that Hexagon—and Intergraph before—have developed for 45 years, and that is a very important asset for the Hexagon group. So the geospatial technology that has been developed and now managed by Hexagon Geospatial. So Hexagon Geospatial is focused in developing the best of breed technologies, products and platforms for fulfilling the needs of several market industries and for serving the partners—internal partners and external partners—to Hexagon Geospatial that can deliver product solutions, projects, applications. Best of breed, best in class applications and solutions for their customers.

My role is Vice President for the global strategic partnership. What does this mean? It means that for fulfilling the needs of important market segments, we have to complement our strategic world with historical partners of Intergraph and Hexagon Geospatial in the area of value added reseller or application developers with strategic agreements with larger partners that are able to fulfill the needs of large projects and programs. The specific vertical industries and can give us the possibility to expand our footprint in the market accordingly.

VM: And with that, since Hexagon Geospatial’s inception, partners have always been important. Can you tell us what you mean by strategic partners and how these relationships are different?

CM: The relationship with strategic planners is different by nature because historically the geospatial companies—or better the GIS companies—in the past have always addressed the market either in direct way making projects, or engaging partners that were developing the point solution for a specific market segment, but in a limited way. Now the geospatial technologies and platform are needed in different sizes and different way of being implemented by an enormous amount of users. All the users are potentially users of geospatial technologies in different ways.

But in particular, there is a need of a leader, or better the leader in the geospatial industries as Hexagon Geospatial, as Hexagon is in general. Hexagon is always focused on geospatial, on location, on understanding “where” and “how” and “how it will be” and “what will be” in the territory of a specific thing. We need to partner with some important subjects that are either complementing our technologies with other technologies—this is the case with ERP system producers, database producers, or other data producers, or information producers, census producers. These are the complimentary strategic partnership. Airbus Defense and Space, in this case, is one example. SAP is another example. We need to work with these strategic partner for addressing specific needs of customers that need to integrate geospatial technology with other complementary technologies.

Another kind of strategic partners are the IT companies, major IT companies and system integrators. These companies are large by nature, they can address globally important markets that we could never enter in a direct way or with the historical partner network. They have the capability to integrate our technologies and our platform or to use our platforms for developing larger enterprise systems.

So the difference between the historical channel (that remains very, very important and is strategic for us for penetrating specific markets) and the strategic partners is both that these partners are big, are complex by nature, in terms of several aspects: procurement, technology knowledge, domain expertise, organization, multi-thousand-people organization, and that they have a specific policies, they are very expert in specific domains, so they need a specific attention. So this is a role of the global strategic partnership team that I’m proud to manage. Both to grow strategic relations with some specific important and large partners for penetrating large programs and allowing them to use our technology as a foundation for their internal user and for their customers.

VM: And on that note what sort of customers and industries would benefit from this type of strategic partnership?

CM: Let me say that the answer could be very easy because I could say easily that “all the customers and all the users.” But not just because of the relationship with the strategic partner we also have to clarify that with the new mission of the strategy of Hexagon Geospatial. So driven by Hexagon corporation that understood that Hexagon Geospatial was needed for addressing specific market needs. We can now with multiple kind of channels, with the variety of our technology, our platform because we are the only, a unique organization in the world in this market that can fulfill from A to Z all the needs of a geospatial-based application or solution.

With the policies that we have in place, with the flexibility that we have in deploying the technology and the platforms, we can deploy the historical COTS server or desktop products and we can deploy services. Data is a service. We are the broker of the largest and most important data provider in the world. Once again I would like to mention Airbus Defense and Space, but also TomTom, HERE, Planet Labs, Digital Globe.

And the technologies that we can deploy on the cloud. We can provide services on the cloud instead of providing the historical products that are licensed in the usual way with this characteristic with this mission and implementation because Hexagon Geospatial has demonstrated that is not just a vision, but we have implemented this. In two years we did what usually a company in a transformation period does in decades, because we have not been scared and afraid in doing this. Maintaining our customer base and our leadership in the historical products but also engaging in new adventures, in new challenges for the new technologies with this characteristic, we can address all the markets.

Obviously there are markets that are short term and give short term results because they are already using and exploiting geospatial technologies in markets that are very innovative. Markets like retail, banking and finance, and mobility. Where the geolocation is very important but the usual products, the standard product that usually the other companies are promoting instead of Hexagon Geospatial, even if Hexagon Geospatial is leader technologically in this area, they can fulfill. So we can now fulfill all these kind of needs. This market will give results in a longer period of time but they immediately understood we are the unique provider that can fulfill their needs.

VM: And what makes Hexagon Geospatial’s offering so unique?

CM: It’s the simplest answer that I can give to this question, because we are used to justifying and to demonstrating it to our partners, and so indirectly to our users. That we are unique. We are unique for several reasons.

The first reason is because no other company in the world and this is a thing that makes us so proud, so committed and engaged. All the employees in Hexagon Geospatial are realizing this. When you work for a company that is really the market leader. You are very proud of what you do every day. You are part of history. So the first thing that makes us unique is the variety and the broadness of our work portfolios. Not one portfolio, portfolios because as I said before we can supply our platforms and technologies in different ways. But we are covering also from A to Z all the needs of the geospatial industry. I won’t go into detail because geospatial users they know that it goes from data acquisition to data dissemination. We are the only one. And this is technologically the thing that makes us unique.

Then there are another two things that make us unique. One is our mission and our business model. We are indirect only. We will never compete with our partners. So our partners recognize immediately that we are serving them with the best of breed technologies and platforms. We are not competitors. We are partners—real partners—you know, very often people underestimate the value of the word partner. What is partner? Partner is being really together in an adventure. You have a partner in sport, you have a partner in your life, you have a partner in business. Being partners means share the same investment, share the same mission, share ideas, share the same commitment and realizing together success. Our partners are our long hand in market. So they are really part of the family. And we’re in a private company. Understand that the former supplier of technology is now a partner in business so the level of commitment and investment is much higher. So our partners see us as a unique provider for this.

And the third thing is a result of the first two things—the technology and the business model: that is our capability to deploy our platform in different ways. Not only from the technology viewpoint, deploy also from the procurement viewpoint, from the financial viewpoint, from the economic viewpoint. We are always able, thanks to the flexibility of our offering, to find the right business model and the right financial model for our partners. And this gives them confidence that nothing is impossible. Yesterday Ola in his keynote said what is impossible is possible if we make it possible. Because all the “ifs” are realized inside Hexagon Geospatial.

VM: On that note, speaking of space, when you think of a large scale customer the defense and intelligence comes to mind. How will Hexagon Geospatial serve these types of customers?

CM: The defense and intelligence been always a segment that has been very, very important. Both for ERDAS, the company that has been merged into Intergraph and for Intergraph in the past and now for Hexagon Geospatial. The defense and intelligence customer has been always strategic for us in giving us a lot of satisfaction—let me say satisfaction, I don’t want to say money, but satisfaction counts, too.  We provided them ultimate solutions and so they are very, very important. And now inside Hexagon Geospatial we have decided that the defense and intelligence market is the one of the most important segments that we will follow if not the most important. I don’t want to say the most important one to compare it with other market segments that are very strategic like Agriculture, like Mining, like Infrastructure Management, like Mobility and Transportation, or Smart Cities, or digital cities and so on. But the defense and intelligence is one of the most important markets. Because the defense and intelligence people and customers, they are very committed to what they do. They protect lives.

So we have a plan both from the technical and commercial viewpoint for even expanding the already very broad capabilities that we have for fulfilling their needs in terms of geospatial technology usage. With specific attention in working with some of them, the case of our Intergraph Government Solutions company that is using our technology for developing geointelligence in the cloud is a typical example. For fulfilling their needs and continue complementing our technology with additional functionalities, additional platform, and additional defense and intelligence target solutions for fulfilling their needs. But not in a direct way, as I repeat—with the larger partners that are addressing this markets and large programs.

VM: And apart from defense and intelligence, where do you see the greatest potential outreach for geospatial technology?

CM: The answer is not simple because we have to differentiate between the short term potential, or better, realities in this case and the mid- to long-term potentials. There are short term potentials are obvious: the customers that are using geospatial technologies and geospatial technologies are the core functionalities for their job, infrastructure, management, infrastructure building, mobility and transportation, public safety and security. And obviously all the things related to the territory management: agriculture, mining, and urban planning, smart cities. These are already markets that have very high potential for us. Especially the areas of agriculture, smart cities, infrastructure, mobility, are very important.

But we are looking ahead, we are looking farther, and with the new platforms and the new technologies that we developed—we are not developing, we already developed—and are on the market. So the new M.App Portfolio, the possibility to develop agile applications, geospatial business intelligence applications. Very agile, very modern, very customer- and user-oriented, solving real problems. But with the right scalability because you use the application for how long you want, you need, and you can pay. We can address other market segments that are very rich and are very important. Real estate, health care, finance, banking, they are markets that never considered the geospatial technologies. It’s so important also because expensive and very complicated but now we can put a piece of geospatial technology everywhere. And we are talking in this case of large markets. Because you know the banking and finance or health care are very large markets. They need geospatial components, geolocation and business intelligence and we can fulfill also those markets. So in the medium term, I don’t say long term, with the new M.App Portfolio, we can fulfill also those markets and I see them as very promising.

VM: So with that in mind, what is next for Hexagon Geospatial?

CM: Just continue with what we started. The last 2 years and a half have been the most exciting years in my career. And I talked with my colleagues and my colleagues are all very excited and committed because this is a real—a new thing; challenging, but also very exciting, and we feel really happy with what we have delivered. What we have to deliver. We have not finished our mission. And the mission is accomplished for several areas of our structuring of this new division, but we have a long road to go before becoming perfect. Our target is becoming perfect.

Another target is we are already leaders in technology.  We are already leader as a functionalities provision, but there is no doubt these aren’t objective things, cannot be put in discussion. But we need to work more with the partners for engaging them even more, training them even more, coaching them even more. Activating real trusted partnership with the larger partners. And so this what’s next. What’s next is increasing furthermore our capability to support the partners. And being sales force. Being our committed sales force. Long term committed sales force. This is what’s next. So we are working on progressing in this, improving this, in communicating this. Our marketing department did a fantastic job in communicating this to the market, we have to improve even more. And this is what next for us in geospatial. Being even more committed to the partners.

VM: Well we’re certainly excited to see the results.

CM: Yeah the results are coming, they already came in several cases and more are coming. But we are used to success because we have been always a leader. Even if sometimes we didn’t know but we have always been the leader so now we are really convinced and we know what is the potential for us. Our partners know what is the potential. It’s very simple, just believe in the fact that we are the leaders and we have to show it to the market.

VM: Well thank you so much for stopping by we really appreciate it. To our listeners you can learn more about Hexagon Geospatial at Tune into more episodes from HXGN radio on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher Radio. Thanks for listening.