Boundless Connections: Ann Johnson, CEO

Ann Johnson

Over the past year, Boundless has grown tremendously: becoming an independent company, expanding and enriching our offering of Spatial IT solutions and services, and deepening and broadening our team with experts and leaders from across the geospatial and enterprise IT fields. This marks a new chapter for our company, one designed to maximize what we see as a major inflection point in this industry. As the number and type of sensors and data sources proliferate, geospatial data collaboration becomes the key problem facing the Spatial IT industry.

With that in mind, we are accelerating our transformation with the addition of Ann Johnson as our new CEO. This new chapter requires an additional set of leadership skills, and Ann delivers them in spades with her strong background in cloud computing, security, and enterprise IT software broadly. She joins us from leading security software companies, where she served in a range of executive positions and developed her expertise in infrastructure, storage, and security. Her knowledge and executive experience will greatly strengthen our leadership and team as we continue to enhance solutions like OpenGeo Suite, develop new offerings, and maximize the significant opportunity ahead of us.

Welcome to the team! What was your role before you joined us?

Thank you! I’m excited to join the team, and have spent the last few weeks developing a better understanding of the company, solutions and industry.  My background maps very well to the changes taking place in the Spatial IT industry and the transformation at Boundless. My last fourteen years have been dedicated to the cloud computing and security software industry, most recently working with the talented team at Qualys. I spent the majority of that time at RSA, leading the global fraud team, which was a very rewarding experience as the company has an excellent vision and strategy and truly allowed me to grow my career in a meaningful way.

What are you most proud of from your time at RSA?

Team building! The most rewarding part of any leadership role is the ability to recognize talent and work with individuals to help them realize their career goals. Providing the guidance, coaching and support along the way as individuals grow and develop is what I enjoy most, by far. I was fortunate to be surrounded by amazing professionals at RSA and was able to function in a true leadership role by enabling talent to make an immediate and meaningful impact.

What made you interested in working at Boundless?

Boundless has an impeccable reputation amongst customers and the wider industry for employing highly talented and passionate geospatial professionals and developing high quality, innovative solutions. The software we develop has the ability to transform the GIS industry and help it pivot into a new Spatial IT industry built on proven open source tools. The depth of talent at Boundless, the quality of the software, and the feedback I received from customers made the opportunity at Boundless too compelling to pass.

What excites you most about the tools and products that Boundless is currently developing?

Timing is everything! My arrival at Boundless coincided with the release of OpenGeo Suite 4.1, which supports deployments on AWS and VMware as well as a new MongoDB connector and QGIS package. These enhancements continue to differentiate Boundless from the competition as a true leader in the Spatial IT sector.

What do you see as some of the benefits of using open source tools?

I come from a very strong infrastructure and software background, so I’ve experienced many different technologies, solutions, services, and tools throughout my career. The most compelling case for open source is the richness of the various communities, and the speed at which they can iterate and deliver highly innovative solutions. The passion of developers who are committed to open source is evidenced by both the quality of code they develop and the creativity and dedication they use in solving problems. It is not uncommon for a problem or idea to lead to an all-night development effort with the entire community contributing in an inspiring way. This leads to an energizing culture and collaborative dynamic for companies, like Boundless, that contribute to the community and address customer challenges faster and more affordably than any proprietary solution.

Where do you see the geospatial industry moving in the future?

We’re at a major inflection point in our industry. We’re on the cusp of Spatial IT as being truly ubiquitous. As the “Internet of Things” continues to proliferate, the ability to provide contextual mapping to any manner of objects and devices, whether used by consumers or business people and professionals, will become increasingly relevant. It will just become what people expect – an integral part of how we live, work and play. We need tools that are highly scalable, flexible, easy and affordable to deploy, and easy to integrate. Geospatial is not just about producing the best or prettiest maps, it is also about providing context and producing the best geospatial data that provides real value. We are solving a major “big data” problem and looking toward the future. The company that can balance strength in the core geospatial market with a vision for the future that takes into account the larger contextual global data opportunity will be the next generation of leaders in the Spatial IT segment.

What are your plans for the future of Boundless?

That’s a great question! You can expect to see us continue to honor our open source heritage while developing the highest quality solutions for both on-premise and platform-as-a-service delivery, allowing our current and future customers to develop their geospatial-enabled applications with the utmost confidence. We have a strong reputation to maintain for industry leadership, quality, and vision. The opportunity to continue to grow the company with our current offerings while bringing unique and disruptive solutions to market is endless. We will focus on where we are strong and continue to lead the industry in the next evolution of geospatial data collaboration.

What’s an interesting fact about yourself (that you haven’t already said)?

Outside of work, I am actually quite a homebody, which often comes as a surprise to people. My non-work life revolves around my family. I am passionate about gardening, cooking, reading, and anything related to water sports. I am also a large supporter of animal rescue organizations such as Best Friend Animal Society and take pride in playing “Mom” to a houseful of rescue mutts.

Ann's dogs

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