Client: An American electric utility company
Area of Operation: United States
Harsh weather conditions offer a useful reminder of the critical importance of energy distribution, and many electric utilities have been proactively modernizing their distribution operations. A large US utility serving more than one million customers responded to customer and regulatory pressures to improve reliability. The centerpiece of the modernization was to upgrade its Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS), a mission-critical software application that automates the restoration of power after an outage and optimizes grid performance.The new version of the product would also serve as the foundation of the utility’s commitment to reliably serve customers despite the disruptions caused by distributed generation in the network. The project would demand meticulous planning to conform to the application’s product-release schedule as well as close, ongoing collaboration with the utility’s senior executives and operations team. Wipro was involved from the initial product design session at the ground level all the way to providing updates to senior executives on the Steering Committee.
A diverse group from the electric utility engaged with Wipro’s Utilities team, Operations team, and various Wipro experts with experience in contact centers, customer care, billing, and smart-grid applications. This group addressed three critical workstreams: applications, integrations, and quality assurance.
The applications workstream focused on configuring the application in partnership with the vendor team, creating application monitoring solutions, and handling key operations report delivery. The integrations workstream prioritized implementation and enhancing key integrations between ADMS and other internal applications like the Customer Care & Billing system, Meter Data Management system, Interactive Voice Response system, utility portal, and fleet locate (GPS) to name a few. The integrations team was also responsible for configuring key Operations Management System profiles like estimated time to restoration, event and call management, storm profiles, and the application’s integrations management. Here, the Wipro team worked alongside technology experts in TIBCO and Microsoft Tech stack. Meanwhile, the quality assurance team worked with the business operations testing team to ensure testing across application and integrations.
Given the customer’s mission of providing “clean, reliable and affordable power” and its commitment to being customer-centric, the success of the project required the customer to build and enhance various customer-facing integrations. These integrations had to perform reliably with performance times in microseconds. Ultimately, the Wipro team built, tested, and delivered more than 25 integrations between various applications and the ADMS, working closely with edge system owners to ensure seamless experiences for application owners. Another key activity in the integrations workstream was configuring and managing the appropriate application configurations across the project lifecycle in various environments.
This modernization project took about two years to evolve from conception and planning to testing and going live. Transitioning to the new platform was painless; the utility’s Distribution Operations team had zero interruptions during the transition, and business users experienced a seamless transition to the new platform.
The utility has experienced many technical and business benefits by adopting the ADMS. For example, now the utility’s operators can track all fleet vehicles in near real-time, which helps them respond to outages faster and more effectively. The application also brings in the capability to see real-time events from smart meters, a capability they had been seeking for a long time. This feature helps the operator to analyze customer outages at a very granular level even before sending a technician into the field. An automated test suite can easily validate any patch deployment across 11 different test environments. Wipro also implemented an automated performance test tool that will simulate call volumes and smart meter events during a storm or “blue sky” event.
Wipro continues to partner with the utility’s distributions and operations team to enhance the ADMS platform by enabling new integrations. This is a key step forward in helping the utility significantly improve reliability and become even more customer focused.