Customer Project Report: Southern California Edison

SAP GIS Integration with Smallworld Business Integrator (SBI)

At Southern California Edison (SCE) ITS Informationstechnik Service GmbH (ITS) was subcontracted by General Electric (GE) to implement the integration of SAP PM with the Smallworld GIS. The main part of the backend integration is the synchronization of asset data updates from SAP to GIS. The connectivity of substations on the circuit level is synchronized in the opposite direction from GIS to SAP. Some of this information is also sent to a third system via SAP PI.

Photograph shows (from left to right):
Mike Glanz (SCE), Robert Lilley (GE), Joseph Costa (SCE), Steve Teran (SCE), Christian Eckert (ITS)

Initial Situation

SCE is one of the largest electric utilities in U.S., serving nearly 14 million people in a 50,000 square-mile area in Central, Coastal and Southern California, excluding the City of Los Angeles and certain other cities. One of SCE's key projects in 2009/2010 was the improvement of their business processes with the implementation of SAP PM for the maintenance of SCE's assets. Formerly DPIS was the system of record for substations, circuits and their connectivity hierarchy, and this system was to be decommissioned after the rollout of SAP PM.

Project Kick-Off

Before the project was launched there were multiple systems with asset information, including the Smallworld GIS, which was already in production for a couple of years. One of the main goals of the project was to minimize the number of systems by moving most of the asset data to the two key systems, SAP PM and the Smallworld GIS.


The project started with a workshop in Los Angeles. In this workshop SCE's GIS and SAP teams informed GE and an SBI specialist from ITS about their requirements for the SAP-GIS interfaces. SCE had already prepared detailed descriptions of their business requirements, the specifications of the interfaces GIS to SAP (IN_6086) and SAP to GIS (IN_8386). After the workshop SCE decided to use the Smallworld Business Integrator (SBI). GE and ITS were ordered to implement the two interfaces.

The integration of SAP with the Smallworld GIS was implemented with the standard SBI 4.1(0) without the usage of the SBI Monitor of ITS. Because SAP initially didn't contain any data there was no requirement for initial linking nor the consistency checking. All the data, which was initally loaded into SAP with CSV files was also loaded into the GIS by using SAP dump files. The linkage was derived by the usage of the internal SAP IDs within the Smallworld GIS.

Interface SAP to GIS

To facilitate the transformation of the data coming from SAP to the GIS an intermediate datastore was used to extract the main business object types, which were substations, circuits, structures and equipments (with different kind of equipments like transformers, switches, interrupters, capacitor banks, fuses, network protectors, reclosers, regulators). For some business objects the information is distributed within its functional location and the built-in equipments. Within SAP the RFC to retrieve the information was enhanced to aggregate the information sent to the GIS.

Data change

Whenever a functional location or an equipment is created or changed the event creates an entry in the transaction table, which is picked up during the synchronization process to insert a new GIS object or update the linked object in the intermediate dataset.


During the synchronization the data is checked for mandatory fields. In SAP there are no definitions for mandatory fields. In case that an object coming down from SAP to the GIS does not respect the rules defined within the SBI enhancements the insert or update is rejected and the offending business object is written to the log file. The SBI administrator informs the SAP team that the missing information has to be completed and with the next synchronization the updated business object will again send down to the GIS. In case that the updated object does not exist in the GIS it will be created, which is also tracked in the log file. The logging was enhanced to track all successful and unsuccessful transmissions in different log files. Tracebacks are tracked in a separate log file. This allows the SBI administrator to concentrate on the issues during the synchronization.

Post process

After the synchronization from SAP to GIS, where the data changes are written to the synchronization alternative of the intermediate dataset, a post process is launched which updates the electric dataset and validates the data changes. By the usage of quality assurance tools the data capture users are informed about GIS objects to be completed within the GIS.

Interface GIS to SAP

SCE maintains asset connectivity information in the Smallworld GIS, where the network tracing facilities of Smallworld are available. When a user makes changes in the Smallworld GIS that are relevant for SAP, these updates are collected in an intermediate GIS dataset. E.g. when a part of a circuit is changed, the connectivity information of circuits in the intermediate datasets is updated automatically.

Special SAP function for mass data

The standard synchronization mechanisms of SBI propagate these changes from the GIS to SAP. In addition, a third system receives these updates via a dedicated SAP PI HTTP service. To improve the performance of the updates to SAP a special SAP function was implemented, which performs up to 1000 changes (source and destination substation) to circuits at once. This is faster than the standard approach of calling a function for each single circuit.

Integration with Job Scheduler

Design Manager's Job Scheduler is used to launch tasks on a regular basis from a dedicated Smallworld Image. Jobs for the two interfaces "SAP to GIS" and "GIS to SAP" were added to the Job Scheduler. Both interfaces normally run every night now.


Even though many companies (such as SCE, GE, ITS, flowTools, Infosys, Deloitte, Ubisense) were involved in the project, and there were a number of change requests, all our milestones of this ambitious intercontinental project with its challenging time schedule were completed as promised to the customer. Now SBI synchronizes changes to SCE's millions of assets between SAP and GIS. With the integration the Smallworld GIS is now not only a data consumer, but also an important data distributor for other systems to improve the SCE business processes.


ITS Group

The ITS Group is specialized in the development and implementation of innovative and practically-orientated geographic information and business management systems. On the basis of centralized data storage, solutions by the ITS offer the staff in a company quick and flexible access to all relevant information.

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