Creating a "Place of Opportunity" with Enterprise GIS
When Northern Ireland Water selected Esri's ArcGIS mapping platform to be its new corporate geographic information system (GIS), the business didn't just get all the functionality that it needed. It also gained a suite of additional tools, creating a "place of opportunity" for improving its customer experience, reducing costs, and removing inefficient processes.
- Call center agents can deliver better customer service with instant visibility of emerging situations.
- Engineers can design new water networks for developers significantly faster with automated tools.
- Field-based teams can upload information direct to the Corporate Asset Register with mobile apps.
Northern Ireland Water was founded in April 2007 as a government-owned company to provide water and sewerage services for 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland. In its first decade, the company underwent a significant transformation, developing new operating models to enhance the way that it delivered customer services and maintained 42,300 km of water mains and sewers. By 2017, however, the company's aspirations for continued business improvement were being constrained by its two separate geographic information system (GIS) applications.
"The need for location-based services was growing throughout the organization, not only for office-based staff but also for our mobile workforce," says Sean O'Boyle, asset information development manager at Northern Ireland Water. "We urgently needed to replace our fragmented approach to GIS with a single enterprise system that would support the entire organization and fuel our drive to deliver even better customer services."
Support business transformation by replacing two legacy GIS packages with a single enterprise GIS platform.
- Responsive services for customers
- More efficient business processes, creating cost savings
- A more accurate Corporate Asset Register, the second most used application within the business
- Enhanced safety for personnel in the field
- Better-informed decision-making
Northern Ireland Water selected Esri's ArcGIS because the platform's capabilities exceeded the organization's predicted requirements. "ArcGIS gives us all the features and capabilities that we were looking for—but it also takes us to another place of opportunity," explains O'Boyle. "We can rapidly deploy new web and mobile applications using standard, out-of-the-box ArcGIS tools to meet new business requirements—and, moreover, we can do this all in-house."
With support from Esri Ireland, Northern Ireland Water completed the initial project at an impressive pace, moving from having no ArcGIS capabilities to a full enterprise implementation of the ArcGIS platform in less than a year. The consultants from Esri Ireland shared their knowledge with employees during the project so that by the time the systems went live, in-house teams were competent in using and managing ArcGIS. "The whole project went live on budget and on time, according to the schedule we set on Day One," notes O'Boyle.
ArcGIS is now employed daily by hundreds of users and is available to 1,035 employees in total. It is integrated into key workflows across the organization and is a core part of Northern Ireland Water's Corporate Asset Register, the second most used application (after email) within the business.
A key solution for Northern Ireland Water is Esri's ArcGIS for Water Utilities, a set of maps, services, apps, and automated processes that have been specifically developed to meet the needs of international water companies. The integrated nature of ArcGIS means that business specialists can edit asset or customer data using ArcGIS on the desktop and then make the data instantly accessible to employees via web apps and mobile solutions, all at the click of a button.
Responsive Services for Customers
The enterprise-wide implementation of ArcGIS gives all employees in the organization instant access to accurate location information that they can use to deliver more responsive customer service. For instance, the locations of all issues reported by customers are streamed in real time on a web map. Displayed on a four-meter screen in the customer call center, this situational awareness map allows incident managers to monitor the situation in real time and react quickly to resolve issues.
More Efficient Business Processes
ArcGIS has improved business efficiency by replacing numerous manual, paper-based processes and eliminating the unnecessary duplication of data. On the developer services team, for example, engineers now use ArcGIS to design water main networks for planned residential developments much more quickly than before, enabling them to deliver a fast, professional, and cost-effective service for customers.
A Streamlined Approach to Capital Delivery
Northern Ireland Water has exploited the seamless functionality of the ArcGIS platform to build a successful proof of concept. It delivers the capability to manage the complete life cycle of a project from engineering design and approvals to construction and as-built asset records. This makes what Paul Davison, head of Water Capital Delivery at Northern Ireland Water, describes as "a step change in collecting accurate asset data."
Enhanced Safety for Personnel Working in the Field
Using Esri's Survey123 for ArcGIS, Northern Ireland Water is now developing a mobile app that will help the company identify and respond to potential health and safety risks more quickly. Employees will use their smartphones or tablets to collect data in the field about the locations of trenches, equipment, infrastructure, and other potential hazards. This information—which might previously have taken up to two weeks to be typed up in a report—will now be transferred to the head office in real time, saving time and allowing managers to intervene rapidly if a safety issue is identified.
In a wide variety of ways, ArcGIS gives senior managers at Northern Ireland Water faster access to better-quality information. The organization's chief executive Sara Venning says: "Northern Ireland Water's new corporate GIS, implemented using Esri technology, gives us the advantage of being able to swiftly deploy spatial solutions to aid decision-making. This has been particularly evident during incident planning, where logistics and location information are of critical importance to us in striving to respond rapidly to our customer needs."
Northern Ireland Water's new corporate GIS, implemented using Esri technology, gives us the advantage of being able to swiftly deploy spatial solutions to aid decision-making.