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Do you need an “internal champion” for successful GIS?

I recently attended a webinar where a speaker said that it was great that they had a senior manager as an “internal champion” so that their spatial project could get approved and funded.

Do people still think that way?

In my experience, an “internal champion” often has a negative impact, because a person known to be a strong GIS enthusiast (ie the champion) often has his/her opinions not taken seriously because they are thought to be “on a crusade for GIS” without recognising reality.

One of the roles of the GIS Manager or Business Analyst is to understand the business as viewed by management and CEO. He/she then needs to interpret the business requirements and develop a business plan in the BUSINESS CONTEXT that the CEO understands how it will help the business.

That is, a strategy for spatial must be business driven, not technology driven.  And it should be in “business speak” and not using technology TLAs.

If there is a strong business need for a spatial environment, then it should “stand on its own two feet” and be supported by a valid and realistic business case.

Otherwise, it should not happen.

Nothing else, and certainly no “internal champion”.

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