ESRI maps out enterprise opportunities through iWay

While Information Builders Inc. was celebrating its 30th birthday in Las Vegas earlier this month, the company’s wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary did some celebrating of its own after signing a reseller agreement with

a Toronto-based provider of geographic information systems (GIS) software.

The deal calls for ESRI Canada to sell IBI’s iWay software integration technology and WebFocus business intelligence software in Canada.

“Their tools, frankly, have a lot of appeal and they’re a real force to be reckoned with in the Canadian marketplace,” said Robert Eckersley, partner and alliance manager for IBI Canada.

“Obviously, having them re-sell all of our technology is a fantastic thing,” he added.

ESRI Canada has 8,000 client organizations throughout the country with a total of 50,000 seats of software. It has a broad client base of public and private sector companies, including all three levels of government along with resource, oil and gas, financial and insurance companies.

Chris North, ESRI Canada’s director of technology and client support, said ESRI Canada entered the partnership because of the 280 adapters available from iWay Software, a subsidiary of IBI. The iWay adapter technology will make it much easier for ESRI Canada to integrate GIS into the enterprise systems of its clients, he noted.

“GIS is pretty tricky stuff to integrate,” North said. “It’s not linking fields of information to other fields of information. It’s fields of information linked to points, lines and polygons in a spatial database. It’s not trivial stuff to do.”

At the IBI summit earlier this month, CEO Gerald Cohen said the company has leveraged its ownership of iWay software with the release of WebFocus 7, the latest version of its flagship business intelligence product. He noted it’s the first time iWay adapters have been integrated into WebFocus, adding the 280 iWay adapters fit in with with IBI’s strategy of providing a savings mechanism to enterprises.

“Business intelligence software should be saving enterprises a billion dollars a year,” he said.

“The only way to save big is to integrate BI with an important operational system that accounts for a lot of organizational costs. Our priority is to provide new or improved customer experiences while giving them the tool to save on operational costs,” Cohen added.

Prior to its agreement with IBI Canada, ESRI Canada was projecting annual growth rates of 10-12 per cent over the next five years. North, however, thinks those growth figures will increase now that ESRI has access to the iWay adapters.

“iWay adapters are going to make (business) grow even faster because it’s going to take down barriers to integration,” he said.

“You have to keep in mind, that 10 per cent growth each year (is projected for) the traditional specialized user of GIS. As soon as you start rolling it across all aspects of an enterprise, you can see those rates of growth go through the roof,” North added.

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