The delivery of safe, reliable, and cost effective energy requires complete and accurate asset data, along with efficient business processes that leverage industry leading enterprise technology for both office and field users. Like many other utilities, Dakota Electric Association (DEA) realized that Cityworks and GO! Sync were the right tools to satisfy their asset and work management requirements. The unique thing about Dakota Electric’s implementation of these tools is how both Cityworks and GO! Sync could be integrated and customized to create a single powerful and streamlined solution. By tightly integrating these tools, Dakota Electric has been able to use the best aspects of each to track and manage asset data, customer issues, work orders, and associated documents through the entire business process flow, from the office to the field and back.

Prior to Cityworks and GO! Sync, Dakota Electric was working with three separate work management systems.  Work orders were provided to field employees on paper with no efficient way to share the information. Consequently, when decision makers required supporting information, they needed to search through files of paper and stacks of maps to find it. The manual processes associated with this paper-based system were inefficient and susceptible to errors.

Cityworks was selected as the work management solution largely because it is the only GIS-centric asset and work management system.  Since all of Dakota Electric’s critical asset data is stored in ArcGIS, having a work management system that was directly tied to the GIS was a critical requirement. GO! Sync was selected for the field mapping system because Dakota Electric required a full-featured, flexible, user friendly, and affordable system to synchronize GIS data, along with related documents between the office and field laptops (preferably without the complexity and overhead of geodatabase synchronization).

With its easy to create custom inspection forms, DEA found GO! Sync an ideal solution for field inspections and redlining. The GO! Sync architecture allows the GIS attribute data that is captured during an inspection to be moved into the geodatabase securely through Dakota Electric’s firewall without manual intervention. Further, GO! Sync allows developers to add custom .NET controls to the mapping interface to satisfy specific requirements for more streamlined workflow. For example, custom Cityworks control was added, which simplifies the work order interface for the mobile users. DEA also includes complete, up-to-date engineering standards and maps via GO! Sync making these, and other data, easily accessed on the field computers and eliminating the need to produce costly reference manuals and map books.

Dakota Electric’s choice to tightly integrate Cityworks and GO! Sync has delivered a GIS-centric field solution that best meets its work management, document management, and data synchronization needs while also handling other business workflows. The integration process simplified and streamlined the user experience by only showing the required attributes and controls on the user interface. Working together, GO! Sync and Cityworks are used to manage a wide variety of field activities including daily maintenance operations, capital improvements, and outage management. A work order is created in the office using Cityworks and distributed to the field, where workers can update the information using GO! Sync. All GO! Sync updates are then synchronized back to the office.

The integrated GO! Sync/Cityworks solution has resulted in measurable benefits to Dakota Electric and its members. With a nearly paperless work environment, information is now more readily available and shared across the organization. The status of job tickets is available to anyone across the organization at any time, and decision support data (business intelligence) is much easier to retrieve and use via a custom Executive Dashboard and Crystal Reports.

Combining the best aspects of GO! Sync and Cityworks, Dakota Electric replaced three separate systems with a single, more efficient application that is easier to use. This delivered a positive return-on-investment to Dakota Electric‘s stakeholders and has allowed Dakota Electric to remain a leader in the delivery of safe, reliable, and cost effective energy

by Len Jewell, Technical Systems Manager, Dakota Electric Association and Emily Palizzi, Staff Writer, Azteca Systems, Inc. — Cityworks

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