ERP and Smallworld Integration
The Smallworld Business Integrator (SBI) by GE, the manufacturer of Smallworld GIS, is based on technology standards for integrating SAP® ERP systems (Enterprise Resource Planning) with Smallworld GIS. ITS SBI Monitor is an extension of this product and can implement this technology quickly and transparently.
- Certified for SAP NetWeaver Technology
- Supports bidirectional pairing
- Supports service-oriented architectures (SOA)
- Incremental implementation strategy
- Worldwide standard product
The continuously growing competition within the energy sector over the past few years has forced utility companies to optimise their business processes and to reduce costs. A successful strategy for asset management as well as a strict execution thereof is a key factor for remaining ahead of the game. In order to be successful, a company’s entire database has to be useable for all relevant parties. Thus, integrating systems is a vital component. Most utility companies implement an ERP system (e.g. SAP) and GIS (e.g. Smallword). Based on the broad distribution of SAP, the SBI technology is illustrated using this ERP system as an example.
Flexible Integration Platform
The Smallworld Business Integrator (SBI) in combination with ITS SBI Monitor enables a Smallworld GIS integration into the company’s IT infrastructure whilst implementing standardised communication technology. In the process, direct pairing, for example, SAP S/4 HANA; SAP ERP; SAP R/3 via Java Connector (JCo) as well as indirect pairing of middleware platforms such as SAP NetWeaver or IBM WebSphere are supported.
The Smallworld Business Integrator (SBI) includes the modules Business Objects, Mapping Engine, Synchronisation Engine and the Consistency Checker. An integration is possible through direct communication with the ERP system, for example, via SAP Java Connector (JCO) or via a middleware approach such as SAP NetWeaver.
Business objects serve to balance out two different data models. Furthermore, they provide an abstract view of actual objects and the interface. As a result, a 1:1 mapping can be established for various object structures. For example, for a SAP grid connection, the GIS counterpart can have numerous technical objects (e.g. connection object, pipeline section and valve). These objects are aggregated. This means that irrelevant segmentations of a grid connection are hidden and that a 1:1 pairing between SAP and GIS is established. Queries for individual attributes of a GIS grid connection are transparently available for subcomponents of a real GIS object. This can, for example, be used to carry out evaluations in SAP. An aggregated business object possesses a main object based on the underlying database. This ensures a unique identification.
Business objects of two paired systems can be defined and depicted by the mapping engine. Next to this basic object mapping, ids and attributes can also be configured for the mapping. Field names don’t have to be identical and enumeration values are taken into account.
The Synchronisation Engine is used to automatically transfer object modifications from one system to the other if they are redundant, i.e. they are recorded in both systems. Furthermore, the mapping engine is used to synchronise altered objects in the source system with the target object in the target system as well as to transfer attribute modifications from the source object to the target object. Added and deleted objects are also synchronised. Depending on the situation, it might make sense to prevent objects from being deleted in the target system if they are deleted in the source system. Instead, only the pairing should be removed. Alternatively, a status change can be triggered in the target object (e.g. “decommissioned”).
The Consistency Checker within the Smallworld Business Integrator (SBI) supports consistency checks between paired business objects and their attributes and can restore data if necessary.
ITS SBI Monitor
The ITS SBI Monitor is a product by the ITS Informationstechnik Service GmbH and supports the integration of Smallworld GIS with SAP. ITS SBI Monitor applies the standardised Smallworld Business Integrator by GE and supplements this technology with a transparent and easy-to-use tool. During the development phase of ITS SBI Monitor, the main aim was to incorporate ITS project experience into an easily deployable solution.
ITS SBI Monitor deploys an easy-to-use and menu-guided configuration for pairing Smallworld and SAP. The following functions are included in this product:
- Menu-guided mapping for business objects and attributes
- Managing initial pairing of both systems
- Transparent monitoring of inconsistencies and errors
- Process and status-dependent workflow for resolving inconsistencies and errors
- Synchronous and asynchronous reconciliation of both systems including time management for consistency assessments
- Frontend pairing between SAP and Smallworld GIS
- Frontend pairing between SAP and Lovion BIS
Defining Business Objects
The main aim of pairing SAP with GIS is to create a uniform view for objects in both systems. For this purpose, business objects are defined in both systems to create the mapping. ITS SBI Monitor offers a coherent view for configuring the mapping. A time-consuming interpretation of configuration files is no longer necessary. Settings can be adjusted via mouse click in an intuitive gui within ITS SBI Monitor.
Mapping Attribute Fields
Another mapping step in ITS SBI Monitor is to define corresponding features and attributes for business objects. This enables the mapping of data between both systems. Additional tools are available for complex relationships. Furthermore, ITS SBI Monitor offers functions for translating specific values within business objects. As a result, this solution doesn’t only support attribute mappings, but also translates/converts values. This means that systems with an independent development history and structure can be paired.
Certain criteria for identifying specific objects are defined within ITS SBI Monitor to initiate the pairing process. As inconsistencies usually occur during pairing, Lovion GEO CONNECT offers a monitoring tool for identifying and resolving these inconsistencies.
- Type of inconsistency (e.g. contradictory attributes)
- Transaction status
- Status protocol
- Attribute differences between Smallworld and SAP (if available)
- Further affected objects
- Field used for remarks or notes that contains required values
- Responsible person
- First inconsistent entry
- Last inconsistency edits
Clear Filtering Options
By filtering identified inconsistencies, ITS SBI Monitor can effectively be used for mass editing. Default settings only allow users to see inconsistencies that they are responsible for. Furthermore, users can filter identical types of inconsistencies and edit large datasets simultaneously. Thus, ITS SBI Monitor offers an ideal tool for reconciling Smallworld and SAP data.
Rules for managing inconsistencies can be defined within this integrated tool. Furthermore, users and departments responsible for managing inconsistencies are administered. A review function (e.g. for holidays and general absence) is also available in the solution.
Time Management for Operations via Scheduler
Consistency assessments can be carried out synchronously and asynchronously. Asynchronous assessments are usually done in regular time intervals, e.g. daily within a predefined timeframe or at night or weekends. Assessments for different business objects can be carried out at different times and are configured via the easy-to-use ITS SBI Monitor Scheduler. This means that data matches are performed at regular time intervals to ensure data consistency.
In addition to backend pairing where data consistency is ensured, ITS SBI Monitor also offers frontend pairing between SAP and Smallworld. ITS SBI Monitor is already capable of retrieving paired equipment data or the technical location in the SAP gui via the frontend. Furthermore, users can navigate to the desired system of paired data using additional tools and editors.
Direct object-based Comparison
The object inspector in ITS SBI Monitor is capable of evaluating attribute variations within individually selected objects. A fraction of these objects or all objects containing attribute differences can be resolved in SAP or GIS via the object inspector.