Yarra Valley Water has finalised a technology and business partnership with IBM to manage its billion-dollar assets more efficiently.
The partnership also helps streamline Yarra Valley Water’s services for more than 1.7 million customers. Among other services, this top-tier utility supports 50,000 businesses throughout Melbourne. Company assets are valued at $3 billion dollars for the water and sewerage infrastructure.
The IBM partnership enables the utility to gain better insights into the performance of its assets and customer needs. The focus is to manage problems involving disparate and aging business systems.
David Snadden, Yarra Valley Water’s general manager, strategy and communications, said an IBM asset management system will enable the utility to grow and develop its portfolio management capability.
“The new solution has provided greater asset information enabling us to make more informed business decisions,” Snadden said. “This will extend the life of assets, ensure safer work environments, and deliver productivity improvements that help us make every cent count for our customers.”
Yarra Valley Water needed a partner to help improve its organisational efficiency, set and meet performance benchmarks and streamline front-line customer services.
The IBM partnership helps consolidate several systems into a single, fully-integrated platform. This integration offers a comprehensive view of assets. These include around 19,000 kilometres of water and sewer pipes, 79 water pump stations, 9 sewage treatment plants and 2 recycled water facilities.
A holistic view offers the ability to collect, combine and analyse data from across a range of asset portfolios. This overview is especially important where aging infrastructure needs to be renewed or upgraded.
An integrated system improves the existing asset life-cycle, ensures downtime and minimises the maintenance costs. Direct insights will improve customer services by enabling these to be diagnosed and prioritised on the first call.
Staff at customer service desks can access customer information from their custom-made assigned screens. This makes it easier to define a customer problem at the outset.
With the necessary data available in one place, Yarra Valley Water can analyse and act on historical data from across the water and sewerage network.
Among the services, the utility has introduced a permit monitoring app at a control room. This enables teams to visually monitor active permits inside the system. They can also source graphic alerts where an incident needs attention.
An asset management solution is streamlining services at a customer-facing call centre. Here, staff can track updates as they respond to customer calls. This improves interaction with customers and builds the loyalty base.
Utility companies are looking for better ways to manage their significant portfolio of assets, according to IBM Australia’s client executive, Dianne Kassimatis. The focus is to improve customer service, maximises operational efficiencies and reduce the risk, she said.
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