In our Leaders Forum, we ask experts to look ahead into 2023. Today we talk careers with Ruby Donaldson.
Ruby Donaldson is MD and part-owner of Locus Australia, a data integration solution and technology consultancy specialising in FME technology as a Platinum Partner of Safe Software. For more than 13 years, she has driven the company’s growth strategy throughout the Asia-Pacific.
Is the geospatial sector in good shape to help solve the needs of the nation, e.g. climate change, renewable energy, infrastructure projects?
The Australian geospatial industry has enormous potential to contribute to solving all the challenges of the day. But buy-in must come from the top. The collective value of the sector’s contribution can only be realised if it is working within a regulatory framework with a clear mandate for change. An example of this would be the commencement of the Climate Change Act. If the government is serious about these issues, it needs to incentivise the industry to work together, and create a fusion of knowledge from its best experts to better understand and address complex issues that affect us all.
What are the most important challenges facing the sector?
One of the most critical challenges is the human talent shortage. This problem is not unique to our region, but is exacerbated by some of our best people, particularly those with a security background, being lured overseas. Yet I believe there are options available to slow that decline, including the introduction of more internships and graduate development programs, supported by a career progression pathway that embodies a flexible, digital-first work ethic. I honestly think this problem is temporary — I transitioned from the airline industry to geospatial technology sales, and have an old colleague from those days who has just completed his Diploma of Science in Geographical Sciences and landed a new role in the industry. And I’ve never seen so many girls, my daughter included, who are passionate about science and technology through the STEM programs offered in schools. People actually know what I’m talking about now when I’m asked what I do — something which, for me, suggests a real shift has occurred.
Which technologies or innovations are going to make their mark in 2023?
I believe enterprise-scale automation has finally arrived. For many businesses, the pandemic accelerated technology adoption and automation. Manual data processing tasks and processes are increasingly being off-loaded and we’re seeing customers take automation best-practice principles from geospatial departments and applying them right across the business. We know new technologies such as AI, AR, ML and robotic process automation can add a lot of value in this space, but how many organisations have the systems and infrastructure in place to take advantage right now? I think we’re still at the beginning, but with lots of momentum building for 2023.
What’s on your wish list for 2023?
Enhanced co-operation between industry and regulatory sectors to deliver business outcomes based on clear goals, while removing bureaucratic processes that stifle creativity. The demand for high-quality geospatial data is increasing, but in some industry sectors the access to that data is limited due to an intrinsic way of working.
What are your customers and collaborators looking for in 2023?
Continuous improvement in business enablement. To thrive, our customers rely on actionable insights derived from good quality data, but the qualitative value of that data can only be realised when it is complete, trustworthy and accessible to all who need it. In the supply and support of FME, Locus is providing a toolset that delivers enablement at a technology level, but we are also very much driven by the customer’s value mindset.
What are your company’s plans or priorities for 2023?
Locus is fortunate to have experienced both stability and growth through the COVID years. The FME footprint continues to expand globally and our ability to connect with each and every customer in a meaningful way remains at the forefront of all our engagements. Continuous investment in our own skill development as well as the symbiotic partnership with Safe Software (the makers of FME) remains a focus. Customers are leaning on us more and more to design, deliver and support complex environments, driven by increased security concerns and mandates.
This article was first published in Issue 116 (Dec/Jan 2022-23) of Position magazine.
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