A short story of why and how Arkit was rebranded to FIeldshare.
When you’ve been running a company for several years, you learn things along the way. In doing so, the products and services your company initially offered a change to reflect your customers’ ever-changing needs and your improved understanding of those customers. With an incredible amount of hard work and a fair bit of luck, you survive the process and get to define who your company is and what it offers the world. I like to think of Fieldshare as the outcome of such a journey.
During our ten-year journey, Fieldshare has needed to change course and evolve. A decade filled with challenges will inevitably force you to rethink your approach to things. With each turn, we’ve been able to come up with new solutions to meet the changing needs of our customers. We’re Fieldshare, and we’d like to tell you our story.
To paraphrase Prince, we were the company formerly known as Arkit. Before we were able to find our identity as Fieldshare, we had already begun to outgrow the Arkit brand. There was a time in limbo.
Arkit was started because I saw that geolocation and spatial data (GIS data for short) needed to be managed in a better way. During my time as an environmental engineer, everyone used to capture and manage that GIS data with spreadsheets. But, whatever convenience came from using this ubiquitous piece of office software, it was coupled with considerable challenges in categorizing, collating, and maintaining data in a way that was easily accessible. Let me explain further.
GIS data is complex, and it typically requires a technician to maintain it. These technicians have traditionally chosen spreadsheet software as their main tool. Why? Well, partly because spreadsheets function like your kitchen junk drawer in storing data and because it’s already available on every computer. Unfortunately, this arrangement has resulted in expensive bottlenecks in productivity, in addition to being a well-known source of frustration in the industry. I created Arkit to be a better alternative: a map-based collaboration tool designed to make GIS data accessible to everyone. Team members could work on the same data together without relying on a GIS technician, thereby streamlining the process.
Our philosophy for Arkit was and is two-fold: flexibility and control. Our platform needed to be flexible enough to accept, analyze, and manipulate GIS data while giving our users a high level of control over that information. We felt this specialization was the best approach to differentiate ourselves from the competition. Art was our first successful foray into the market and would serve to be the foundation of what was to come.
What about the fact that Arkit was this cool, fully-capable app designed for handling GIS data? Our customers loved having a lightweight mapping software they could edit themselves, but what turned out to be critical was their ability to structure and organize data and data workflows however they wanted. Filtering through multiple overlapping systems became paramount.
At this point, I felt that Arkit wasn’t just in the process of having more features added to it, but the entire platform was on the cusp of a massive transformation. The questions before me were, “Where are we transitioning to? What are we becoming? And what are we supposed to offer to the world?”
Because our platform was founded on the dual concepts of flexibility and control, we now had a chance to take them further. We would create something that allowed our clients to consolidate all types of unique data while continuing to give them full control over how that data was managed. We would transition away from software centered primarily around GIS data and towards a new platform of comprehensive data management.
If GIS and maps had been the basis for our identity up until now, what would be our basis going into the future? The answer, thanks to the feedback from our clients, was obvious: data. Data access for fieldwork industries and providing the ability to share information without losing control of that information became our new raison d’etre.
Data is wide and diverse. Every collection of data reflects each of our customers’ unique identities and goals. While planning and designing the new platform, it quickly became apparent that our identity had to change as well.
The name Arkit was meant as a play on Noah’s Ark. A “boat” that could accommodate large amounts of GIS information. “Ark” also served as a nod to one of the pioneers of GIS mapping systems, ArcGIS. Having decided to reorient away from maps and toward data, we needed to move beyond the familiar in our rebrand. We wanted to change our name to let the world know that we were going to break down the barriers to sharing all the complex data fieldwork produces, from maps to daily reports to costs to photos.
Thus, Fieldshare was born.
Our new name reflects the marriage of two concepts. The word ‘field’ describes a type of land, an area of expertise, and a cell on a spreadsheet. “Share” represents communication, access, and connection.
Our vision at Fieldshare is to empower companies by giving them the ability to manage all types of data with a platform that goes beyond the confines of spreadsheets. We build strong, close relationships with our customers to truly understand their needs. With that knowledge, we blend Fieldshare’s standard software with customized features to create effective data management solutions uniquely tailored for each of our customers.
Hopefully, the story of how we became Fieldshare has illustrated the importance we hold for creating strong relationships with our clients. They’ve always been fundamental to our development as a company. To maintain with this tradition, Fieldshare has developed an innovative approach to onboarding new customers. Rather than follow what other companies do by providing pre-set templates, how-to articles, and recorded video support, Fieldshare designs a custom-tailored success plan for each new customer and then comes alongside them with live support until they’re fully up and running. This coaching methodology makes it possible for customers to make better choices based on clear benefits, as well as understand their options when a trade-off becomes necessary.
Fieldshare’s direct-relationship approach is in stark contrast to the impersonal support of other companies. Time and again we’ve heard stories from prospective customers who’ve told us how lost they felt in trying to implement previous software solutions for their company. This sentiment was often due to a lack of personalized support as well as help with customization. This left them no choice but to continue using to a large extent the original software they had intended to replace, just because it was more convenient. In the end, the return on their investment in a new kit was never fully realized. We at Fieldshare never want this outcome to happen with our valued customers. We want to give you maximum return for your investment.
We’re Fieldshare. This is who we are. This is what we offer to the world.