By Magnus Berling
For utility network owners, changing or taking on a new system for a utility network can be a daunting task. As a utility network owner, you are providing end-customers with modern conveniences which most of us take for granted – broadband connection, electricity, water, gas and heating. It is vital to have all the data related to these utilities in digital form. To the very least, for keeping track of what is going on in the network. To the very best, you can take complete control of your network, whilst keeping your project management, business processes, mobility and customer communication in one system.
One fact is to be appreciated: collating a great amount of data into one system is a huge commitment. It includes finding the time, the knowhow, getting it done, and then moving on to learning a new system. Nevertheless, once this is done, and the data starts working for you, it is worth the time. Also, there are ways of doing it that makes the process easier. Let me talk you through how converting data can take you from migrating and implementing data to operating and maintain a system. And how the users will learn the system during this process.
Converting data from previous systems
Initially when implementing a new system, a utility network owner would need to collate and convert all data from previous systems. During this conversion, all data is validated: relevant data is included, and irrelevant data is dismissed. Once this is done, the data is tidy, and comprises of immaculate information to rely on in the future. During this process, the users of the system are very much involved. Alongside the data evaluation, they learn a lot about the Digpro software. Weekly meetings and daily contact with Digpro experts are scheduled. Thereby, each step is monitored, and any concerns are imminently addressed.
From converting to operating
After the data import is completed, it is time for the modules and their special functions to be added. Digpro has modules that help you analyze, organize and maintain utility networks. There is support for project management, business processes and customer communication. The modular framework allows for each utility owner to select what is needed for their respective networks, and they build an application which will serve them. Many modules are multi utility. When operating more than one network, the same functions can be applied to the different ones. This is to great advantages for users in different departments, and for creating network overviews. Councils and municipalities, who often provide more than one utility, often express how this broader view makes it easier to provide a great service. Around this time, the mobile solutions of choice are added to the application. This means that field engineers can access, update and interact with the system whilst outside of the office. Not only does this reduce paperwork and time spent on updating the system – it is also a matter of safety, since the in-house staff can follow each step of actions taken in the field. Digpro’s experts still are much involved, to ensure that the process is smooth.
From operating to maintaining
Once the system is up and running, this with correct data, modules for various functions, mobility for fieldwork, and security specific for different utilities, the process moves from operation to maintenance. By now, the users are often comfortable and skilled, and it is time to really enjoy the benefits. The advantages of everyone in the company using the same system are evident. The interface, the interaction, the understanding of what is going on, the smoothness of project planning, communicating with customers – the list goes on, these are only a few mentioned as our user’s favorite things. By now, users are so confident that any issues are dealt with by Digpro support according to the Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Training and advancing as a user
It is a steep learning curve to take on a new system, but when being part of the process from early on, every user is eased in. After the conversion of the data, it is usually time to really get into the system. All companies have different requests as to how and when they are ready for their training. Whenever it is decided upon, Digpro’s expert will meet the needs of the company and the users. Usually, a foundation course is executed, followed by tailored training for the various modules. Digpro also have demonstrations during all the phases of a conversion project, so that the users feel safe with what is going on with their data. The courses are held by Digpro experts, at site, at the Digpro premises, or digitally – all according to the customer’s preference. There are also regular webinars, for those who want to keep learning.
One system – one success
It is indeed not encouraged to take on a new system all too often. That is why we are so proud that most of our customers stay with us for very long time. And as far as the conversion, implementation, operation and maintenance phases are concerned – users learn as they go along. And Digpro will be with you, every step of the way. Once it is done, you have users who share the same user interface, and you will enjoy complete control of your network.
Digpro has Network Information Systems (NIS) for different utilities, all supporting project management, business processes, mobility and customer communication. To learn more about dpCom (for telecom) and dpPower, (for electricity distribution) contact Joel Pirard for a demo.
Meet the expert
Magnus Berling is since 2005 Senior Project Manager working with Partner Enablement at Digpro. He has a masters degree in engineering from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and vast experience in the telecom industry. Read about how Magnus supports Enefit connect in the article Implementing dpCom – Enefit Connect.