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The Value of Enterprise GIS


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A surprising number of communications companies still document their network in disparate proprietary systems like CAD. This makes it difficult to obtain information needed to make decisions fast and stay competitive. This paper demonstrates how an enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS)–based system is a better approach by enabling a centralized data store; multiple simultaneous editors; flexibility and configurability; standard customization environments; open integration framework; desktop, Web, mobile and cloud deployment options; and rich data interoperability.

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The Value of Enterprise GIS

  1. 1. The Value of Enterprise GIS Executive summary A surprising number of communications companies still document their network in disparate proprietary systems like CAD. This makes it difficult to obtain information needed to make decisions fast and stay competitive. This paper demonstrates how an enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS)–based system is a better approach by enabling a centralized data store; multiple simultaneous editors; flexibility and configurability; standard customization environments; open integration framework; desktop, Web, mobile and cloud deployment options; and rich data interoperability. 998-2095-06-12-12AR0
  2. 2. Summary Executive Summary . ................................................................................... p 1 Introduction ................................................................................................. p 2 Harnessing Enterprise GIS technology ......................................................... p 4 What does ‘enterprise’ mean?...................................................................... p 5 Enterprise GIS technology............................................................................ p 6 Enterprise GIS mind set................................................................................ p 8 Enterprise GIS technology in action.............................................................. p 9 Conclusion................................................................................................... p 13
  3. 3. The Value of Enterprise GIS Executive summary An Enterprise GIS centralizes network asset information in a single, standardized GIS database, allowing cross-departmental data sharing and making it easier for processes throughout the Communication Service Provider (CSP) enterprise to make decisions fast and stay competitive. It offers multiple simultaneous editors that permit multiple users to continue their work flows. It is highly configurable; and customization, when needed, can be performed by non-specialized developers. It easily interfaces with enterprisewide operations and business support systems, reducing cost of ownership and optimizing sustainability. It is accessible by authorized persons in the office and in the field to deliver the most accurate reflection of the network. It is interoperable with other data systems, importing and exporting different data types without conversion needed. All of these process efficiencies result in reduced errors and saved time. To optimize the time and cost savings potential of an Enterprise GIS, the CSP wants to instill an enterprise mindset that will take advantage of the GIS as a central resource for work flows involving data maintenance, analysis and reporting, planning, engineering, decision support and operational awareness. Both private-sector service providers and community-operated telecommunications networks report the conversion of information from drawings, spreadsheets, sketches and even human memory banks to an Enterprise GIS creates one big, and utilitarian, picture instead of numerous small pictures. It makes updated and accurate information available to everyone who needs it within the organization. These organizations concur that the Enterprise GIS helps them achieve efficiency that was not previously possible. GIS-based tools working with the central geospatial database streamline planning and design, helping to identify the best options for reliable network performance and expansion. The resulting flexibility, responsiveness and accuracy improve customer satisfaction and yield a distinct competitive advantage for the CSP. White paper | 01
  4. 4. The Value of Enterprise GIS Introduction Competition has become the distinguishing factor in the broadband market. Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are experiencing an exponential increase in demand for broadband and wireless services. Each day, more and more people with smart phones, tablet P.C.s and other devices crave rich media content, such as photos, audio and video — and require greater connectivity at faster speeds. This growth is being fed by federal stimulus programs: in the U.S., $7.2 billion has been set aside for various broadband expansion initiatives. Similar programs are in place in Australia, New Zealand and Europe — with more expected in developing nations. Yet, while demand increases, the competitive landscape changes too. With broadband expansion and triple play, everyone is a competitor. Telephone and cable companies offer voice, data and television. Utilities are leveraging existing infrastructure to deliver additional services, and their market position will only get stronger with the increased roll out of advanced smart grid communications networks. Today, a CSP must have advanced technology to support planning, construction, sales, marketing and operation of communications networks to stay competitive in this dynamic market. White paper | 02
  5. 5. The Value of Enterprise GIS
  6. 6. The Value of Enterprise GIS Harnessing Enterprise GIS technology Enterprise GIS solutions provide technology to help CSPs stay agile and ahead of their competition by: efficiently tracking network asset information in a centralized data store; planning and analyzing new construction; pushing data into the field; and making better decisions through improved operational awareness. Non-GIS systems, like CAD, typically store information in proprietary file formats in different locations that are accessible only by proprietary systems. As a result, these closed systems make it difficult to obtain information needed to make decisions fast and stay competitive. White paper | 04
  7. 7. The Value of Enterprise GIS What does ‘enterprise’ mean? When used in a high-technology reference, the phrase ‘Enterprise GIS’ denotes two concepts. Obviously, the technology must be able to support an enterprise deployment; those not fully positioned to work at the enterprise level will only do part of the job. As important, the organization must be willing to adopt an enterprise mind set across business processes and work flows. White paper | 05
  8. 8. The Value of Enterprise GIS Enterprise GIS technology The cornerstones of Enterprise GIS include: 1. Centralized data store in an open RDBMS 2. Multiple simultaneous editors 3. Configurability 4. ustomization via standard development C environments 5. trong integration framework based on open IT S standards 6. Federated Figure above. A centralized database and rich, thematic maps show the big picture instantly. You can easily configure maps to meet the needs of the different people accessing your data. 7. Data interoperability Multiple Simultaneous Editors — An Enterprise Centralized — A surprising number of GIS allows multiple simultaneous editors without communications companies are still documenting locking the database from editing for other users. No their network with file-based technology, storing check in or check out is required, so work flows are information in multiple formats such as CAD optimized and backlog is reduced. drawings, spreadsheets, Visio diagrams and paper — all scatter across the internal network. Even worse, Configurable — Most non-enterprise systems vital information about the network and its assets is require extensive customizations to alter the data stored in human memory, and will disappear when model or add functionality; these proprietary software those valued employees leave or retire. alterations can significantly increase the total cost of ownership and limit the CSP’s ability to respond A complete, up-to-date centralized asset and to changing technology. An Enterprise GIS is network repository is necessary for the CSP to highly configurable, using GUI-driven work flows to analyze how the spatial location of its network add, remove or alter functionality. Modeling a new relates to a prospective customer and to respond communications technology can be as simple as competitively. An Enterprise GIS gives the CSP installing a new card at an ODF when using a flexible a single version of the truth — a single store for data model configurable with a GUI. all asset and network data managed by a single application to view all, query, edit, analyze, manage, and plan work flows. White paper | 06
  9. 9. The Value of Enterprise GIS Customization — Most non-Enterprise GISs rely Data interoperability — Granted, not all CSP on proprietary languages that very few coders network data belongs in a GIS, so the GIS database use. When a customization is required, the widely must be able to seamlessly share data with and accepted, IT-standard development languages import data from other systems as needed. used by an Enterprise GIS allow the CSP to utilize a Enterprise GIS can manage dozens of different data non-specialized development vendor and avoid long types simultaneously, without needing conversion — waiting times and premium pricing. allowing a ‘consensus’ approach to questions that cannot be addressed with information in a single, silo Integration — True enterprise systems can system. seamlessly integrate with other business systems to effectively support planning, provisioning, fulfillment and service assurance, while reducing total cost of ownership and maintenance. Only leading technologies based on open IT standards will allow such full integration and sustainable effectiveness. Federated — To make competitive management and workflow decisions, the CSP must be able to access communications network information where and when it is needed: in a central management office, in the field while searching for buried assets on site, on the road supporting sales and marketing efforts, or in the boardroom planning a future system expansion. As it stands today, the Enterprise GIS is the only technology that allows access by authorized personnel to the CSP’s single version of the truth — the centralized asset and network data store — via desktop, mobile and Web portals. They can efficiently and effectively view, query, analyze and edit wherever they are, knowing they have the most accurate reflection of the real world. White paper | 07
  10. 10. The Value of Enterprise GIS Enterprise GIS mind set To fully realize the potential of an Enterprise GIS, a CSP must be willing to establish the GIS as a central resource for work flows involving data maintenance, analysis and reporting, planning, engineering, decision support, and operational awareness. Data maintenance, analysis and reporting are all interrelated. Effective analysis and reporting rely on accurate asset and network data that results from efficient data maintenance performed in the GIS. Fortunately, Enterprise GIS is designed with configurable business rules, flexible data models and seamless multi-user access, so most data integrity and network maintenance tasks occur ‘on the fly.’ Tasks such as creating thematic maps, traces, circuit Figure above. Enterprise GIS network management for connectivity viewing and alarm notification. planning, reports and schematics are all performed on the CSP’s single version of the truth. White paper | 08
  11. 11. The Value of Enterprise GIS Enterprise GIS technology in action Below are three organizations that have realized operating benefits by implementing Schneider Electric’s ArcFM™ Fiber Manager solution to manage their communications networks — • CN Telecom Services, LLC is a competitive R broadband service provider delivering all-digital and high-definition video, high-speed Internet and premium voice services to more than 500,000 subscribers across six markets. Its fiber networks had been documented through various systems, including CAD maps, stick drawings, splice diagrams and splice sheets. “For all the service territories, there must have been hundreds, even thousands of CAD documents,” recalled Chris the time and labor to visit the field to identify and Augustine, RCN network engineering manager. confirm assets. The Enterprise GIS model is easily configured out of the box, so we can do much of RCN looked for better solution — a GIS-based it ourselves. The segregated tracing allows us to solution that could tell network personnel where the monitor two different networks — separately, in one fiber was physically located, how much fiber was system. In addition, we can easily track customers available, and how many nodes there were for any and equipment affected by an outage anywhere hubsite. This information is necessary to streamline along our network — from the MegaPop to the asset management and customer service. The customer.” company chose Schneider Electric’s ArcFM Enterprise GIS, in large part because it is based on Augustine summarized, “The biggest advantage the industry-leading Esri ArcGIS® platform, which we have found in this system is having a consistent it found to be less complicated for managing and database that tells us where our network is and creating fiber facilities data than other GIS products. how it is connected. It gives us the ability to put that Now, each RCN service territory uses a common information in the hands of everyone who needs it and centralized network infrastructure with a single within RCN.” database, making updated, accurate information available to everyone. • he City of Peoria, Arizona, is a dynamic desert city T of more than 150,000 residents. The city’s traffic “We can locate fiber assets from our office,” engineering division oversees the operation of a reported Augustine. “We don’t have to spend fiber telecommunications network that had been White paper | 9
  12. 12. The Value of Enterprise GIS documented with various types of CAD drawings, have required reference to several repositories of spreadsheets, word processing documents and data and drawings prior to the implementation — even hand-drawn sketches. Often, information a process subject to significant error. Now, fiber updates were based on human memory. To add engineers can clarify a circuit question in seconds to its complexity, most of the network was located with the application’s Fiber Trace tools, while underground for weather-related and regulatory leveraging auto-generated schematics of splicing reasons. As the city grew, it realized it needed to diagrams. improve operations and system troubleshooting. The mobile component of Fiber Manager is “We had a growing fiber infrastructure and all of particularly beneficial in managing the utility’s our information was on different types of media, expanding telecommunications system — allowing such as drawings and as-builts. We were looking communications and splicing crews to see available to capture all of this information and document infrastructure and dynamically create reports at it in one central location,” explained Ron Amaya, splice enclosures. traffic engineer for the city. “We can see longterm benefits — increased accuracy due to one Improved decision support is one of the most centralized database and elimination of hard valuable benefits the CSP can realize with Enterprise copies.” GIS implementation. It helps answer key questions about the network, geography, customer and Referring to the city’s underground facilities, Amaya competition: Where is the network? What is its explained, “Knowing where those conduits are capacity? Where should the next mile of fiber be located can prevent potential bottlenecks. This built? How many homes that could provide revenue tool has helped us know which types of conduits are being passed? What does the competition offer in and sizes are out there and exactly where they that area? Where is the biggest growth occurring or are located. We have one big picture instead the greatest customer loss expected? Where is that of numerous smaller has helped us fault that needs field crew attention, and is it in an achieve efficiencies that were not previously area of recurring faults? Does the customer service possible.” rep know what services can be offered to a potential customer, and when? • he Eugene Water Electric Board (EWEB) is T Oregon’s largest customer-owned utility, providing Geospatial databases, the core of an Enterprise GIS, electricity to more than 86,000 homes, business, can readily answer these business questions. Adding and schools in Eugene. EWEB’s Enterprise demographic data to serviceability analysis lends a GIS stores fiber optic network information higher degree of revenue confidence to expansion previously held in various types of CAD drawings, decisions. Integration with remote fiber testing (RFT) spreadsheets, word processing files, and paper systems allows real-time fault detection. Dispatchers documents. Tracing a single fiber circuit might know exactly where to send crews and what fibers White paper | 10
  13. 13. The Value of Enterprise GIS should be spliced first to restore the most important customers. If repairs are lengthy, confidently analyze if other diverse routes are available using system tracing and analysis tools. You can be certain you are looking at the most accurate and up-to-date network model available. The benefits of improved decision support are so significant that some CSPs are now creating Geomarketing departments. Their task: put the vast amount of spatial and network data in the GIS to work to grow revenue. The ability to use Enterprise GIS to combine usage data, call traffic, and network locations with external data such as demographics Figure above. Realistic presentation of splice locations assist in decision support. With an accurate, life-like representation of network connectivity, you can make the right connections without incident. and market trends, makes this practical and rewarding for the CSP seeking a competitive advantage. Planning and engineering can be managed with a GIS-based planning tool, cutting down on redundancy and errors associated with inefficient work flows. GIS-based design tools work within the GIS, simultaneously building a construction sketch and a list of materials, equipment, and labor costs while you sketch. Further, engineering tools can be embedded for radio network planning, coax RF analysis, and design assistance to allow fast, accurate estimate generation within a single system. Customer service reps have up-to-date proposed design information so they can tell a customer in real time when service can be ready. The growth in FTTH work also lends to the business case. Automated layout tools and simple design work flows can produce fast initial cost estimates for the bid process, which is followed by detailed engineering work as needed. As-builts from the field Figure above. Find diverse paths by analyzing the centralized network model — your single version of the truth. White paper | 11
  14. 14. The Value of Enterprise GIS are synched with GIS design through the federated architecture, because the crew can take the job to the field in a mobile GIS application. When the job is done, the GIS is seamlessly updated with the click of a button. There’s no need for re-digitizing or manually entering network changes via redundant processes that introduce data errors. Operational awareness benefits hinge on two features: integration and data sharing. Integration with other operational support system (OSS) components, such as provisioning, fulfillment and service assurance must be based on the most complete, accurate and up-to-date information. With the centralized data store provided by Enterprise GIS, data accuracy is not a problem — unlike CAD and other silo systems that are notorious for inaccurate data that undermine these systems. And, Enterprise GIS facilitates this integration using open IT standards, lowering the overall total cost of ownership. Dissemination of the rich information stored in the GIS to other business units pays dividends. Marketing and sales is armed with the best network location information to create the most effective customer retention and acquisition campaigns — beating the competition. Those managing network planning activities can count on the GIS to be accurately updated as soon as the job is done. Dashboards deployed via Web applications get the right amount of data to executive and supervisors with no need for specialized software. White paper | 12
  15. 15. The Value of Enterprise GIS Conclusion The exponential increase in demand for broadband, dynamic competitive landscape and intense competition call for advanced enterprise systems. An Enterprise GIS gives the CSP the right information to make decisions quickly and confidently. The foundations of enterprise technology — a centralized data store; multiple simultaneous editors; flexibility and configurability; standard customization environments; open integration framework; desktop, Web, mobile and cloud deployment options; rich data interoperability — make that possible. Yet enterprise systems are more than just technology. A CSP must be willing to make the GIS central to business processes and work flows. The synergy of enterprise technology and enterprise mind set will yield benefits in data maintenance, analysis and reporting, planning, engineering, decision support and operational awareness work flows — and a distinct competitive advantage. White paper | 13
  16. 16. ©2012 Schneider Electric. All rights reserved. Schneider Electric USA, Inc. 4701 Royal Vista Circle Fort Collins, CO 80528 Phone: -866-537-1091 1 + (34) 9-17-14-70-02 Fax: 1-970-223-5577 July 2012