The best-managed water authorities increasingly recognise that information is a critical strategic asset that needs to be managed in order to realise its full potential value. Much research demonstrates the correlation between information management maturity and overall business performance. Indeed, Bill Gates said in his book, Business @ The Speed of Thought, “The most meaningful way to differentiate your company is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you will win or lose”.
Water authorities have the opportunity to unlock significant value for their businesses by improving the management of information, through data quality improvement, integration and warehousing and business intelligence. The first steps to realise value can come from:
- A reduction in operational costs from less redundancy in data collection and more efficient reporting
- Better customer experience from reduced service times and reduced mistakes
- Improved planning & decision making through higher visibility (data is shared across the organisation) and higher confidence in data accuracy
- Improved operations with a single view of all operations based on real-time information rather than the hindsight of monthly reports
- Enhanced customer production from being able to exploit excess channel capacity and better harvesting of river flows
Additionally, a source of increasing value will come from the creation of a platform that enables data discovery such as historical trends and correlations, modelling of customer demand or river supply, and statistical analysis tools to provide insights that can transform business performance.
Such analytical tools hold the promise of predictive maintenance which is of huge importance to asset intensive businesses. These tools will enable delivery channel (or pipe) condition monitoring to avoid outages that affect customer delivery, allocation forecasting, and customer intelligence.
A platform for data management will also enable your business to exploit and maximise the value of the approaching wave of growth in data sometimes called the Internet of Things. This data is coming from new and cheaper sensors and telemetry such as remote bore meter reading, automated customer offtakes, river and storage level sensors and soil moisture sensors and from increasing online sources from government authorities like water licence details, trading or meteorology.
It’s not hard to see that information is a critical strategic asset that needs to be managed in order to realise its full potential value to reduce costs, improve customer service and to empower staff to a high level of performance.