SAP and GIS Integration for field work (Mobile)
Another important aspect of SAP and GIS integration is often field work. Field technicians go out into the field to collect critical information about assets or any other spatial information related to the business of a company. Now, very often, part of this information must be collected in the GIS. The position of the asset is one example, but a lot of technical information is typically also modeled within the GIS. However, other information, like information pertaining to maintenance or to the state of certain assets is often kept in the SAP® ERP. A good example might here be that a field work would like to create a notification that a certain asset is not in good working condition and must be fixed. This type of information generally goes to the SAP® ERP instead of the GIS.
Now – how many devices or programs do you want to let your field worker handle? Maybe one smart device for the GIS and a ruggedized laptop for some mobile ERP application? Even if you send your field worker with only one device out there, then he would still need to handle two software applications for one and the same asset. This is not very practical for a field worker pressed in time. IT Managers typically find that well-designed Apps for field work can give the highest potential for huge savings in time.
We find that Google has made a map-centric approach to fieldwork extremely popular, since it allows field workers to orient themselves very easily. We therefore believe that a mobile App to collect information should be map-centric. Esri has edited two fantastic tools called “Collector for ArcGIS” and “Survey 123 for ArcGIS”. These are available on the Apple App Store / Google Play / Microsoft Store and after entering the URL to your own server / cloud your field worker can actually already start working. Field workers can now collect information in the field, which will be stored right away – or once you have a mobile internet connection – on your server (or the cloud). On the server side, our UT Integrator certified for integration with SAP® ERP will make sure that all information which pertains to SAP® ERP will be injected there. All information relating to the GIS is of course already in the GIS database. The administrator may configure what information to collect and where the information should end up – in SAP® ERP or in the GIS.
This way the field worker will have one standard, map-centric App with which he can collect information for both SAP® ERP and GIS. Very simple, no big setup, no coding.
In 2017, we will also extend our UT Product Suite with our own Mobile Apps based on the Esri Runtime technology for offline/online field use, which will have extended capabilities especially for utilities to collect and document asset information in the field. This will give utilities a much greater functional scope and also the possibility for custom functional extensions. And yes, of course, you can use these UT Mobile apps also in conjunction with our UT Integrator, certified for integration with SAP® ERP, to collect information for both GIS and SAP® ERP.
Are you as excited as we are about these straightforward new technologies? Then do not hesitate to visit us at the International SAP Conference for Utilities in Lisbon (March 28-30, 2017). We will have a booth there, and we are both platinum partner of the worldwide leading GIS Company (Esri Inc.) and application development partner of SAP. As discussed, our EAI tool UT Integrator has been certified for integration with SAP® ERP.
Please see also my previous blog on SAP – GIS integration: