Collaborating to Break Bottlenecks

Client : FCSAmerica

“We appreciated GIS Workshop’s professionalism and expertise. The trust and understanding built over our 10 year relationship was invaluable. We are a great team.”

-Kirk Manker, VP Chief Appraiser at Farm Credit Services of America

The Challenge

Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) is based in Omaha, Nebraska, and provides agricultural-related financial services in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Kansas. FCSAmerica is a part of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of lending institutions focused on agricultural-related enterprises across the country. FCSAmerica has a large team of Appraisers and Financial Officers located throughout their five-state region; these teams are responsible for valuing real estate property, requesting and completing appraisals, moving clients through the loan process, and providing on-site field support for customers. With such a large network of clients and potential clients comes a huge amount of data. For FCSAmerica, much of this data is spread across multiple databases and locations and is not always easy or convenient to access by staff in the office or in the field.

 

GIS Workshop’s Solution

GIS Workshop recognized the disparate data and lack of access as a bottleneck that could be solved through the creation of a WebGIS – a web-based spatial geographic information system. GISW and FCSAmerica agreed to collaborate on building a proof-of-concept website using GISW’s GIS and development expertise with FCSAmerica’s vision and internal process knowledge. First, GISW developed a plan to create a mobile-friendly website that would aggregate several datasets and resources in a single, easy-to-use mapping application accessible anywhere, anytime, and on any device to FCSAmerica staff and Management. Second, GISW would create a set of application tools in the WebGIS to streamline workflow processes of Appraisers and Financial Officers.

“After a short conversation, GIS Workshop provided a great vision for what a mobile GIS application could look like for FCSAmerica and Frontier Farm Credit. We are excited to bring a mobile GIS application into our organization.”

-Kirk Manker, VP Chief Appraiser at Farm Credit Services of America

An example of one of the tools GISW built was a custom Automated Valuation Modeling (AVM) app that provided a preliminary valuation of properties based on comparable properties and soil quality. Combined with the aggregated and visualized datasets, this tool has the potential to remove several hours of data collection and manual valuation work. Another application GISW incorporated into the WebGIS was Mobile Resource Management, which enables staff and management to track real-time locations of critical resources and better allocate these resources to maximize FCSAmerica’s ability to interact with their clients face-to-face.

 

The Benefit

The collaboration between both teams allowed for a smooth development process and a finished product that met the need for a mobile-friendly and easy-to-use website. Kristen Phillips, Appraisal Systems Manager, says “This was a great example of agile development. We were provided updated versions throughout the week to test and provide feedback. Both FCSAmerica and GIS Workshop were open to ideas, feedback, and suggestions.” By working together, GISW could propose solutions in direct response to FCSAmerica feedback and operational insight. With frequent feedback and discussions, GISW was able to construct a WebGIS specific to the needs of FCSAmerica.

The WebGIS solution addressed 10 separate and distinct instances of FCSAmerica staff having to spend time gathering and processing data. By aggregating the data spatially in a WebGIS platform, FCSAmerica can spend it’s time doing what it does best: serving farmers and ranchers and providing them access to the proper capital financing to continue growing our food and dairy supply and ensuring a productive agricultural system for generations to come.