Case studies

Management of Service Connections and Solar Energy Panels

Management of Service Connections and Solar Energy Panels

ODR as a medium-sized utility company in the Southwest of Germany has built a high-level enterprise GIS focusing on facility management for the support of various business processes. With the integration between SAP and UT for ArcGIS for the management of new service connections and new solar panel application the customer has achieved significant savings in terms of time and cost while increasing data and service quality. This article will introduce both applications.

ODR is part of one of Germany’s top 3 utility companies, EnBW. ODR is an electricity and gas distribution company serving 90 communities in Eastern Baden Württemberg and 40 in Bavaria. Their GIS is based on the Esri ArcGIS platform and AED-SICAD’s UT for ArcGIS product suite. It has played an important role in serving ODR’s business for the past 10 years. About 30 editors are continuously keeping the network data up-to-date and in a proper state. Over the last 2 years, after the system upgrade to UT for ArcGIS V10.2.1R3, the customer has been focusing on system integration between SAP and GIS. There are currently two important implementations regarding this topic which refer to the management of service connections and solar panel connections.

Management of Service Connections

The integration of service points between SAP and the GIS is a huge step for improving business processes. Once you have linked the SAP functional location with the UT object it will be possible to monitor and visualize the life cycle of new house connections from planned to as-built by different colors in the map. Everybody in the organization and also construction companies are informed about service connections at the earliest stage. This will help prevent accidents due to erroneous information because of delays in map updates.

In addition, ODR plans to roll out smart meters. To plan, efficiently perform and manage this meter replacement, SAP IS-U, GIS, and the Meter Data Management System (MDMS) need to be coupled. Disruptions or non-communicative meters can be localized more easily and visualized via the GIS.

Thus ODR decided to link UT service points with SAP in electricity, gas and fiber through the powerful middleware product UT Integrator.

Workflow: Application for New Service Connections

The workflow for processing new service connections is as following:

  • Initial registration of a new service connection (electricity, gas, fibre) in SAP
  • Zoom to the location by using the (SAP) address in the GIS
  • Place a service connection symbol in the land parcel (colour indicates status)
  • Capture further attributes in SAP
  • Save data both in SAP and GIS
  • Visualize the status (application, order, constructed) in the GIS
  • Remove the symbol after the house connection went into service

The benefits of the new integrated SAP-GIS GUI can be recognized easily when comparing the situation before and after integration:

Process before integration:

  • New connections (gas, electricity, fibre) are recorded in SAP
  • After construction these are also documented in the GIS and then published in the web with no direct link to SAP
  • Problems with non-documented service connections

Process after integration:

  • New connections are first captured in SAP and immediately georeferenced by the SAP user by using a traffic-light-style symbology
  • Status and colour of (GIS) symbol is following the progress in the (SAP) workflow
  • Full data integrity and process transparency through the integration

Geo-referencing Renewable Energy Plants

The motivation for introducing the integration of SAP and GIS for the management of renewable energy plants came from the fact that the process always starts in SAP and continues in the GIS for the network documentation part. Thus the workflow looks as follows:

  • Create functional location in SAP for the renewable energy production plan
  • Automatically zoom the map to the target position by address search
  • Place the energy production source in the map
  • Create or identify the connection point which links the energy source with the distribution network
  • Save the new object in SAP; the UT Integrator creates the asset at the same time within the GIS database
  • The coordinates and the GIS Id (obj_id) are returned to SAP
  • The system automatically publishes the new information in the web
  • As the SAP user advances the application process in SAP (application, approval, built), the asset status is automatically transferred and visualized accordingly in the GIS

A key advantage of the new solution is the integrated GUI between SAP and UT for ArcGIS which enables a seamless workflow starting in SAP for administrative information. The workflow is completed with the placement of the solar panel and its connection point. This is all managed in one window.

The benefits of this new application can be also recognized when comparing the situation before and after its implementation:

Process before integration:

  • Renewable energy sources were processed by different users in different systems
  • Parallel use of both systems
  • Error-prone process through redundant data entry

Process after integration

  • Plants are first captured in SAP and immediately georeferenced by the SAP user
  • Full data integrity and process transparency through the integration

Outlook and Conclusion

ODR is integrating the GIS more and more with other enterprise business systems in their organization. Beside the two above examples also installations like gas transfer stations, gas regulator stations, power stations, switching plants, poles and also MV Cables will be subject of an SAP/GIS integration. The purpose in this case is network operation and maintenance.

The service point and renewable energy scenarios demonstrates nicely that the GIS is not just a digital map with links to other systems for the attribute data. ODR positions the GIS as a central data repository and platform for asset information, which needs to support administrative/financial products like SAP and other technical applications.

In fact the two workflows of ODR as described above demonstrate again that the UT Integrator together with the integrated GUI of SAP and UT for ArcGIS is an outstanding tool for system integration. Through this middleware, both SAP and GIS are working simultaneously and directly within their native databases in synchronous mode. No duplication of e.g. the geodatabase is required. The UT Integrator assures efficient business processes and workflows.

Mr. Richard Schwarz, GIS Manager at ODR outlines the strength of the UT Integrator in saying: “The implementation of the two integrated applications was a tremendous leap in our organization which is recognized as the beginning of a new era and starting point for further integrated solutions. AED-SICAD has done a great job and this at very reasonable cost.”

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