Software company Esri UK has appointed Mark Wells as its new chief technology officer.

Previously head of the company’s technical support and managed cloud services divisions, Wells succeeds Charles Kennelly.

Kennelly takes on the new role of Group CTO at Esri Holdings, which includes Esri UK, Esri Ireland and IT professional services company Helyx.

Responsible for directing the technical strategy and implementation of Esri UK technology, Wells will be focusing on developing new solutions to make its GIS (geographic information systems) even more accessible and easier to use, through SaaS and the continuing development of AI and machine learning, to automate geospatial workflows and simplify how applications are built.

Moving to group level, Kennelly will be working across all companies within Esri Holdings on overall technical direction, working with Esri Inc in the US on roadmap development and maximising shared efficiencies across the group.

Joining Esri UK almost 20 years ago, Wells has held numerous technical leadership roles including pre-sales, technical research and professional services.

Instrumental in changing how GIS is delivered to customers, he was responsible for creating the company’s managed cloud services offering.

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Achieving 50 per cent growth year-on-year during the last six years, managed cloud services has become the fastest growing part of the business.

Wells said: “Esri UK’s biggest opportunity is to keep lowering the barriers to entry of GIS, in terms of cost and complexity and make it even more accessible.

“The company has made great progress in supporting large numbers of customers with their migration to online and mobile – we are seeing online GIS growing by around 30 per cent a year.

“My focus will include delivering yet more Esri UK products via SaaS and developing automated workflows using AI and machine learning, to make sense of the huge amounts of real-time spatial data coming from IoT sensors and handheld devices.

“Esri UK is also working on broadening the relevance of GIS to new user groups including data scientists and developing further enterprise capabilities for large-scale GIS with new approaches such as Kubernetes.”

Charles Kennelly said: “Esri UK is growing rapidly and to ensure this continues, we need to make senior appointments within the Esri Holdings companies who can focus on the operational development of each business and their technology direction.

“We’re at the point with GIS where there is more opportunity than ever to help solve society’s problems. Mark’s technical expertise coupled with his business understanding makes him the perfect candidate to move from being my second-in-command to CTO and help shape the future of GIS in the UK.”

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Founded in 1969, Esri is the global market leader in Geographic Information System (GIS) software, location intelligence and mapping and has 4,000 staff in 73 countries.

Esri UK has over 450 employees with offices in Aylesbury, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Belfast. Customers include Vodafone, Balfour Beatty, the Environment Agency, Defra, Public Health Scotland and the National Trust.