Driving Business Integration with GIS

GIS professionals should take the lead on SAP/GIS integration projects.  It’s good for business, and it’s good for GIS. 
GIS teams often ask me how to integrate mapping features into SAP enterprise applications. The question usually comes up right after they find out that their IT department is moving all legacy business data sources to SAP.
Unfortunately, this “who moved my cheese” scenario often results in the GIS team simply reestablishing links to the same old data. In doing so, they are essentially paving the same old cow paths, rather than seeing the move to SAP as an opportunity to make the processes that drive the business more efficient.

Leading an innovation-focused collaboration with the SAP team and business stakeholders can deliver productivity-enhancing business process improvements, and a higher profile for the GIS team within the enterprise.

Good for Business; Good for GIS

GIS is moving out of the back office. While people used to come to the GIS department for maps, today they expect maps to come to them. It’s not enough to wait for users to come knocking with requests. Innovative businesses are embedding live maps and location analytics directly into SAP applications to improve workflows, productivity, and decision-making.  You can use real-time maps and location analytics in SAP mobile apps for field workers, embed them into SAP dashboards and data visualization tools, and integrate them into a wide range of core SAP Business Suite applications.
But spatially enabling SAP introduces change, and change never comes easily. GIS professionals should work closely with their SAP counterparts and business users to explain and promote the benefits of integrating live maps and location analytics, and then provide the expertise needed to ensure that those integration projects succeed.
The resulting benefits aren’t just good for business. GIS/SAP integration is a win for the GIS team itself.

Leading the Charge
GIS professionals can and should be the catalyst and the champion for change. Now is the time to walk down the hall to the business team and start a conversation.
The key to success lies in figuring out how to work with the SAP team and with individual business units to build lasting alliances. Here’s how to get started.

So step out of the GIS department. Find new constituents. Then strategically redefine, reinvent, and rebuild your organization to deliver broader business value for relevance—and success.


For more on the business and technical details of bringing live maps and location analytics to SAP, visit or send your question or comments to

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