Towns and Cities

The Spatial DNA Platform: An Introduction

An introduction to the Spatial DNA platform (formerly CityConnect iO): a no-code integration solution for towns and cities to help teams transform inefficiency into innovation.




Transcript: Hi, this is Rob Hewitt from Spatial DNA. I'm the Director of Global Business Development here today to walk you through an introductory session on what Spatial DNA (formerly CityConnect iO) is our no-code integration platform. 

So firstly, you need to understand that Spatial DNA has spatial included in everything we do; we connect very tightly with any GIS program and can leverage that spatial data where and when needed. We have built a no-code platform so that you can configure versus code your work. And really, we're here to de-risk integration for our customers, our vendor partners, and system implementers alike.

Really, what we do is connect your systems in order to transform your work. And we connect these systems to simplify the work-life for users by getting the data into the applications that they're working in so that the data is where it needs to be when it needs to be there in order to make better decisions, thus transforming inefficiency into innovation. 

The Spatial DNA platform

Note that Spatial DNA likely applies to facilities or asset management in manufacturing and healthcare. ThinkMaps is our mapping product that we have built for Salesforce users. ARINC Connect is our aviation product. Peopleflow is our IoT product that helps you track people or things through space. And Spatial DNA, of course, is our integration platform which crosses over all of the verticals that we're talking about today

Some of the frustrations our customers experience -- and some of your customers experience and might say to you -- are shown here. Where the data exchange is done through spreadsheets and email chains, there is typically a business process that can be made more efficient with integration. Legacy systems are a big problem, particularly in local government. And staff with key knowledge of these systems are retiring or otherwise disappearing. And lastly, everyone wants their services online, with their information presentable in real-time. 

If you think about how you work and your expectations of technology, you realize that you want your work life to mirror your consumer life. Applications are easy to use, they connect to the data or other apps you need when you need it. Customers typically start their digital experience improvement through automating processes at the departmental level by updating their line of business applications. They then want to connect the line of business systems into a business process to automate their work across their organization. And lastly, by releasing staff from the mundane activities around the data transfers and feeding paper-based business processes, they have more time to work on their actual jobs, solving problems, being creative and leveraging ready data to aid their analysis and decisions.

Risk and Cost in Integration

The software vendor or implementer has a challenge automating and simplifying the user’s experience in your application and connecting into new cross-departmental workflows. But there are several problems in trying to address the integration issue: 

  1. Requirements are vague; for example, “Connect my work management system to my ERP,” But the customer expectations are very high. 

  2. Use cases are either undefined or unclear. What, how and why do you want to move this information between systems? What business process or operational need is this driving?

  3. All of the above plus incomplete or unpublished APIs for connected systems is a lack of clarity that adds up to risk for the implementer. Risk is costed into any proposal.

Having to move across multiple applications to collate the data required to make decisions means that a human is the integrator of information. There is lost money for training and licensing, as well as time due to context switching as a user moves between applications. Integration enables digital transformation. 

We build bridges between applications: that is our focus and passion. 

Your teams are empowered with the data they need to make decisions in the application that they use the majority of the time. We built the Spatial DNA platform to enable connections across four major application types: community development ERP, work asset management, CRM, and customer information systems on the utility billing side. We can tap in directly to Esri for your GIS for spatial data that we use to enrich or validate messages content as it flies between applications. And while messages are moving between applications, our wiretap function enables us to provide or profile your ever-changing transactional data in the dashboarding app of your choice. 

The Spatial DNA platform connects to your systems through the application-specific connectors, we have worked with dozens of systems like the ones listed here. But connecting to a new application is a simple, straightforward process leveraging our no-code platform. 

Automations focus on business processes supported by data exchange between two or more systems. For example, you might leverage our Master Data Sync automation to synchronize employees, vendors, equipment,material, your list of accounts, general ledger properties, or addresses to your work and asset management, CRM or community development systems. 

The Spatial DNA platform is supported as a managed service. We operate the platform on your behalf, monitoring your message flow, fixing or updating any issues, implementing minor enhancements to ensure your integrations adapt as your application configurations evolve. And we perform an annual update of the core integration platform. 

Our common message model is the special sauce. It is a lightweight, independent data model that allows us to map transactional data from each system and quickly transform it for consumption by other systems. What does a common message model actually mean for you? It enables you to upgrade or replace any application without breaking your integration. You can enrich your data with location or spatial content and context. For example, routing messages to different administrative areas, and applying different rules or validations. Based on administrative area, we can add extra intelligence in the form of rules and validations that are not otherwise available in your application and basically simplify your integrations with a workflow-based no-code platform. 

An automation is the data exchange portion of your business process. It is where we apply data mapping rules from your system information model to our common message model. We also apply business rules as data is transitioned to the common message model, or even across business objects in a common message model. And data enrichment enables third system lookups of information for validation, such as standardizing an address against your GIS, or to add spatial context. Business rules can configure message properties such as an assignment of work to a particular group. 

Explanation of the Spatial DNA business model

It starts with the Spatial DNA platform subscription, we have a few additions, but suffice to say that we can deploy in the cloud in either community or cloud options or on-prem with an enterprise agreement. 

Here you will see a list of our 14 templated automations divided up over CRM, CIS enterprise asset management or work management, and community development. There is a license per automation and it's important to note that as you add to automations, you will see a declining trend in cost. We want to incent the use of these automations across your organization. Each automation requires a one time configuration and setup. We have a setup range for all automations with pricing dependent on the following characteristics:

  • API maturity: We often need to be able to search for new transactions through the API. Some systems don't have this capability, which requires us to query a web service or database interface table to delve into the database audit tables directly. 

  • Business Process when implementing a new work asset or facility management system, for example, the asset management business process may be moving from finance to another line of business. This can create issues around business rules and validations to enable the integration, really a change management issue that takes more time and effort. 

  • Staff knowledge for each system we are connecting to. Having someone that understands how to configure a system we are connecting to is very helpful. 

  • The number of automation instances deployed, if we connect a citizen portal to work management and parks and rec and permitting, we have done the CRM connection already. So that is reused.

All of this adds up to a managed integration service. What is a managed integration service? 

Managed Integration Service

The customer delegates the responsibility of the integration platform and automation to Spatial DNA. We assume responsibility for operations to a level of service agreement. What do we provide as part of this?

  • Monitored automations:  we catch issues and log them as support tickets.

  • Break fix support: we resolve issues we catch or escalate those to the customer that we need to support to resolve.

  • Annual enhancements: we budget some time to support minor changes or adaptations to the integration workflows. Sometimes it's an extra field for changing business rules, or inserting additional validation.

  • And we have annual upgrades: we upgrade the integration platform on an annual basis and make sure that everything is working effectively. 

Lastly, we all want you to build and run unmanaged integrations on the Spatial DNA platform. Obviously, they are not covered in our service level agreement, but we will coordinate with you through the annual upgrade to ensure that they continue to function. 

You might be wondering, how do we engage with spatial DNA? Well call us; we'd love to hear from you. You should reach out as soon as you know you or one of your customers needs to integrate or interface with one or more systems. 

In our next discussion, we're going to be talking to you about your specific use cases. We have a number of use cases that we already have identified across our customer base that might provide some inspiration. One or more of these may be applicable to you. Or you may have a unique situation that we haven't come across yet. 

We're looking forward to collaborating with you and your team. Here's our contact information for the APAC market, please contact Sudharshan go plan and for any other location, please feel free to reach out to me, Rob Hewitt or Todd Lewis. Thank you for tuning in. And we hope you have a very spatial day.

If you'd like more information about Spatial DNA or application integration, you are welcome to book a free consultation with us.

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