Asset Swap: How to Manage Rotating Assets Using the Geonexus Integration Platform

Asset Swap: How to Manage Rotating Assets Using the Geonexus Integration Platform


Asset swap is a familiar process for many in the utilities industry. It involves replacing assets that have been damaged, malfunctioned, or have gotten too old. While the principle of asset swap is straightforward, it can get much more complex if your organization is using an enterprise asset management (EAM) system to manage the location and information of a large number of assets. Integrating an EAM system with something like Esri ArcGIS introduces even more complexity – here’s why: 

In ArcGIS, important data like an asset’s location and other specifications (color, asset ID, manufacturer, age, etc) are kept in a single record. This differs from popular EAM systems like IBM Maximo or SAP, where asset locations and specifications are kept as two separate records. Most integration solutions synchronize an asset’s information from different systems using only the asset’s location, so if an asset is retired and replaced with a new one in the same location, those integration solutions won’t update the asset using the new set of specifications. While the location of that asset will still be correct after the swap, other vital information like asset ID, age, and manufacturer will be completely different. 

If an organization isn’t careful with their asset swap data management, they could end up sitting on mountains of inaccurate asset specification data. When countless assets are replaced every single day, this problem can come up quicker than expected and have serious consequences – especially for larger organizations. 

What Assets Might Need to be Swapped – and Why? 

Any assets tracked in an EAM are subject to the asset swap process, including fire hydrants, electric transformers, manhole covers, and many more. For organizations that are keeping track of hundreds or even thousands of assets, it’s not hard to imagine the problems that might arise when asset swaps aren’t being handled correctly – or the work that becomes necessary to fix those problems when they’re eventually discovered. 

Regarding why asset swap happens – the answer is simple: assets don’t last forever. As they age, assets deteriorate just like any other piece of equipment. Because many assets are outside, they’re subject to wear from weather and natural elements, both of which can cause irreparable damage necessitating complete asset replacement. To ensure the reliability of important assets, organizations might also replace them after a number of years even if they don’t show signs of wear just yet. 

Additionally, there are many positive use cases that come from asset swaps. As technological advancements allow assets to be more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, replacing older assets with new ones can greatly improve safety, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. Most importantly, updated assets ensure that customers have access to the utility services they depend on, no matter the circumstances. 

What Are the Consequences of Asset Swap Errors? 

There’s a lot that can go wrong due to a simple asset swap error. Consider this example: 

  • Years ago, power poles, transformers, and other electrical assets were marked in your EAM system as in need of service. The assets were serviced but were accidentally marked as replaced in your EAM system. The errors weren’t caught, and those assets weren’t serviced again for several years. 
  • As weather in certain parts of the country became more severe, it started to wear on the assets that made up your area’s electrical grid. Because you thought the power poles, transformers, and other assets were all up to date, you didn’t worry about the potential for blackouts during severe storms. After all, those assets were just replaced, right? 
  • Wrong. A serious storm comes along, and the grid is completely overwhelmed. Amid dealing with the effects from a natural disaster, your customers are left without power, hampering relief efforts and raising the risk of injury or death in the area. This issue could have been mitigated (or even prevented) if the information in your GIS and EAM systems had been properly updated. 

Aside from the risks to customers, asset swap errors can also directly affect your organization’s operations in other ways. 

  • If the age of certain assets in your GIS-EAM systems is inaccurate, there are two potential scenarios that could play out. 
    • Young assets are still marked as old in your GIS-EAM systems. Once they reach a certain age, they’re flagged as in need of replacement even though they don’t need it. Perfectly usable assets are replaced and eventually discarded, wasting time, costing you money, and creating waste in landfills. 
    • Old assets are marked as young and are not replaced even though they should be. The necessary flags that tell your organization when these assets should be replaced aren’t popping up, so you believe the aging assets are still in working order. This continues until the assets fail completely or another issue exposes the true age of the assets. 
  • If a malfunctioning or aging asset is responsible for environmental or property damage, your organization could be liable for damages. This has happened in several parts of the United States in the last few years, most notably in California where a transmission line sparked wildfires that burned countless acres of land, destroyed homes, and turned skies from blue to burnt orange. The monetary and reputational consequences of incidents like these are massive, so it’s in every organization’s best interest to keep their equipment as up to date as possible to avoid them. 

Lastly, there is a best-case scenario: your data is wrong, but it’s fixable. Your organization will likely avoid the consequences mentioned above, but you won’t be out of the woods just yet. You’ll still have to spend lots of time manually fixing all the erroneous data, which includes double checking every asset in your system to make sure nothing is missed. Additionally, data entry procedures will have to be updated to prevent asset swap errors in the future and to catch any errors that might slip through the cracks.  

To avoid all these monetary, reputational, and flat-out dangerous issues before they even have the chance to begin, your organization could adopt an integration solution like the Geonexus Integration Platform to do most of the asset swap heavy lifting for you. Here’s how it works: 

How Geonexus Stands Apart from Other Integration Methods 

Using a loosely coupled no-code integration approach, the Geonexus Integration Platform simplifies the asset swap process by synchronizing data between two or more GIS and EAM systems. Our platform is uniquely designed to avoid common problems related to asset swap; through the use of alternative IDs and linked records, your assets stored in GIS and EAM systems can be easily and safely updated with the correct locations and specifications. No more synchronizing using just location data; alternative IDs contain all the necessary information needed for asset swaps (including location, age, etc.) while still allowing them to be synchronized without issue. 

The Geonexus Integration Platform is hassle-free compared to competing methods for preventing asset swap errors. Other solutions require manual data entry and keeping a close eye out for errors, which is costly and leaves too much room for human mistakes. Because the Geonexus Integration Platform is fully configurable and produces detailed reports with each run, there’s no need to worry about outdated data or technical debt due to asset swaps.  

Performing an asset swap is as simple as updating the asset’s location and specifications in either the GIS or EAM system, scheduling or running a synchronization, and viewing the updated asset data in both systems upon completion. The Geonexus Integration Platform’s full-compare approach ensures every asset has its data synchronized between systems every time the integration is run. Instead of dedicating unnecessary time and money to manually performing asset swaps and keeping track of mountains of data, GIS teams can shift their focus to other vital duties and still be sure their organization’s asset swaps are being handled correctly. 

About Geonexus 

At Geonexus, our mission is to ensure the integrity and reliability of enterprise data to support effective decision-making. The Geonexus Integration Platform is an enterprise-grade integration platform that’s 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. Asset-intensive organizations across the globe use the Geonexus Integration Platform in industries including utilities, telecommunications, pipeline, transportation, and government.

We would love to show you what our Geonexus Integration Platform can do for you and your team. Submit your information, and we’ll be in touch.
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