The Emerging Benefits Of Proper Integration In Evolving Utilities
By Jamal Syed, HEXstream president and CEO
Utilities are evolving. Their myriad systems, along with in-house and remote assets, are producing utility data at incredible rates. This is a good thing, but the tools and techniques we use to aggregate that data–to turn all that information into actionable insights–are oftentimes misaligned with one another. Asset-management systems can overlap with field-service systems. It is common to find gaps between parallel systems that result in blind spots for your operations. Within even the most efficient systems, inefficiencies persist.
As such, it is critical that we integrate our systems properly, creating a single source of truth for crew and asset data, for all operational data systems, while ensuring that downstream systems are properly updated so all teams have fast access to consistent, accurate information.
Smart integration enables us to reach this goal. But it can be tricky. Different data models are built with different structures that complicate their alignment. Similarly, many struggle with data granularity–data at difference levels in different systems; consider situations where crew-management teams in the field are working at the resource level while the Maximo team works at the broader project level, resulting in inconsistent master data and botched communications.
The benefits of proper integration exist for both utilities and other verticals–telecom and manufacturing, for example–which can rely on field-service teams in the same (complicated) manner that your local power company does. Both benefit from, say, reduced truck rolls. Both answer to stakeholders that appreciate reduced costs, less energy waste, more efficient operations.
From the perspective of the utility executive, your clients benefit from real-time data synchronization that enables more efficient operations. The data generated is accessible to all systems within the network, enabling immediate synchronization that eliminates wait times for crews and schedulers, who rely on quick updates to empower nimble operations to meet efficiency goals.
While proper system integration has always been important, it is becoming increasingly critical as our systems become more complex, and as the gains we can reap from our systems skyrocket. We can now develop smarter geographic-mapping strategies and achieve fully integrated Geographic Information Systems (as HEXstream recently built for global utility ATCO). I will dive deeper into those projects in my next blog post.
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