Leaving legacy utilities and telecommunications GIS in the past

Utility and communications industries are experiencing a rapid change in the technology they use. These industries have seen an increase in the implementation of fiber deployments, distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS), microgeneration, electric vehicles (EVs) and IoT devices. The leaders of these organizations are under increasing pressure to keep up with these deployments and upgrade their legacy systems to increase efficiency and unlock new business value and opportunities. To adapt to these changes, companies must prepare for evolving requirements.

How does legacy GIS hurt communications and utilities organizations?

Legacy and pure-play GIS solutions are not equipped to meet the changing dynamics of today’s utilities and telecommunications environment, such as supporting distributed energy resources (DERs). This drives the market toward a significant replacement phase to meet these new demands. Inaccurate network models negatively affect all business workflows, which causes inefficiency and inferior decision-making. Utilities and communication organizations are quickly realizing how inaccurate physical networks from legacy GIS solutions can limit their opportunities to optimize, resulting in poor service and delivery and decreased resiliency.

While traditional or homegrown legacy GIS and geospatial solutions have served some companies well in the past, the liabilities are starting to stack up. Intelligent planning and operations and digital transformation are being stalled. High-quality networks are required to move networks forward.

GIS solutions contribute to network health

Many legacy GIS solutions have been customized to handle the complexities of network asset management, but vertical-specific geospatial asset information goes beyond legacy GIS solutions to improve business lifecycles and value chains. The easiest way to manage and maintain large, spatially distributed networks of physical assets is to have an up-to-date, topology-centric physical model that can be accessed by different users in the most convenient method (web, desktop or mobile).

Implementing modern, vertical-specific GIS solutions means more availability and reliability of network assets, and increased network availability plays a positive role in integration of multiple business workflows. Assets physically represented on the network can also be digitally represented by a network model and topology, which are used for every aspect of utilities and communications operations. ADMS (in the operations space to reduce network losses) and the EAM space (to locate and maintain the asset management process) are some applications where the network model is reused.

Knowledge of asset health is another growing need. Utilities and communications organizations should look for a vertical geospatial asset management solution to provide a full digital twin of their networks, assets and surrounding environments. To bridge the divide between IT and business departments, companies need robust digital twin models to build out intelligent operations.

Fully digital GIS-based asset management solutions that support workflows from the field to the office with desktop, web and mobile support are now available. These solutions are meant to help organizations integrate to meet and exceed network requirements, providing a single source of truth for all physical assets in network topology. When looking to implement new systems, companies should look at solutions with composable architecture and API-driven functionality to easily integrate with other core systems to create value and increase efficiency and resiliency.

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