ArcGIS Utility Network: What About My Existing Integrations?

Introduction

You work for a utility company with a mature enterprise GIS that you have built over the last 10 to 18 years using ArcGIS. Your geodatabase stores millions of features in a geometric network representing the utility infrastructure. Your GIS is integrated with other systems like enterprise asset management (EAM), customer information (CIS), distribution and outage management (ADMS), and SCADA through custom interfaces that have been built over the years. There is a large investment in your existing enterprise technology that supports hundreds of daily users.

Your GIS team returns from a recent Esri conference armed with the latest information about the new ArcGIS Utility Network, a comprehensive framework for modeling; electric, gas, water, storm water, wastewater, and telecommunications. This is the next generation data model that will support the utility and telco industry for the next 15-20 years. Your team is excited about all the new capabilities and is eager to move forward with an upgrade to ArcGIS Pro and Enterprise using Portal and with data migration. Sounds simple enough, right? Not so fast. What about all those custom interfaces to external systems like EAM and CIS that are critical for the business? A move from the geometric network to the Utility Network will require existing integrations to be rebuilt or replaced entirely. This is because the Utility Network data is accessed through newly defined web services.

Before you engage your internal IT resources or hire an outside consultant to rebuild your custom integrations which will take months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, consider implementing an integration platform like GeoWorx® from GeoNexus Technologies. GeoWorx is an enterprise grade integration platform that is easy to use, reliable, and includes out-of-the-box connectors for Esri® ArcGIS®, IBM® Maximo®, SAP®, ABB® Ellipse®, Oracle Utilities® (WAM and CC&B), and other leading enterprise systems.

GeoWorx has recently been updated to connect to the new Utility Network services. The screenshot below shows the addition of two new connection options including ArcGIS Portal and ArcGIS Online that support Utility Network services.

GeoWorx Sync has also been updated to support Associated Field Definitions in the Utility Network. This is important for providing the ability to synchronize associated data to supported 3rd party systems.

Consider the following benefits of a productized solution before embarking on a lengthy and costly effort to rebuild your GIS interfaces when migrating to the Utility Network.

1. Eliminate Risk

A project to rebuild existing interfaces or new integrations between GIS and external systems is full of risk due to unknowns. When the project kicks off there is nothing to show because the resulting integration does not yet exist. There is a leap of faith that the developers can deliver a solution that meets the requirements within a specific budget and timeframe. The developers must have the knowledge and skills in each of the systems being integrated which is hard to come by. For example, developing an integration between Maximo and ArcGIS requires knowledge of both systems API’s and data structures. Traditionally, the development is divided with each side of the interface being coded by different groups. A Maximo developer codes the Maximo side and a GIS developer codes the GIS side of the interface with hope that the two converge successfully. All of this creates unnecessary risk. GeoWorx includes a library of productized connectors for ArcGIS and leading enterprise systems allowing you to see how it works and what it is capable of before beginning implementation.

2. Save Time and Money

Building custom interfaces are often a lengthy task. It typically takes a minimum of 3 months and includes activities for gathering functional and technical requirements, creating a design and architecture, coding, testing and rework, documentation, training, and deployment. The project will involve multiple resources including a Project Manager, Business Analyst, Technical Architect, and Developer. The development of interfaces is often part of a much larger project, with non-coding activities being combined with other system implementation tasks. Regardless, the cost per interface can be in the $50,000 to $100,000 ballpark. GeoWorx can be installed and configured in days instead of months which greatly reduces the time and cost associated with the integration.

3. Eliminate Version Lock

Custom integrations only work for the intended systems and the specific version of those systems that they were built to support. If either edge system is patched or upgraded to a higher version the integration may break due to changes in the underlying data model or API. This will require testing and code updates to the interface. This scenario often locks an organization into a specific version of GIS and the system it’s integrated with. GeoWorx provides a loosely coupled integration which eliminates version lock. GIS is free to upgrade at will regardless of the system it’s integrated with. Likewise, the edge systems can be upgraded without impact to GIS.

4. Scalability Throughout the Enterprise

Utility data such as assets and work are often used by many systems throughout the enterprise like GIS, CIS, ADMS, and EAM. Take for example a billing meter. A billing meter is an asset that is used in CIS (CC&B) and associated to a customer account, service premise, and billing information. The meter is also an asset record in EAM and associated to installation, repair, and preventive maintenance activities. In addition, the meter is used by GIS and associated to a service premise location for determining meter reading routes and mapping activities. GeoWorx Sync, is an enterprise integration platform that goes beyond simple point-to-point integration and can be scaled to support multiple system synchronization.

5. Increase Data Integrity

Data is a critical asset and the lifeblood of any organization that relies on its accuracy and timeliness to make effective decisions. Utilities manage data about customers, infrastructure assets, work activities, and human resources that is shared across multiple enterprise systems like CIS, EAM, GIS, SCADA, ADMS, and others. In order to ensure integrity of enterprise data the systems that create and use the data must be connected and synchronized in a consistent manner that provides accurate reporting of inconsistencies and an audit trail of changes that have occurred overtime. As a fully supported integration platform with true bidirectional synchronization and robust discrepancy reporting, GeoWorx Sync provides the optimal solution for your enterprise’s integration needs.

Conclusion

Moving to the ArcGIS Utility Network is not a matter of if, but when. Fortunately, there are an abundance of resources available to help you plan and execute the transition. Before embarking on a significant effort to rebuild your integrations to 3rd party systems reach out to GeoNexus and evaluate GeoWorx as a possible solution.

About GeoNexus Technologies

At GeoNexus Technologies our mission is to ensure integrity and reliability of enterprise data to support effective decision making. We provide GeoWorx, an enterprise grade integration platform that is easy to use, reliable, and includes out-of-the-box connectors for Esri ArcGIS, IBM Maximo, SAP, ABB Ellipse, Oracle Utilities, and other leading enterprise systems. GeoWorx is used by asset-intensive organizations across the globe in industries including utilities, telecommunications, pipeline, transportation, and government.
Contact us for more information at info@geo-nexus.com.

Categories: 2018

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