“For the longest time GIS and SAP EAM were continents all onto themselves. Each contained many little countries but nobody from one continent would talk to anybody from the other, except for the occasional letter from an aunt. This is analogous to the way enterprise applications work in many organizations. While they are often viewed in a similar way, as large software applications, at best they perform different parts of similar tasks. More commonly they do different things, employ different practices, workflows and methods, communicate in different languages and utilize varying modes of governance. While the different continents analogy makes initial sense, when you dig into the capabilities and uses they look more like different planets.
Companies often use GIS and SAP for different purposes even if they are part of the same workflow. At its most basic level, GIS is used to add location to business processes. The majority of business data has a location component and GIS imbeds the “spatial factor” into operations. Companies employ GIS systems to map their assets, and it is the platform for querying infrastructure attributes. It is used as the foundation to build applications for regulatory compliance, integrity management or field activities like asset or environmental inspections. Having a geographic view of these processes makes the solutions significantly more effective. It is imbedded in complicated analyses like risk assessment or financial management because it is the “magic” ingredient that exposes critical, previously unseen, relationships. GIS is in emergency management and control rooms because geography turns complicated data into powerful, vital and quickly understood information. Implementations have proven that GIS improves an organization and makes it easier to operate effectively.
SAP on the other hand manages a separate yet linked series of vital functions. Companies implement SAP for enterprise resource management. It is a powerful solution and when an implementation is complete it can revolutionize almost every major process in an organization. It provides the consistency and captures the details critical to any organization’s business processes. SAP has the functionality to create and maintain an Asset Register which is used as the foundation for enterprise asset management. It defines the process and facilitates the purchasing of materials and then supports critical equipment traceability to eliminate potential disasters. It is the tool that integrates work management with finance and supply chain so that valuable financial decisions can be made and systems can be in continuous operation…”