It’s notoriously difficult for large utilities to innovate in-house for various reasons. Economic limitations, the possibility of upending existing procedures, and ever-changing regulations are just a few examples of barriers that can stifle innovation in the utility industry. While none of these barriers are particularly easy to overcome, there’s one way to attack them all at once: the adoption of a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) system integration solution.
COTS integration can solve these issues by reducing the scope, timeline, and costs of all kinds of projects. Additionally, automation through COTS software products like the Geonexus Integration Platform can simplify project requirements, prevent unnecessary setbacks, and ultimately improve outcomes for your organization’s innovation initiatives.
COTS integration serves three major purposes for utilities: creating a safety net for your organization, supercharging existing workflows, and enabling new ones altogether. Here’s how:
Utilizing COTS software in your daily workflow allows you to take advantage of safety nets that are created by the software provider. For example, many organizations using custom system integration solutions frequently deal with version lock, which prevents them from updating their systems and taking advantage of new features.
If those organizations were to implement a COTS integration solution like the Geonexus Integration Platform, they’d be able to update those systems without any interruption to their workflow or risk of version lock. Thus, enabling them to try out all the new features released by IBM Maximo, Esri, SAP, and more with no harmful side effects.
This safety net extends to your organization’s balance sheets. If you’re stuck managing your own integration solution, it quickly becomes extremely expensive (not to mention time-consuming) to keep up with the innovations being added to all your edge systems. Using COTS integration eliminates the need to spend huge amounts of money creating and maintaining an integration that’s just going to cause more trouble than it’s worth.
COTS software supercharges existing workflows by freeing up bandwidth within IT and GIS teams and offloading troubleshooting and problem solving to dedicated teams from COTS software providers. Being able to use software without worrying about fixing bugs or preparing for updates (as would be the case with custom scripts) gives those teams much more freedom and flexibility in their workflow.
COTS software can also supercharge workflows by saving time across the board. Tedious tasks like locating and rectifying missing data values, orphans, duplicates, and other errors are some of the biggest time commitments at many utilities, and COTS integration solutions like the Geonexus Integration Platform can automate them with ease. Imagine being able to complete tasks that typically require one or two days of work in just a few minutes! Those time savings add up and prevent employees from feeling burned out. In short, COTS software is a game-changer in terms of productivity and cost-effectiveness.
When it comes to enabling new workflows, COTS software does so without the fear of version lock or causing other issues with your existing software stack. Plus, because we’re always focused on bringing new features to market, your new software will continue to gain functionality long after you implement it for the first time. For example, our development team is always hard at work adding new connectors for popular systems, and recently launched one dedicated to RDBMS-based systems. Geonexus customers can now add functionality to their existing integration thanks to that new connector.
In addition to new connectors, increasing the speed and reliability of our software is always a high priority, just as it is for COTS software providers everywhere. Being able to accomplish more work in less time is just about the most important innovation for any business – let alone utilities – and getting those productivity boosts without having to do all the hard work yourself is arguably the most attractive benefit COTS software brings to the table.
We often hear stories from our customers about what their workflows looked like before adopting COTS software for their integration needs. Buggy software, antiquated data management systems, and relying on humans to spot missing data and track errors by hand are still common operating procedures at utilities across the globe. Plus, if a utility is using their own custom integration software, they’re also stuck dedicating resources to fixing bugs and making sure their integration can support new versions of the GIS, CIS, or EAM systems they’re integrating with. It’s a lot of work for tasks that COTS integration solutions can accomplish with far less trouble.
But, for forward-thinking utilities that have adopted COTS integration solutions like the Geonexus Integration Platform, those outdated workflows are already things of the past. Geonexus customers like Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District are using our platform to save time and increase data integrity in systems they rely on across their organization. Peoples Natural Gas is integrating two GIS databases and adding improved Tracking and Traceability procedures into their workflow. The City of Detroit is collecting more data than ever before and mitigating fire disasters with the help of system integration.
There are limitless ways to innovate with the help of a COTS integration solution. It’s up to you to find out what your organization is capable of when your workflow is supercharged with integrated data.
The COTS model allows utilities large and small to get back to their roots and start innovating again. Integrating systems and offloading the troubleshooting and updating responsibilities to COTS software teams that are already software experts makes sense from a budgetary and operational standpoint. Plus, utilities can adopt new software features without having to worry about implementing them from scratch.
COTS integration from Geonexus is a win-win that benefits utilities and their customers alike. It also allows us and our customers to continue to innovate, bringing new features and advancements to the utility industry.
At Geonexus our mission is to ensure integrity and reliability of enterprise data to support effective decision making. Our Integration Platform is an enterprise-grade integration solution 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. Asset-intensive organizations across the globe use the Geonexus Integration Platform in industries including utilities, telecommunications, pipeline, transportation, and government.