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Newly automated field service management process yielded accurate productivity reports, efficiency gains, and integration with other systems, such as asset management

Cal Water joined the Virtual Utility Forum 2020 to share the experiences of their digital transformation and here we look at some of the highlights from the session at this flagship industry event.

Cal Water is one of the largest investor-owned utilities in the U.S. with over 2m customers, that they serve through over 500,000 water and wastewater connections, across several states. With such a vast and complex business, there were many challenges to address to improve overall business processes and effectiveness. 

Anthony Gregory, Field Technology Manager, Cal Water brings over 30 years’ utility experience, primarily in the water industry, so is well placed to talk through the journey that Cal Water has had to modernize to data-driven operations and lay the digital foundation for the future. 

With a cloud-based field service management (FSM) and enterprise asset management (EAM) solution now in place, Cal Water has been able to track the effectiveness of their program over time and has seen a 25% increase in work productivity. With the deployment of additional mobility solutions to their field service suite, such as connected customer, they are realizing similar efficiency gains in these areas too.

Improve Customer Experience and Reduce Operating Costs

Anthony Gregory says there are three main elements for Cal Water. 

First, they took a ‘build once, deploy many’ approach to improve its customer experience and reduce operating costs, so a well-documented set of processes and standards was essential. Second, including key stakeholders on the journey, as proponents, from the start made for an easier roll-out and finally, ensuring Exec sponsorship and buy-in helped remove barriers and meant key decisions were made to keep moving forward. 

Intelligent Integration for Digital Transformation

“Identify a pain point,” is Anthony Gregory’s core piece of advice, “and then scope that pain point, but don’t try to boil the ocean, as they say.” Cal Water initially focused on automating their FSM process and deployed KloudGin to leverage the latest cloud, mobile, artificial intelligence, and big data technologies. Once in place, and they could start to collect and fine-tune their data collection, they could then move to an integration phase. 

KloudGin integrates seamlessly with other systems, which was critical to Cal Water as this meant they were able to combine their field service management and enterprise asset management requirements with the other technologies that their complex operations rely upon. This integration means real-time scheduling for example, from enterprise applications such as Oracle CC&B. Another source system that Cal Water depends on is Maximo and Anthony Gregory says they kept the elements of vertical asset management to support work order generation, but the integration of Maximo with the KloudGin platform ensures work order execution. Location intelligence is also critical to Cal Water so the integration of GIS mapping technology from Esri with KloudGin guarantees they stay abreast of changing technological advancements in GIS.

A Future that is Optimized 

Anthony Gregory concluded the webinar with several ways that Cal Water is working to expand capabilities still further to provide greater value to customers and introduce additional efficiencies. 

“KloudGin has addressed our pain points and provides our field staff with a single, easy to use platform for any type of work. The platform is flexible and adaptable which means we have been able to build our mobile platform up and add on new capabilities and functionalities when we need them.”

“We are leveraging the KloudGin platform and looking to introduce advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (ai), machine learning field service and advanced imagery. We are also expanding the current capabilities to beyond what we even use it for today, always with the Cal Water vision to provide a single face of work.”

See the complete webinar recording here (please note a log-in is required to the TMG Consulting knowledge center)