EC Harris and Ideagen Launch New Solution to Help Water Companies Address Asset Information Challenge

Posted: Tuesday 20th November 2012

Poor asset information identified as major threat to water companies’ future performance.

EC Harris and Ideagen have launched a new ‘Asset Information System’ solution, a combination of software and consultancy services, which has been designed to help water companies improve the accessibility and quality of all the information they currently hold on their wider asset portfolio.

The ability to access accurate asset information is vital to the whole ‘call to fix’ process and the speed at which water companies can resolve customer complaints. This is becoming increasingly important as the new SIM approach and the move to introduce more risk-based regulation within the upcoming PR14 price review period, will see water companies judged on how well they have delivered better customer outcomes.

The size of the challenge was emphasized in the Consumer Council for Water’s most recent annual Complaints Report, where the industry body outlined significant room for improvement around the speed at which water companies were resolving non-complex issues. The directive within the final report stated that ‘straight-forward referrals’ should be fixed within twelve working days however over the previous year, only 47% of the complaints the Council referred to water companies were resolved within that timeframe.

Mike Nugent, Global Account Leader within EC Harris’ Water team said:Poor access to asset information has been identified as one of the main factors currently encumbering water companies from dealing with customer issues. This is an area where utilities have historically struggled, however new regulation means this is a problem that must be addressed now. Any perceived sluggishness or inability to address customer issues could see water companies facing potentially heavy fines and a more challenging determination.”

David Hornsby, Chief Executive of Ideagen added: “The primary issue facing water companies is that often, they find themselves with multiple and conflicting versions of key documents including standard operational procedures, materials and maintenance procedures and compliance information. As a result, companies, their contracting partners and in-house field force, can waste significant amounts of trying to get accurate information on the assets they need to repair, which ultimately delays issue resolution and their ability to address customer problems”.

To help address this specific issue, EC Harris and Ideagen have launched a new offering that will help water companies achieve a fully unified source of asset information that is correct, and accessible to in-house teams and contractors within just four clicks of a mouse.

The four key stages involved in building the ‘Asset Information System’ include:

· Analysis – define the scale of the challenge by reviewing the size of the asset portfolio, the current state of the asset information and the existing governance structures in place

· Design – develop a clear view on the future design of the Asset Information System including the target data and governance structures and the approach needed to embed these new process and ways of working

· Collation – collate the data to bridge the gap between current state and future design and develop into a fully loaded pilot system that can be tested within each particular organization

· Implementation – manage the implementation of the new solution within the wider firm and monitor to ensure that it delivers the key benefits that were established in the initial business case

“Those companies that take concerted steps to address their asset information challenge now will not only be reducing the risks associated with non-compliance, but will also be empowering their organizations by bringing crucial knowledge back into the business. The nature of the regulatory cycle within the sector means that those firms who act now could be placing themselves at a competitive advantage in PR14 and beyond”added Nugent.

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