Connected Solutions Equal Good Decisions Sustaining Your Public Utility, Part 2– Building Integrated Solutions

Last time we talked about the challenges of running a public utility and the volume of the paper created and used to run your public utility.  This time we will talk about different time and cost saving solutions.  This responsibility and the considerable fiscal constraints imposed on your operation require you to squeeze your budgets and drive toward increased efficiency.  The fact is that you have invested in solutions to help you do just that.   These utility software systems include:

  • GIS applications
  • Asset management tools
  • Work order systems
  • Accounting systems
  • Customer service systems
  • Utility billing Systems
  • Construction plans, photos and installation schematics
  • Vendor, contract, and purchasing documents
  • Maintenance, service, testing schedules, and reports
  • Asset and inventory records
  • Customer “as billed” records

The problem is that most of these systems are islands of information and none of them help you share the information that they contain easily across departments and functions.  Depending on an employee’s role, they might need to access data held in all of these systems.  To complicate matters, they will likely need to consult this data while working in the field and have to make a costly and time-consuming drive back to the central office to access this information.  They may also know that there is more information that they need, but they may not know where to find it or have a good way to search for it. 

These challenges scream for a central digital repository where you can store all documents, drawings, and data files.  This type of solution eliminates file cabinets, preserves records, secures them and can make them available in the field via mobile devices.  Using this information technology, called ECM or enterprise content management, is not enough.  It improves your efficiency, but you can get much more if you integrate, or connect the ECM solution to these other critical data systems enabling universal access to all related data.

Imagine how easy it would be to see a full picture if these documents were stored in one repository:

Now imagine how fast your maintenance staff could make a decision if all of those documents where available with one mouse click from any of your existing systems.  What if your customer service staff had instant access to a virtual representation of the bill that the consumer was holding?

By integrating your key systems, including your utility billing system, with the central document repository offered by a good ECM valued added reseller, you can create the option for every staff member to effortlessly and efficiently consult your ECM system in order to take the right action and complete the work without time delays.  With an ECM’s ability to scale across the organization and integrate with your existing systems, you can enhance the functionality of all of the investments you have already made in your other software solutions.

Control of and access to your information base, in documents and in data, is key to your success.  Recognizing that you are leaking dollars and staff time by retaining a paper-based model is the first step.  The next step is to explore ECM solutions that offer easy ways to bring together and present information to and from all your IT investments.  Your staff and your customers will love the efficiency and the increased service levels that you will offer!

Call CASNET if you are interested in exploring how an ECM solution can impact your organization today!

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