Consolidating GIS to Achieve Enterprise-Wide Benefits

9Written by Barry Kemble, Senior Account Manager, RAMTeCH

June 30, 2016

The Geographic Information System (GIS) is a foundational technology linking every activity of a utility, including design and construction, asset management, workforce management, outage management, and, increasingly, real-time network/grid operations. Utility companies are looking to deploy integrated, more sophisticated business and GIS applications (such as work management, outage management, GPS, mobile/field technologies, and smart grid) to better meet the demands of their business, as well as meet regulatory requirements. Utilities also want to leverage legacy investments in technology and data, and look to standardize data where it makes sense, especially when the strategy is to leverage GIS across the enterprise.

What has increasingly become an issue over the past decade is the many mergers and acquisitions in the utility industry, to the extent that there are now many utilities with multiple GIS’s on different platforms, landbases, and different levels of detail and accuracy. This can create many issues for operations and regulatory compliance within the utility. GIS data migration and consolidation to a single GIS and platform can provide a great many benefits and achieve the enterprise-wide vision.

Below are examples of some of the benefits that can be achieved:

  • An approximate savings of 5% to 10% in annual operating costs associated with geospatial information
  • Lower maintenance costs with a single platform for a manageable maintenance strategy
  • Less time and expense for annual release upgrades for IT
  • Provide a common look and feel for a single GIS to all users
  • Provide a common platform for consistent application functionality supported by a single GIS
  • Ease of landbase maintenance on a single platform
  • A single GIS for integration into the utility business processes and operational workflows
  • Standardization of enterprise information promotes safer and more reliable system operations
  • Eliminate redundant data sets and data maintenance functions/cost
  • Improve regulatory compliance, reliability, and safety
  • Reduce costs when deploying new spatially related applications such as navigation or Geocoding
  • Reduce costs of business analytics on a single platform
  • Lessen the impact on staff training and associated training costs
  • Allow for standardization of reporting that goes along with regulatory items
  • Increase communication across business units and reduce impedances
  • Support the increasing need to deploy business applications that are highly integrated with GIS, such as
    • AMR/AMI (Automated Meter Reading/Automated Meter Infrastructure)
    • Asset Management
    • CADS
    • CIS/GIS Integration
    • Damage Prevention
    • Integrated Grid Visualization
    • Mobile technology
    • Outage Management
    • SCADA
    • System Planning and Engineering
    • Workforce Management

While conducting the migration to a single GIS platform, it is also the best time to conflate all of your facilities to a single, more spatially accurate landbase source. Improved horizontal accuracy will support all of the current GIS applications and reduce risks associated with misplaced facilities on older landbases.

If these benefits are of interest to you and you currently have more than a single GIS, please contact us. RAMTeCH can help you get started on a strategy for migration, consolidation, conflation, and/or landbase selection.

For questions or additional information, please contact this blog’s author, Barry Kemble, at bkemble@ramtech-corp.com.

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