SAP, Esri Beat the Clock With Native Integrations

SAP and its long-standing partner Esri have developed a native product integration that debuted this week at the at the Esri User Conference currently under way in San Diego.

The companies have been collaborating on projects since 1999, due to the significant overlap in their respective customer bases. Some 60 percent of SAP’s asset management customers use Esri’s mapping technology, Ashish Sahu, director of product marketing for SAP HANA Predictive, Text and Spatial Analytics, told CRM Buyer.

Customers previously had to look elsewhere for the systems integration work, he said. “Our customers have been asking, ‘why don’t you deliver to us an integrated product so we don’t have to do the work or use third-party connectors?’ So that is what we did.”

SAP and Esri began working on the native integration last year, he added.

The integration is between Esri’s ArcGIS Online system and SAP Lumira, SAP’s agile visualization product. Generally speaking, it allows users to use the existing Esri ArcGIS server and online Esri maps inside SAP’s business intelligence tools to create maps for displaying and tracking data.

Integration options also are available between related products: SAP BusinessObjects BI and Esri geospatial services, including Galigeo BI for Location Analytics for SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence software; Integeo Map Intelligence for SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence; Centigon CMaps Analytics and Esri Maps for SAP BusinessObjects BI.

A Typical Use Case

A utility in Norway that wanted to map and identify where its underground pipes were in location to vulnerable buildings was an early adopter of the integrated product, said Steve Benner, Esri SAP Alliance Manager.

“These are old cast-iron pipes, and the purpose was to see how many were located near buildings and then rate them on the potential impact should there be an accident,” he told CRM Buyer. “So a pipe close to a school, for example, would mean it was a high priority. The utility used SAP to analyze how many of these pipes were within a meter of a house or school.”

From 3 Hours to 3 Seconds

Esri customers and SAP customers have been using the respective products for years to conduct such analyses, but without the native integration the process was time-consuming. The aforementioned example might have taken three hours to complete, Benner said. With the integration, it took three seconds.

“You can see the value of the integration, especially when you realize how these people work in the field,” he remarked.

“A person might get a request for a map that showed all the pipes within a meter of a house. That person would say, ‘OK, come back in three hours — or after lunch or tomorrow — to get your answer,’ Benner said. “But then the next request would be to see the same data, but for all pipes that are a meter-and-a-half away from the house.”

Again the data processing would crank up and three hours later produce the output.

A three-second processing time obviously is far more efficient and effective, Benner said.

The flexibility offers more options to users who might want to try new configurations with a data set but otherwise wouldn’t have the time, said SAP’s Sahu.

“These are busy people — they don’t have the time to go outside of the application, as they had to before the integration, use another service, pull in the data, get used to an unfamiliar workflow, etc.,” he maintained.

“With our integration, users don’t have to leave the application at all,” Sahu pointed out.

Future Changes

With a good 15 years of collaboration between the two companies, Benner expects the process will continue even with the integration now in hand.

“We are getting a lot of requested user features at our conference,” he said. “I expect the next set of changes will be coming from our ecosystem and partners.”

Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.

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