The leading US water utility achieves 25% automation, captures asset and compliance data in real time by rolling out a cloud-based portal and a mobile app
DC Water provides water and waste water services for Washington DC. With a service area that is over 700 square miles, the company caters to more than 670,000 people and has more than 1,000 employees on board. To provide water and waste water services, DC Water operates more than 1,200 miles of pipes and 1,800 miles of sanitary and combined sewers.
Asset management is critical for utilities like DC Water. Efficient asset management leads to informed decision making on the planning side and better execution of system repairs or improvements. It also helps maximize returns on capital and operating investments along with significant increase in customer satisfaction levels through improvements in the timeliness and quality of the service provided (less outages/problems & better services).
DC Water embarked on a digital initiative to replace manual, paper-based processes, which were error prone, slow and labor intensive, with an online real-time application to support third-party contractors who worked on DC Water systems. The company needed to integrate siloed processes to record changes to water and sewer assets, automate manual backflow prevention compliance activities and bring in record keeping and other processes online. There was also a need to reduce the impact of fats, oils and grease (FOG) on the collection system by scrutinizing installation and cleaning of grease abatement solution.
DC Water was looking for a solution that was affordable, easy to implement and maintain, and didn’t require additional on-premise infrastructure. The company needed a modular and scalable platform that could include future services. The vision was to market it as a product to other utility companies in the US.
In addition to being Web based, the solution had to have the ability to provide mobile access to field workers, had to be intuitive and one that required as little training as possible for users.
DC Water needed a solution that could operate independently while also allowing for integration with existing asset management and customer systems, have the ability to synchronize data between different systems and reduce redundancies and overheads.
Given the complexity and diversity of needs, Wipro built a cloud-based cross-platform mobile application (iOS and Android) and a custom Web application, featuring automated digital workflows. The solution’s cloud-based architecture and integration features make it modular, flexible and scalable, allowing for future extensions and deployment to other utilities with minimal configuration effort.
This was accomplished through approximately 7 digital workflows, with more than 16 actions and triggered approval processes for a seamless and effective work orchestration process, and compliance tracking solution. The solution provided comprehensive auditing and tracking at each step and online work queue to ensure decisions and approvals are timely.
The solution can integrate with asset management system (Maximo), seamlessly using REST APIs and Microsoft BizTalk Server. BizTalk Server was used to manage and route messages, making future integrations easier by decoupling it from utility specific asset management and customer systems.
- Reduced paper transactions by 100%: Eliminated the use of paper for Backflow Prevention Assembly tracking and compliance activities. Third-party users can now record all relevant data, related to changes in water and sewer assets, through mobiles or desktop interface, instead of on paper. All compliance related correspondence is handled via email instead of traditional mail.
- Achieved 25% automation of processes related to compliance tracking, record handling, mailing, data synchronization and task allocation
- Time to market reduced by 40%, with implementation cost being considerably lower than traditional solutions
- Highly flexible and scalable Azure-based solution made the application future ready and easily deployable for other utilities in as little as 3 weeks
- Highly intuitive interface and easy-to-use features of the app expedited application acceptability, reducing training cycle by 90%
- 15% improvement in KPIs from streamlined workflows and automatic notifications and reminders
- Efficient maintenance of fire hydrants owing to streamlined operations, training and usage tracking
- Improved FOG management and abatement through monitoring and compliance tracking of grease abatement requirements