As more and more systems have become vital parts of our workflows in the utilities industry, the amount of data produced by those systems has also increased. To keep up with the mountains of data being produced, many organizations have turned to custom, ETL, or out-of-the-box system integration solutions. As these solutions have become more popular, so too have the misconceptions about how they work.
To organizations approaching system integration for the first time, integration solutions are sometimes viewed as a “nice-to-haves” instead of necessary tools. When utilities are already dealing with plenty of other projects, it’s understandable how integration implementation can be seen as an afterthought, but organizations holding off on integrating their systems often fail to realize just how quickly that afterthought can become a primary issue that affects their entire workflow.
For those exploring the path to system integration, this blog cuts through all the noise around integration projects by tackling some of the common misconceptions we hear when discussing these projects with organizations all over the world. We’re covering three of the most common integration misconceptions here, so if you’re interested in integrating your GIS, CIS, and EAM systems and want a realistic view of what implementation really looks like, this is where you’ll find it.
Misconception #1) System Integration is Difficult and Expensive
It’s true that integration can be difficult and expensive, but only if you choose to build a solution yourself. In the current system integration landscape, many organizations are using custom integrations. These solutions are enticing because of the amount of control they appear to offer; with a custom developed integration, organizations are supposed to have the ability to customize every aspect of their integration to align it perfectly with their established workflow. While true in theory, this approach substantially increases the scope and cost of the integration.
The reality is that custom integrations are significantly more costly than productized solutions for a variety of reasons, the first being the time commitment. Spending months or years developing a custom integration solution from scratch is a massive siphon of valuable resources that could be better utilized elsewhere. Developers that could be spending their time working to improve the core systems they’re familiar with are instead learning how to connect enterprise systems together, which is far easier said than done. Even with an experienced development team, many custom solutions end up as bolted-on solutions that are tough to manage and expensive over time.
Additionally, the resources necessary to keep these custom integrations working after implementation will continue to cost your organization valuable time and money. Custom solutions are notoriously buggy, difficult to update, and are vulnerable to version lock, keeping your organization from updating your most-used enterprise systems in a timely manner. Paying a team of developers to fix these issues will be a necessary expense, otherwise all the effort put into developing a custom integration will be wasted on a broken solution. It’s a never-ending cycle.
Comparatively, a productized solution like the Geonexus Integration Platform is designed and developed by a team with decades of shared enterprise integration experience. Features like a user-friendly GUI, no-code integration, and complete end-user configurability make Geonexus stand out from the crowd because they make the user experience much less complex. Spending less time configuring an integration solution frees up resources across your organization, allowing you to dedicate time and money where they’re needed most.
Misconception #2) It Takes Experienced Developers to Own an Integration
Most assume that implementing and owning a system integration takes experienced developers, huge budgets, and a generous time commitment to achieve a working integration. This is still the reality for many organizations using custom solutions. In the case of the Geonexus Integration Platform, citizen integrators with a solid understanding of the integrated data and workflows can own the integration themselves. That’s right – your team of GIS professionals can run the integration and make necessary changes without the need for an expert team of developers.
Additionally, citizen integrators don’t have to worry about developing updates or avoiding version lock – responsibilities that usually require expensive development and constant attention. Geonexus handles all required updates and bug fixes, ensuring your integration won’t suffer from version lock or other issues that are common with custom solutions.
Even though you no longer need to be an expert software developer or GIS mastermind to implement a system integration, having those skills will still come in handy. The Geonexus Integration Platform’s complete configurability ensures the integration with your systems is as seamless as possible and keeps the door open to any custom additions your organization may want to make, without the need for an entire team of developers to handle the project. The age of citizen integrators is here, and enterprise integration has never been easier because of it.
Misconception #3: Every Integration Solution Does the Same Thing
While the end goal of every integration solution (having unified data between teams and across enterprise systems) is the same, that’s about all they have in common. Integration solutions vary widely in their integration approach, methodologies, and the built-in features they offer to customers. Here’s a quick breakdown of what each category might look like in different integration solutions:
Like any software product, integration solutions cater to their customers’ needs. Different customers are always going to have different needs, and some products may work well for some users, but not for others. The Geonexus Integration Platform is designed to be a well-rounded solution for organizations both large and small, for integrators with extensive or zero experience, and for data sets featuring a few thousand or a few million assets.
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.