Geomatics Entrepreneur – Cardinalus Corporate Consulting
This is the second interview in our new series on geomatics entrepreneurs. GoGeomatics sat down with Dennis Nazarenko President at Cardinalus Corporate Consulting in Ottawa.
Dennis, we are pleased to meet you and welcome to the GoGeomatics Career Blog. Let’s get started.
What were the biggest challenges when starting this new venture and how did you overcome them?
The initial challenge was to make people aware that I had started Cardinalus and to present what it was that we had to offer – basically building an engine for promotion and lead generation. Obviously a key starting point was my own contacts but I found that in many respects I had let my network languish over the years. It wasn’t that I ignored it – just that I was not very committed to keeping in regular contact with people I had worked with or otherwise come in contact with over a 25 year career. So the first step was to resuscitate my network of contacts.
What is the Cardinalus mission statement?
Cardinalus’ mission is to further the application of new technologies by providing business guidance to either technology developers or potential users of technology.
Have you been in business long? How have your structured your operations?
Cardinalus has been in business since early 2008. The initial plan was to keep it small, pursuing work that leveraged my personal experience. However over the few years the company has been in existence, we have encountered opportunities that require knowledge and skills outside my particular domain. Collaboration with other experts on a project basis has allowed us to bring more expertise to our clients than would have been possible otherwise. At the same time, Cardinalus can maintain is small, focused structure.
Can you tell us a little something about your clients. What are they looking for from you? How do you help them?
My clients are either experts in some technology or organizations looking to gain understanding or implement technologies within their business that they have limited knowledge of. In the former case, they are looking for support in the areas of business planning, strategic market analysis, assistance in defining and launching a new product, that sort of thing. These clients may or may not be in the geomatics sector. The other group of clients typically is looking for knowledge or advice about options. These clients are most often looking for input to geomatics related questions. For them I am able to draw on my experience in the field as well as my network of contacts who likely have far more expertise in specific areas of geomatics. We can then help the client to look at things like the business case for incorporating geomatics technology into their business, the tradeoffs between various technology options, operational implementation, etc.
Who has Cardinalus been working with?
Our clients include companies in the geomatics sector (aerial photography, remote sensing, GIS, and web mapping companies). We also work with companies using geomatics data and technology in the telecommunications, financial and software industries. We have done some work with not-for-profit organizations looking to leverage geospatial technologies to better serve their clients.
What has been the most challenging aspect of moving from the working world to working for yourself?
The most challenging aspect has been balancing business development and actual paying work – ensuring that the work pipeline is being fed at the same time paying work is being done. In a small organization one has to wear both hats.
You have a blog of your own. Can you tell us about it and what your goals are there?
From a Cardinalus perspective, I want people to engage with us. I am hopeful that as we engage, there will be opportunities for us to do business together. For Cardinalus, the blog is a tool for us to share meaningful information that will help people understand how we might add value to their business. The blog is not intended to be the source of all the latest developments in the geomatics industry but rather to share some of the things either we are working on or interested in. The target audience is two fold (probably some people would tell me I need to focus better) – those who are developing technology and are looking for ways to build, expand or improve their business and those who might be trying to figure out how geomatics technology can be leveraged within their business practice.
How have you seen the geomatics industry in Canada change over the course of your work experience?
I think the industry has matured. We continue to have strong technology companies that are innovating in the areas of software, hardware development, data collection and processing but we have also seen an expansion in the broader application of geomatics technology outside the r&d lab into operational environments.
How do you feel about the future of the geomatics industry in Canada? What are the big changes you see taking place in the near and the far term?
The geomatics industry in Canada is part of a global industry that is changing very rapidly these days. Canadians have demonstrated historical leadership in geomatics but there is a lot of interesting technology development going on elsewhere. There is a level at which as a country and as an industry we need to decide whether collectively we want to strive for continued leadership in this sector. If we do, then a concerted effort by industry, government and academia is necessary. At another level, there are incredibly bright, energetic people in our business who will be at the forefront of the geomatics world regardless of our collective decisions. Some of these people are emerging not out of the traditional geomatics world but out of IT, business and social media worlds. A case in point is Adarsh Pallian founder of Geotoko – a service for delivering location based content. His background is not traditional GIS, remote sensing or whatever but he is building tools that are fundamentally geomatics based. He participates in the future of Canadian geomatics.
Where are you now in your business planning and implementation?
Three years have gone by very quickly. I still feel Cardinalus is relatively immature as a business. I would like to see business grow in Canada but I am also looking to expand business outside Canada.
What advice do you have to share with our members in regards to starting their own venture in geomatics?
This is an exciting time in the geomatics world. There is a lot going on. That can be both exciting and daunting. I think there is room for new ideas and innovation in this space and Canadians can be as successful as anyone else. At the same time, I think enthusiasm has to be balance by sober analysis and planning. If you are interested in starting a new venture, think through the business as best you can. At some level a new venture needs to make business sense. Decide what your goals are, take a hard look at what it will take to achieve them and then set out a plan for yourself.
We would like to thank Dennis Nazarenko for taking the time to share with us and encourage you to take a closer look at the Cardinalus Corporate Consulting http://www.cardinalus.com. We would also remind you that GoGeomatics is your best place to help you build and network your own professional Geomatics career and encourage you to get involved in the discussions on the GoGeomatics Forum or go to the GoGeomatics main portal page.
If you or someone you know is involved in Geomatics and would like to share your experiences with us then we would love for you to contact us.