If you ask an electricity utility CIO about the biggest challenge they face within their operations, the answer will typically centre around dated technology.

Utilities often struggle to upgrade their legacy technology: most consider the process too problematic. Replacing legacy systems often incurs far-reaching disruptions - but it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s possible to avoid the upheaval many executives associate with a system overhaul by introducing an advanced location-based analytics solution into your infrastructure.

Four key benefits of a location-based analytics solution

1. Configurable over hardcoded

Rather than taking over your legacy technology, a location-based solution can work with it - strengthening the software you already use by wrapping powerful visualisation capabilities directly over the top. A configurable - rather than hardcoded approach - gives you the flexibility to customise the software to your needs, maximising the return from your existing technology stack. 

Above: An advanced location-based platform like ArcGIS is highly configurable and supports data from multiple sources, including GE Smallworld, through integrators such as EpochSync.

2. A single source of truth

An advanced location-based platform surfaces underutilised data, and integrates it into a seamless, single point of truth. Relevant, ready-to-use map data layers such as asset plans, network status, demand areas, real-time weather, disaster information and more – are all accessible on a central platform at any time, on any device. This has huge implications for the safety of field crews experiencing road closures or flooding - a common operating view enables them to respond more effectively in real-time.

Single source of truth
Above: ArcGIS enables organisation-wide communication, collaboration and coordination through instant mapping, reporting and analytics capabilities accessible by all teams, functions and disciplines, from the field to the office.

3. Integrate disparate data sources

Make all of your systems compatible: location-based analytics technology is the integrator behind the scenes making sure everything works together seamlessly. You won't need to maintain separate databases to deliver insight to the people who need it. By eliminating data redundancy, you'll discover a more connected, and safer workplace.

Operating a modern grid
Above: More information is required to operate a modern grid. It is often big data, often unstructured, yet critical for operations and the safety of the network. Grid modernisation is about bringing all of these disparate datasets and IoT sensors together to manage the network.

4. Incremental innovation over radical changes

If you have a system of record in place, you can use ArcGIS to create an advanced system of engagement on top, democratising data to the wider organisation. This type of change can be implemented gradually, slowly reaching every corner of the business to bring cross-functional teams together.

Democratise data
Above: A location-based system of engagement democratises data within the business and can be implemented gradually, avoiding the strain of radical technology upheaval.

As utilities transform, the challenges may seem overwhelming - but by exploring advanced location-based capabilities, CIOs can achieve their modernisation goals.

If you're looking to get started with advanced location-based analytics and the role it can play in your utility, please visit our electricity industry page. Here you'll find case studies, white papers, feature articles and interactive demos - all highlighting the benefits the technology can offer you. 

About the Author

Doug van Gelder profile
Doug van Gelder
National Business Manager, Utilities
Esri Australia
Highly experienced GIS professional helping clients apply GIS solutions to improve organisational performance.

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