Electric & Gas | Water & Wastewater | Power | Communications
Thirty years ago, utilities managed just fine using data management processes that by and large were based on manual labor and analog tools. Today, like companies in nearly every market, utilities are responding to business challenges with technology with one highly effective solution being automated, digital data management. Adept deliver increased productivity and efficiency in daily operations, support business strategy, and help utilities thrive in a challenging environment.
File management and search. As utilities transition away from reliance on 2D paper-based technical drawings to scanned drawings, 3D models, and geospatial information, they must find a way to manage an overwhelming number of digital documents. Before long, they realize the job is too complex for Windows file management, and they find themselves facing problems such as search limitations, huge numbers of duplicate documents, accidental overwriting and deletion of documents, and the potential for intellectual property to be stolen by a disgruntled employee.
When users can find the information they need quickly, productivity benefits tremendously, and that translates to faster project turnaround and staff that spends time doing value-added work rather than chasing documents.
Preservation of tribal knowledge. Technology also is helping to capture and preserve the institutional knowledge of employees heading into retirement. Utilities must capture not only their technical expertise, but also their knowledge of where documents are located and how they are organized.
But it’s not enough to simply capture institutional knowledge about where documents are stored in Microsoft Word documents, for example. Although this effort is a step in the right direction and records the information for posterity, future employees will still need to take the time to read through the explanation of where documents are stored. With Adept in place, a utility can capture and preserve that institutional knowledge in a way that is available to employees now and into the future.
Data security and regulation compliance. Without a centralized system for organizing tens or even hundreds of thousands of documents, drawings can be inadvertently deleted or shared with unauthorized users. Adept virtually eliminates these scenarios. Adept prohibits users from deleting the current version of a file. A user checks out a copy of an original document to work on it in his or her personal work space while the original automatically serves as a backup version.
Other users in the organization can see that the document is checked out and can view but not change the file contents. Once a user is done editing, he or she checks in the document, and the EDMS system creates what becomes the latest version of the truth.
Adept further supports document security by allowing an administrator to grant specific file access rights to individuals or groups based on the information privileges that are appropriate. No one can see a file or access its contents without permission. Inadequately protected data management systems also can lead to noncompliance with governmental regulations and security mandates. The U.S. government recognizes utility infrastructures as high-priority security assets and targets, and believes that protecting infrastructure data is critical to the security of the supply of water, gas, and electricity. New mandates and security measures require that utilities maintain an accurate document trail throughout the life cycle of infrastructure projects. Adept maintains audit trails that companies can use to achieve and maintain compliance with federal, industry, or internal standards. The audit trail tracks every action taken on a document and every user who has worked on that document throughout the drawing life cycle. Adept facilitates these and many other regulation requirements.
Version control. In the days of paper records, it wasn’t practical to redraw a design every time a change was made, so the number of design iterations was naturally limited. In today’s digital world, by contrast, the ease of updating a file can lead to countless versions of the same design, greatly increasing the risk that outdated information will be accessed and used. Companies that use e-mail to share multiple iterations of design documents with project partners are at particular risk of mistakes related to file versioning. Ensuring that the drawing in use is the correct and most up-to-date version is crucial for utilities. In the energy market, there have been instances where using the wrong version of a project document has led to power outages.
Those events have been relatively few and minor thus far, but the potential for a massive outage exists. Adept eliminates this possibility by maintaining only one current version of any given document and by ensuring that only one user at a time can make changes. Adept makes it virtually impossible to create more than one “version of the truth”.
An effective engineering document management system provides an easy, logical way to access all information related to every project, current and past. It simplifies how a utility finds, manages, shares, and controls engineering and business documents.