Monday, April 20, 2015

A Different View of California Water Requirmeents

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New Term of the Week - Data Bread Lines

From the Wall Street Journal today - Data is Now the New Middle Manager by Christopher Mims.  Refers to ". . . companies were beset by "data bread lines," in which managers had all the data they needed, but their staffers had to get in line to get the information they needed to make decisions."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Engineering Consulting and Modern Marketing

I am a huge fan of the McKinsey Quarterly - I never miss an issue.  The current issue has an article by Jonathan Gordon and Jesko Perrey (The Dawn of Marketing's New Golden Age) that highlights several of the key opportunities that lie ahead for professional service firms in terms of marketing.

The article highlights five marketing insights for this century.

  1. Science - Big data, modeling, and automated analysis are creating new ways to targeting and measuring your marketing ROI.  Most of the marketing science has focused on consumer goods.  But look for science, statistical analysis, and technology to play a bigger role in relationship and performance management.  Effective marketing leadership will require blending the success of relationship management at the individual level with science rooted in technology and domain knowledge.
  2. Substance - Better science and information will lead to the development of new services. Arming client relationship managers and business development specialists with feedback on client experiences will help directly shape a more client centric experience.  A focus on science and substance will force the setting of new client experience standards based on client-care and consistency.
  3. Story - Engineers have some of the best stories.  Unfortunately we are the worst storytellers. Technology (the Video Revolution and the Era of Small Screens) will bring forward the power and importance of the story.  In the story and Video Revolution world, creativity will be in greater demand than ever.  In many cases, digital interactions with clients will become more frequent.
  4. Speed - Engineering consulting will need to escape a history and comfort level with marketing as a "batch" process.  Velocity is the new dynamic - marketing agility and urgency will be the new management and marketing culture.  Relationship management will need to embrace the speed of the new digital tempo.  The feeling of real-time marketing will dominate.
  5. Simplicity - Complexity is the enemy of speed.  It is also the enemy of story.  Look at the AECOMs of the world.  Too often, expanding geographic footprints, service proliferation, and new arrays of channels and digital specialties have led to complex hierarchies, silos, communication gaps, and redundancies.  But don't allow simplicity to come at the expense of creative output.

EPA/States Will Require Asset Management Plans

This is a sample of what is ahead (from Pennsylvania - link to the document.):

"The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) passed in June 2014, require recipients of US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) financial assistance for wastewater treatment infrastructure improvements to develop and implement a Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP). The CWSRF is administered by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).

This requirement will apply to all complete applications submitted to PENNVEST starting with the January PENNVEST Board application cutoff date of November 12, 2014.
FSPs must contain:
  1. An inventory of critical assets that are part of the treatment works,
  2. An evaluation of the condition and performance of inventoried assets,
  3. A certification that the recipient has evaluated and will be implementing water and energy conservation efforts as part of the plan, and
  4. A plan for maintaining, repairing, and, as necessary, replacing the treatment works and a plan for funding such activities.
The FSP covers those assets funded by the CWSRF assistance as part of the project, not the entire wastewater treatment system. Applicants for CWSRF financial assistance can obtain additional ranking points at the time of application if they either have and are implementing, or choose to develop as part of the project, a comprehensive asset management plan for the entire wastewater treatment system.

The purpose of the requirement is to ensure that recipients of CWSRF financial assistance are managing their physical assets in ways that promote long service life, avoid expensive catastrophic failures, and maximize the long-term financial self-sufficiency of the wastewater system."

The Beasley Plan

What Works Cities Initiative

Link to the Bloomberg initiative.  From the Washington Post
"Cities across the country would love to emulate that formula: better service for less money. But at a time when data-driven government effectiveness research is having a moment in Washington – most recently, in a bill introduced last week by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) – most local governments are just waking up to its possibilities.
Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable arm of former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, is making a big bet that it can accelerate that process. It will announce on Monday that it is spending $42 million to create the What Works Cities Initiative, which is aimed at helping 100 mid-size cities make better use of data and evidence in their policy making.
Cities with between 100,000 and 1 million residents will be eligible to apply for help from the program. The money will fund work from several partners, including Results for America, the new Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University’s Government Performance Lab, all of which will work with the cities selected to participate.
“There’s very little data on the use of data and evidence in local governments,” said James Anderson, a former Bloomberg mayoral aide who leads the government innovation program for Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Mayors are just hungry for tools and resources that help them use data more effectively. What we’ve found is there’s a gap” between what they’d like to do and what they can do."

The Engineer as Visible Expert

Link to the research report.