Connecting the DOTS … your IT Systems!
"Connecting the dots" is a great children’s game, where you have to connect certain dots in the right order. Once all the correct dots are connected in the right order, you recognize the bigger picture.
For many years now, VertiGIS has worked with GIS customers that have a strong focus on the utility domain, to find out what are the important IT systems and how these can be connected to let emerge strong and stable business processes, not visible before.
UT Integrator and UT Server for GIS Integration
A team of highly skilled experts has been implementing GIS integrations with SAP, DMS, SCADA or network calculation systems since at least 15 years and has built up a very extensive, unique and esteemed know-how in this area. Add the expertise in utility workflows of our customer-focused team, and you will have a hard time to find a comparable set of skills in the market.
VertiGIS offers the ArcGIS Server based standard EAI tools UT Integrator and UT Server, which form the technological basis for our work. UT Integrator and UT Server are part of the UT Product Suite. This allows for different types of integration like e.g. back-end or front-end integration, or complete unification of the GUIs of the systems to be integrated.
UT Integrator - Concept
The UT Integrator enables Utility companies to synchronize functional location, equipment, notifications and maintenance orders bi- directionally between the GIS and SAP system. The synchronization on the level of data is based on exchanging key attributes (SAP- and GIS Id) and established within the so called backend integration. Further attributes of these objects are exchanged upon business process requirements. As a result the synchronized SAP objects have a graphical representation in the GIS system and thus can be displayed and localized on a geographic map.
UT Integrator - Adaptors
The UT Integrator is a middleware product that synchronizes data between your GIS and your SAP system in both directions by using SAP IDoc technology or alternatively by calling SOAP web services. The UT Integrator uses ArcGIS for Server services to perform operations on the GIS data.
The SOAP / XML interface is probably the most widely used interface. This interface may also be used to integrate with other Enterprise Buses (e.g. WBI, Biztalk, SAP XI) and is often used to integrate with SAP XI. This is especially interesting if several IT systems should be integrated with each other. If only GIS and SAP are to be integrated, then often the IDOC or RFC interface is used.
DMS – GIS Integration
Most of our utility customers manage different environments for GIS, for Outage Management and Distribution Management (DMS) and for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). Still it is essential to have the same data in all different environments.
UT Integrator provides a solution to bring relevant spatial and attributive information from the GIS into the SCADA environment. In general the GIS is considered as the source of this network data, however the SCADA system needs properly derived GIS data as a source. Changes in the data are synchronized by the UT Integrator. This may be in a product related format or in a more standard format, e.g. CIM, the Common Information Model.
Outage Management may be performed inside the GIS, however if you would be using a different system for that, it also would require to synchronize the data between GIS and the DMS. Especially the GIS connectivity is supportive to find potential causes of faults in the network. When assigning a crew to a specific fault in the network, it is crucial to know where crews are and if they are available for a certain job. UT Server enables you to perform tracing analysis to locate an incident.
SAP – GIS Integration
Traditionally, the SAP system manages rather the administrative and financial side of assets, whereas the GIS focus on technical attributes and geographic location. However, both systems work on the same assets, and this is always only one real-life object. To ensure data integrity and remove duplicate data entry, system integration is critical.
In the maintenance process, e.g. the GIS might serve much better in the selection of assets than the SAP, or the information about the next and the last date of maintenance should be reflected to all GIS clients. This allows using each system with its inherent strength and passing on the required information to the other IT system. The UT Integrator assures back-end, real-time data synchronization, and in the front-end area assures lean and efficient business processes through unified and integrated GIS/SAP GUIs.
This is an excellent example of GIS and SAP Integration. Users simply initiate the planning process in SAP and a network planning engineer takes over in the GIS environment.
SAP and GIS in a Planning Workflow
Projects may be initiated in your SAP PM environment. Planning and Network Calculation is GIS work. In this workflow we have enhanced SAP with a sketching capability to draw the shape of a new planning project. All relevant SAP information is gathered and stored in SAP and a planning polygon with additional important planning information is sent to the GIS. The network planner takes it from here and starts sketching the suggested new low voltage network extensions.
Maintaining stability in the electrical grid is one of the major challenges for electrical utilities in the field of renewable energies. On the Basis of ArcGIS Server and UT Server, VertiGIS provides special UT Smart Apps for fast and simple network impact analysis by means of network calculations together with tools for planning and sketching of alternative simulations to solve these kinds of problems.
The UT Smart Apps PLAN - CALC - EDIT Apps will help them to perform a network quality assessment for any new application to install a solar panel or equivalent device in order to improve the overall quality of the distribution network. The Costs of this planning alternative are automatically taken from core SAP data that were synchronized to the GIS planner by the UT Integrator. At the end of the planning process a Bill of Materials is produces and also made available to the SAP environment.
The UT Product Suite
GIS-Based Network Asset Management
UT Integrator and UT Server are essential parts of the UT for ArcGIS Product Suite, which is the leading ArcGIS for Server and ArcGIS for Desktop based vertical solution for utilities for EMEA. It combines profound process and industry know-how with the strengths of the world's leading GIS technology from Esri. It is focused on enterprise GIS implementation for utilities, combining high-end and smart desktop modules, rich web clients and various mobile clients, e.g. for smart devices with a strong focus on system integration and a services-based architecture.