PTFS Industry Interview with John Yokley

*republished with permission from Geospatial Intelligence Forum​*

John Yokley has over 30 years of experience in the field of engineering management and information systems in support of government and industry. He established PTFS in 1995 to service the federal government and support the management of the increasing growth rate of information by providing and supporting digital content management solutions and related services. He launched multiple new vertical market strategies in 2006 and expanded the ArchivalWare Enterprise Content Management System (CMS) software product line to support digital library markets and exploit emerging geospatial intelligence and government declassification requirements.

Q: How and why did PTFS become engaged in the geospatial marketplace?

A: Content management, as well as library and information science, is a core company competency. In 2006, we sought out niche areas that required CMS but needed additional capabilities to satisfy unique user groups. We believe that the flexibility of a core CMS product tailored to perform unique geospatial content management provides users a platform that readily supports their changing requirements over time. This flexibility and the product’s origin are also the reasons that our solutions support multi-INT requirements so easily. Today we have four such niche areas, including geospatial.

The most time-consuming part of leveraging our product to support geospatial requirements was developing significant corporate expertise in the domain area. This is a prerequisite for successful product development. After that, in some cases it is just a matter of configuring the software with the proper product type and metadata support. We have developed support for hundreds of product types since we introduced the product in 2001. It’s worth noting that we have customers outside the Department of Defense and intelligence community that have also helped to form and influence our geospatial product development roadmap and enhancements developed over the last several years.

Q: Where do you deliver value to the intelligence community, and where do you see the company moving in the future to support it?

A: PTFS provides geospatial and multi-INT content management functionality to significantly improve analyst productivity as well as support the major pillars of activity based intelligence (ABI). The company has five business units. They include ArchivalWare COTS CMS, which supports the ArchivalWare application including the mission specific modules mentioned above; Systems Engineering/Integration, which builds large CMS solutions and manages data migrations/standardizations to meet a diverse set of DoD/IC requirements; and Library Systems and Open Source Solutions, which develops around, hosts and supports Koha, an open source integrated library system solution. This business unit currently hosts 500 libraries and research centers in the cloud. In addition, Digitization and Content Conversion converts a diverse set of hardcopy paper and analog media types into digital content including a high volume of sensitive data, while Professional Services and Staffing staffs operations the government has decided to outsource. Our business units work together to provide integrated, turn-key information management solutions to the community.

In the future, PTFS plans to continue developing its ArchivalWare open architecture, 100 percent browser-based product with new capabilities and features based on user feedback and trends in our client’s technical approach. Providing CMS as a service is a major component of our strategy to support modular systems design and cloud initiatives. We will continue to support and develop around open standards such as OGC (WCS/CSW), OAI-PMH, SWORD, Z39.50 and others to provide a CMS integration platform to support partner analytical tools.

PTFS envisions a lot of data management migrating to the cloud, which will require cloud based CMS security capabilities that we provide now but that will be improved and refined as lessons are learned from major cloud data migration initiatives. Finally, we will advance our current Smart Data Package ability to enhance ingested data. Once we make data “smarter,” our techniques will allow the data to find the appropriate users after authentication is complete.

Q: Is partnering with other companies important to PTFS’ long-term growth strategy?

A: Yes, we seek out partners who focus on requirements that are synergistic with our product/service offerings. We would prefer to have close relationships with a small number of companies we know and trust rather than many partners that are “one and done.” We currently have strong strategic partnerships with a diverse set of companies ranging from large system integrators to small businesses. We sometimes work closely with technology partners and tightly integrate their offerings when it makes more sense to buy rather than build to meet unique requirements.

Q: Does PTFS support ABI initiatives?

A: PTFS is currently refining capabilities in our product to enhance support for initiatives in all ABI pillars, especially data and sequence neutrality. Specific enhancements are planned in geo-referencing non-geospatial products as well as full motion video support to more rapidly allow analysis to be performed. Some of these new capabilities will be showcased at the GEOINT Symposium in April in Tampa, Fla. We will also be launching ArchivalWare GS 5.0, the newest release of our geospatial CMS, at GEOINT.