SADA Systems, Google's Largest Maps Reseller, Takes The Plunge Into ISV Territory With New App

SADA Systems, one of Google's largest services partners with a knack for finding itself on the vanguard of cloud-enabled business strategies, has teamed with a civil engineering firm to create a unique solution for managing public infrastructure assets.

With its first software product, called Atom, the Los Angeles-based solution provider is expanding its rapidly growing business into the ISV realm, an increasingly prevalent trend in the channel as partners look to differentiate their practices by adding intellectual property to the mix.

SADA, the largest Google Maps reseller for the last three years (while vying for its third Maps Global Partner of the Year award), in developing Atom, tapped Google Cloud's analytics and machine learning capabilities and new Google location services that branch beyond Maps' traditional functionality, said Patrick Skoglund, who runs SADA's Maps business.

[Related: Facebook Makes Its First Channel Play, Cloud Superstar SADA Among First Workplace Partners]

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SADA's app, built using Google Maps APIs, will help Chicago-based Collins Engineers to assess, manage and maintain the structural integrity of bridges, signs, footpaths and other infrastructure that public agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to upkeep – funds sometimes misspent through inefficiencies.

Google Maps location services make possible the accumulation of anonymized data from Android phones to build models for estimating traffic and integrating with other mapping providers, like Esri, "while taking advantage of everything that makes Google unique in the mapping space," Skoglund said.

Collins Engineers has been in business for more than three decades and specializes in transportation infrastructure management. The company works with transit departments across the country to identify assets and make sure they are kept on a proper maintenance schedule, with the most crucial jobs getting the highest priority – a tough job considering most of those agencies use a mishmash of solutions for managing structures and staff.

Atom – available on desktops, mobile phones and tablets – integrates those many solutions, aggregating data and incorporating analytics, reporting and advanced machine learning techniques for risk assessment, Skoglund said.

The system not only tracks public assets and assesses their maintenance needs, but it can then distribute work orders and handle fleet management by helping crews navigate to those locations.

Atom will be on display this week in Washington, D.C. at the Transportation Research Board 96th Annual Meeting.

The solution provider first deployed the system's framework in Chicago, where more than 700 users are running Atom to manage several billion dollars of construction projects. SADA and Collins are now in talks with agencies throughout 35 states, Skoglund said.

Google's engineering and product teams cooperated closely with SADA during the development of the product, he told CRN.

In the modern channel landscape, where partners must differentiate themselves to thrive, developing software helps a solution provider like SADA plant a flag in an industry vertical, which is why the line is now blurring between VARs and ISVs.

"Instead of constantly asking Google for leads and asking for companies that need support, we want to make a larger claim that this is our model of partnering and penetrating a space," Skoglund said.

At first, it was challenging competing for development talent with tech giants. But SADA now employs developers from Google, Yahoo! and Apple, he said, and its current crop of developers help the company recruit new ones.

SADA has been expanding its technical acumen by recruiting developers from around the world and bringing them to its headquarters in Southern California. And the company's growing stock of development resources support its services initiatives, Skoglund told CRN.

"The product team enables our services teams," he said.

Google Cloud is the backbone of the company's efforts to develop its own intellectual property.

"Google is focused on being a ubiquitous platform," Skoglund said. "We want to hone in on those verticals."

That's a dramatic shift from integration and managed services, one that makes it likely SADA will launch its own channel one day, allowing other Maps resellers to bring Atom to market.