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As an engineering organization acquires tools, they also acquire essentially screens. The more screens a user has, the more likely he isn’t going to utilize them. This then doesn’t bring into the question the tools that were acquired and not used necessarily, but potentially just too many tools for the end user. If every tool is using a map to display data for instance, how many mapping front ends are required? As engineering tool platforms move off the desktop, tools in essence just produce data. Some tools are better at displaying the data and having a quality UI, but that is lost in multiple tool aspect as many times the visual is for management and the actual data is for engineering.
Instead, organizations may want to start looking at tools as modules. Each module serves a purpose to create a set of data that feeds a single user display. This approach may not work for every tool, but for tools utilizing mapping to visualize data is allows the most flexibility and control in a single interface tool. Why should you need to separate your drive data display from your geolocated data, your switch trace from your coverage layers, and on and on. This approach allows for a best in class purchase for different modules, no single reliance on one tool, a phased growth approach that can be customized based on the organization and not the tool vendor, and most importantly control over the data. Controlling the UI for an organization allows for agile deployments and customized development that is not available from tool vendors. It also allows organizations to control a single interaction with a tool vendor rather than attempting to have two separate tool vendors work together. The final cost savings comes from the ability to evaluate multiple tool vendors for data inputs without having to train front end users on the new tools rather switching data generation engines.
The ideal organization has a single platform to visualize data. This method for long term tool growth into a single converging platform will allow a carrier to add customization while controlling the modules needed for network analysis and improved customer focus.