SAP PM Integration with GIS ArcFM and Implementation of GEO.e for Interfaced Assets

Company and/or Industry Vertical:

Gas and Electric Utility

The Client, incorporated in California in 1905, is one of the largest combination natural gas and electric utilities in the United States, based in San Francisco.

There are approximately 20,000 employees who carry out the Company’s primary business—the transmission and delivery of energy. The company provides natural gas and electric service to approximately 16 million people throughout a 70,000-square-mile service area in northern and central California.

The Client’s Company and other utilities in the state are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. The CPUC was created by the state Legislature in 1911.

Current Situation (Customer): 

The focus of this project is the Gas Distribution division of the company, with 42,141 miles of natural gas distribution pipelines and 6,438 miles of transportation pipelines.  Specific issues addressed include:

  • Gas Distribution asset information had been recorded in map form, presenting challenges in providing quick and accurate information on installation dates, asset properties, and subsequent modifications to these assets.
  • Implementation of GIS to provide metadata and easily accessible information in electronic form.
  • GIS integration with SAP. During the period between GIS implementation and SAP integration, many of the assets were maintained in two systems.  A desired end goal is to provide the ability to create, modify and delete assets in GIS and pass this information to SAP via an interface so that asset information can be created and updated in one system rather than individually in each system.
Rizing’s Role was to provide:
  • An interface, which creates and updates information in SAP based upon the information received from GIS.
  • GEO.e implementation, which allows users the ability to see assets spatially within SAP.
  • Data extracts, which provide GIS with updated information on:
    • Leaks, represented as notifications in SAP
    • Last and Next Survey Dates, based upon completed PR notifications and existing maintenance plans and items.
    • Last Inspection Dates for assets which are maintained on a recurring basis
    • Work Orders for user entry validation when creating WIP Clouds
Actions Taken:
  • Dispatch program created, which processes inbound information from GIS and returns results to GIS.
  • Extracts created to send GIS information on SAP work, represented in the above mentioned “data extract” section.
  • Implementation of GEO.e functionality.
  • Error processing logic implemented
  • Data quality tools provided, which include a program ZGDINTF for monitoring daily transactions
  • Facilitation, testing, documentation, and user training for two Business Objects reports, which (1) compares assets showing linked in SAP with those identified as linked in GIS.  (2) for assets showing linked in both systems, a report which compares down to the field level including install date, material, and various other meta data according to asset type.
Implementation Highlights and Challenges:
  • GIS was not fully mature at the time the integration was developed.  There were substantial challenges in getting test data early on from GIS; this resulted in the creation of a Rizing developed program which emulated inbound information from GIS.
  • The GIS data dictionary was continually being updated and changed without proper communication of new fields and changes to existing dictionary data.
  • The initial directive was to utilize an Oracle Service Bus (OSB) for data mapping, which provided an additional level of complexity.  After experiencing challenges using the OSB, Rizing developed a Mapping Tool, which dramatically improved the ability to respond to GIS additions and changes.
  • The Clients SAP implementation is highly customized, and this includes not only Plant Maintenance, but those modules which interact with Plant Maintenance.
  • Many SAP projects were “in flight” at the time we were developing our solution.  Examples include:
    • Gas Corrective Maintenance and the new way in which leaks are represented in SAP.  This has been an evolving solution and Rizing has continually had to adjust to new and changing requirements.
    • Leak Survey Schedule Migration project – another solution that is evolving and changing.  Vesta was provided a custom table as a source for our extract, which in the end was not always correct.  We altered our extract to draw last and next survey dates from another source.
  • The Client implemented a “Change Request” (CR) process and SAP Governance Board to help with proper notification of and approval by key stakeholders.  The Vesta team was the first project to be called upon to adhere to this developing process improvement and therefore had to submit a CR each time an enhancement was desired.  However, other large efforts did not seem to follow this new process, as in the case of the AMBB project.  SAP Work Manager was implemented, new Plants were implemented, and although the Vesta team lead was aware of some initial discussion of this and even went as far to ask for any updates via email from Clients SAP WM, the initial configuration was done in the maintenance (M) path and therefore we did not start getting errors until they moved to the QA8 environment in the “P” path.  Numerous Vesta hours were spent understanding the source of our QA8 errors and modifying our code to overcome these new configurations from AMBBS.
Results Achieved:
  • Interfaced assets can be maintained in GIS and updates are passed to SAP for automatic update by the dispatch program
  • RW notifications are automatically created and assigned to Local Headquarters for new and inactivated assets so that they can provide required documentation and reassign to Asset Strategists for creation or deletion of SAP PM maintenance items (and/or plans)
  • RW notifications are automatically created when a GIS user attempts to link, relink or unlink SAP assets which do not match the inbound information in terms of status, link table entries, etc.
  • GEO.e enables SAP users to view the spatial location of interfaced assets without having to log into GIS.
  • Data quality is dramatically improved.  Business Objects reports catch issues that may have been missed by those monitoring the interface.
  • The interface forces adherence to business guidelines and processes, which were previously followed inconsistently by different divisions.
  • The Data Mapping tool provides visibility of asset and field mappings for both GIS and SAP and can be updated for new assets added to the interface, fields added to GIS for assets that are already interfaced, and fields for interfaced assets that were not previously interfaced.
  • Rizing spent a considerable amount of time on a proof of concept for Linear Asset Management for GD mains and services.  One major unresolved issue was that GIS could not reliably implement and provide a strategy for determining a point of “0” along Gas Distribution mains, which do not follow the simplicity of Gas Transmission lines where a start and end point is easily determined.
  • Extensive documentation and process flows were developed by Rizing , which can be used to implement maintenance plans and items for the “stub” process, once the Clients business comes to an agreement on how to represent them in SAP.  Currently, the business is using spreadsheets to track the location and last time a stub status was reviewed.