In 2011, the White House Utility District (WHUD) reached out to Esri’s top executives in Redlands, California, to explore the possibility of forming a partnership with the goal of creating a true GIS-centric environment for all of the district’s operations-it was time to take GIS “global.”
David Wachal, solutions manager of Esri’s Global Water Utility Practice, made an initial on-site visit over three days to gather information and assess the merit of such a partnership. One thing was very clear to Wachal during his visit: “WHUD was totally committed to their vision of creating a true GIS-centric environment because of the importance they place on spatial information,” Wachal stated. “Their vision was straightforward: WHUD wanted all their systems and business practices to center around GIS. They were adamant that, where possible, every system should leverage GIS.”
For WHUD the meaning of all systems was truly that—all systems, including CIS, financial, asset management, work orders, inventory, vehicle tracking, SCADA, real-time hydraulic modeling, meter reading, leak detection, security, IVR, and document management.
This approach required a complete evaluation of current processes and business practices as well as a reengineering plan that blended industry-standard best practices with the district’s core business methodology. For this effort, WHUD and Esri turned to POWER Engineers. WHUD wanted a well-established, long-term partner—much like Esri—who had the resources and expertise to work with WHUD over the next five years to ensure continuity of the vision.
POWER conducted a series of on-site workshops over a fourteen-month period, each workshop lasting four days out of each month. The purpose of these workshops was to document the existing processes, refine the vision, and define a direction forward.
Working together through this process, POWER and WHUD identified Cityworks as the key system with the potential to serve the organization as it progresses. WHUD has used Cityworks since 2004 and feels the product has served them well. Because Cityworks is directly built on the Esri platform, WHUD continues to move forward with migrating their entire organization to Cityworks Server AMS.
Peter Godfrey, senior consultant at POWER Engineers, says, “The commitment by WHUD management and operational staff and our collaborative approach together with the strong support and efforts of Esri is resulting in a truly integrated Cityworks system for best practices in asset management. Involvement with all levels of the organization—from the general manager to field crews—has made the current deployment a success. We look forward to working closely with both WHUD and Esri on the multiple efforts ahead.”
POWER and WHUD chose to take a two-tiered approach to implementing Server AMS. The first phase included moving the entire organization from Cityworks Desktop to Server AMS using the district’s current business practices with some minor configuration modifications. Concurrently, Esri is supporting WHUD in modernizing their data model and workflows, configuring the integration of their GIS with AVL using Geoevent Processor, and deploying ArcGIS Online maps and applications to the entire organization. During this phase, the entire field operations group moved to using iPads. The second phase—scheduled to begin in March 2014—will include the implementation of new re-engineered business practices and procedures as well as the initial phase of integrating GIS, Cityworks, and WHUD’s new CIS, NorthStar.
WHUD’s adoption of a GIS-centric approach has spelled success by taking small steps towards meeting a larger vision. Bill Thompson, general manager at WHUD, states, “We consider Esri and POWER Engineers part of our family. They have been as committed and as excited as we are in making our vision of a totally GIS-centric environment come to life.” With WHUD’s commitment, POWER’s technical and management teams, and Esri’s foundational GIS, these first efforts clearly show the benefits of people and systems working together in making a shared vision a reality.
About Whitehouse Utility District (WHUD)
One of the largest water and sewer utilities in Tennessee, White House Utility District serves a population of 90,000 with over 30,000 water and sewer connections in a 600-square-mile area.
About POWER Engineers
POWER Engineers is a global consulting engineering firm that offers complete multi-discipline engineering and program management services. POWER’s Geospatial and Asset Management Solutions group specializes in industry-leading technologies and a wide range of solutions for electric, gas, and water utilities and local governments, including ArcGIS and Cityworks. For more information, please visit www.powereng.com.
Since 1969, Esri has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, Esri software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. Esri is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at www.esri.com.
By Peter Godfrey, RLA and AICP, POWER Engineers, Senior Consultant and Project Manager; Regina Gaddis, White House Utility District Special Project Manager; Bill Thompson, General Manager, White House Utility District; David Wachal, Solutions Manager, Esri Global Water Utility Practice