Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Information Footprint of Your Water Utility

Asset management for your local water utility has historically broken down into three categories - land, employees, and equipment.  The "value" of the utility looks at several key questions: How much land do we own?  How many people to we employ?  How many pumps do we have in the collection system? 

What is often overlooked is the following - What information assets does the utility have?  The value proposition for any utility is changing.  Value is increasingly a function of how well a utility is at creating, collecting, analyzing, and deploying information.  Every information-savvy organization in the world understands this.  A pipe in the ground is the enabler - but information, especially either real-time or predictive information, can be the true source of value creation.

Information footprinting for a water utility has three dimensions.  Length is the extent to which information is deployed outside the organization's boundary to support existing utility operations.  Depth is the degree to which information is deployed inside the organization to improve existing operations.  Breadth is the degree to which information is being deployed as the key resource or springboard for innovation.

Water utilities should think of information as an asset.  Information generating activity has the potential to generate huge utility-specific value.

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