GIS Blog Series Part 1: The Challenge of Maintaining Independent Asset Registries

This is the first in a series of blogs designed to address Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in conjunction with SAP. We will do this by addressing the most important customer challenges.

A good subtitle for this initial blog could be: “The Advantages of Integrating GIS and SAP”.  In many industries with dispersed or “field” assets, critical information about these assets are maintained independently in a GIS system as well as in an ERP system (SAP) which has the capability and functionality for Enterprise Asset Management (EAM).

The overall functionality of a GIS-SAP eco-system cannot be done comprehensively in either one or the other.  They both have their strengths and together they can complement each other quite well.  But first, a little about what each does best.

A GIS system commonly answers questions like:

  • Where should I build my assets?

  • How are they connected?

  • How do I reach them in the most efficient manner?

  • What significant landscape features are they near?

  • How can I spatially group them?

  • How can I make maintenance / inspection routes more efficient?


An EAM system like SAP can answer questions like:

  • What is the state of my assets?

  • How do I maintain them?

  • How often do I inspect and perform preventive maintenance?

  • How do I manage costs associated with asset construction and asset maintenance?

  • What qualifications are needed by the workforce who maintain my assets?

  • What materials (spare parts) and tooling are necessary to have in inventory?

  • How do I insure regulatory compliance?

  • How do I minimize downtown or disruption in the services we provide?

The irony is that both systems most often refer to the same physical assets.

GIS and SAP have different strengths:

When GIS and SAP are disconnected, you may face one or more of the following challenges:

  • High manual effort to ensure legal compliance.

  • Inability to identify the “System of Record” for given asset data.

  • Inability to perform spatial analysis of field work (including inspection, preventive, and corrective work).

  • Challenges in planning and scheduling work with ability to view spatially.

  • Inability to provide asset data as well as spatial data to a mobile workforce.

  • Inability to optimize maintenance routes due to lack of spatial data.

  • Challenges in linking asset health to environmental factors.

  • An increased risk of having incomplete information on a given asset.

  • Inability to utilize GIS and SAP for material traceability.

On the other hand, potential benefits of linking these two powerful systems can often provide:


  • Entry of asset data “once” and share it between systems as necessary eliminating dual maintenance.

  • Synchronized the shared data between GIS and SAP.

  • Spatial data and technical data of an asset form one logical entity providing a 360° view on the technical asset.

  • With Geo-enablement in SAP (GEF)- the ability view and analyze assets and work spatially in SAP.

  • An increase in ability to deliver asset spatial information and attribute information to mobile workforce.

  • The ability to further analyze SAP work packages in a functioning GIS system.

  • Support for true material traceability.

  • Controlled redundancy: achieve good performance in each of the systems.

Without efficient GIS – SAP integration, the capability to analyze and optimize complete asset health can be severely compromised.  Companies face the challenge of not having comprehensive asset information and maintenance history, which can lead to increased risk, both financially and to public safety.  These challenges lead directly to the need for integration between GIS and SAP.  Successful integration of these two powerful applications truly exceeds the sum of their parts. Our real-world experience of working with many customers in various industries, allows us to use a wealth of knowledge by leveraging our proven framework and methodologies to help deliver consistent results and benefits.

Subscribe to our Newsletter below and stay tuned on the future GIS blog posts focusing on topics such as: Data Maintenance and Data Integrity, Influence on Planning and Scheduling, Mobility, Spatial Analysis, and Material Traceability.

About the Authors: The GIS blog post series is a collaborative insight channel, brought to you by Vesta’s GIS experts:

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