The Wire - Inaugural Issue: May 2015

Version 34

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    Welcome to The Wire

    This is the inaugural edition of our e-newsletter, designed to keep you up-to-date on GIS trends, issues, and ideas that are important to utility and telecom professionals.

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    In this issue...

     

    link_sidebar2.pngCreating Connections at Link 2015

     

    In early March, more than 300 people from all over the utility industry converged on the stunning city of Loveland, Colorado — “Gateway to the Rockies” — to attend our annual Link conference. This popular event is focused on rapidly changing technology, expanding knowledge, finding new ways to meet growing demand, and discovering the latest best practices.

     

    This year’s theme was “Creating Connections,” which came to life with representatives from more than 90 utilities and 25 partner companies attending the invaluable educational and networking sessions. Our biggest and best yet, Link 2015 featured more than 70 sessions focused on best practices, boosting productivity, hands-on problem resolution and support, results-oriented training, and more.

     

    Key product input

    The conference also provided our valued customers with direct access to our product development team. Customers shared recent challenges and provided feedback that plays an important role in developing our product roadmaps.

     

    Broader offerings

    Link 2015 expanded beyond its traditional GIS-driven content to include our broader utility offerings and operational weather intelligence. These solutions are designed to work together to help streamline operations, reduce risks, and boost efficiencies enterprise-wide.

     

    Snow day fun

    After three days of intense learning and networking, attendees headed into the Rockies for an optional “snow day” of skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing at the renowned Winter Park Resort. It was great fun for all.


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    Mark your calendar

    Join us for Link 2016, March 1-3, at the Loveland Embassy Suites Conference Center. Learn more in future issues of The Wire.

     

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    The Road Ahead for ArcFM

    By Matthew Zimmerman, Director of Product Management

     

    The funny thing about building and evolving product roadmaps is that they all start at the same place: right here, right now.

     

    Yes, we definitely have a vision for the future, but everything begins with your current experience, in your workplace, with your customer base and infrastructure, and goes from there.

     

    So when we talk about the road ahead for ArcFM, it’s really important to take stock of where we are today. Those products, right now, are designed and engineered to address important industry problems, to provide you with unique capabilities, to help improve your work life, and allow you to do more with less.

     

    Yet, we've been busy, enhancing and extending these products. Here’s a look at our recent enhancements.

     

    Access fiber optic network data, wherever it’s needed

    First up: Wavepoint, delivering a richer, more capable user experience for managing networks. This new application — accessible via any Web browser, anywhere — digitizes and displays network data the way network managers intuitively want to see it. With a clearer representation and context for network data, managers can work more productively and accurately.

     

    Design networks graphically, from above

    Next item: Overhead Design Analysis, a full 3-D graphic designer and editor for designing and optimizing cable networks. This easy-to-implement, easy-to-use application lets you visualize structural capacities, weigh alternative designs, analyze tension and sag in 3-D, and ensure both regulatory and internal standards compliance.

     

    Keep distribution circuit models accurate

    Rounding it out: Feeder Manager 2.0; we did a complete, behind-the-scenes redesign of this essential tool for managing distribution networks. Relying on memory instead of high-volume file input/output, the new version now performs complex edits in a fraction of the time, while dramatically reducing version conflicts.

     

    The next destination

    Now, let’s turn our focus to the future—the one with a workforce that’s rapidly evolving in two important ways.

    • The inevitable attrition of institutional knowledge due to aging, departing staff
    • The growing expectation of workers that information resources be as accessible and user-friendly as the average consumer smartphone app.)

     

    ArcFM will need to help us navigate these challenges by collecting critical institutional knowledge before it departs, then making it pervasively available to workers through mobile and web applications.

    Doing this right will enable tomorrow’s worker to access years of collective wisdom, standards, safety recommendations and much more, wherever they are, using whatever device they have with them. Here are some of the capabilities we’ll be adding in the nearer future:

    • ArcFM Mobile will deliver access-anywhere viewing and redlining, so workers can review tasks, see where to go, what to do, and what information to collect.
    • Mobile Outage Management will be an all-in-one application that works offline or on, on any device, and takes a reported incident from the responder on out to the field—complete with incident information and instructions to confirm information, collect notes, or secure hazards.
    • The web-based Design Dashboard will simplify resource allocation, capital planning and other management tasks through better visibility of (and analytic views of) who is working on what, where.


    Our story further into the future is already taking shape. To create it, we like to ground ourselves in just a couple of questions: What does it really take for you to get a commodity (electricity, gas, water, information) to your customers? How can we make that easier, faster, less costly?

     

    We’ll discuss the answers—and the product roadmap they inspire—in future issues.

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    Interested in helping shape our roadmaps?

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    Are You Getting the Full Benefit of ArcFM™ ?

     

    Whether you're a new ArcFM solution user or have been one for years, changes to your business, customer needs and technology may mean that there is more that can be achieved with your GIS. That's why we've put together specific service offerings to help make sure your system is optimized and your team is up to speed on the latest benefits. Our Best Practices Consulting, Database Performance Tuning and Optimization Workshops, Database Administrator Knowledge Share and Disaster Preparedness and Response services can help you jumpstart the use of your new solution or ensure you're still maximizing its benefits!

     

    Best practices consulting

    Staff turnover, an aging workforce, a lack of training, complicated processes, and other factors could be costing you — hindering performance and efficiency. By staying on top of the latest best practices and industry standards, you can address these challenges and more.

     

    To help, we offer ArcFM Best Practices Consulting services so you can maximize your investment in GIS, ensuring your business processes are streamlined and workflows are as efficient as possible. By improving user engagement and satisfaction around using the solutions, they'll have a deeper knowledge of the benefits and will be better positioned to recognize new ways of addressing business needs.

     

    Adobe_PDF_Icon.pngLearn more about maximizing your investment with best practices consulting.

     

    Database performance tuning and optimization workshop

    If you're like many utilities or telecommunication companies, you might be drowning in databases and behind on maintenance schedules.

     

    Taking the time to do a deep dive into your database conditions can bring to light opportunities for adjustments, the need to streamline versions, and can ensure that you're still following best practices that maximize your database performance. Whether you have a large, small or non-existent database team, a regular check-up will maximize the efficiency and productivity of your investment.

     

    Adobe_PDF_Icon.pngLearn more about our database performance tuning and optimization workshops.

     

    Database administrator knowledge share

    Your database may be up and running smoothly, but it has to stay that way to keep your operations running efficiently.


    Regularly maintaining your geodatabase will keep it trouble-free. And because it feeds business and operational decisions enterprise-wide, you can't afford for it to underperform.

     

    Adobe_PDF_Icon.pngGo here to learn the full value and process of database administrator knowledge sharing.

     

    Disaster preparedness and response

    It might be discussed openly or it might be whispered behind closed doors: "How would a disaster affect our data?"

     

    Without safeguarding your data, your entire investment — not to mention critical business functions — could be put in jeopardy. By having a disaster recovery and high availability plan in place, you not only ensure smooth operations in the event of a disaster, you can also meet important business needs tied to organizational statutes and support regulatory compliance matters.

     

    Adobe_PDF_Icon.pngLearn more about how to ensure the safety and availability of your data resources.

     

    Schneider Electric client services team: A true partner

    Whether you're new to ArcFM or a longtime user, you need a partner who knows your world and who is ready to work side-by-side with you. Our experts know ArcFM technology inside and out, and they understand the challenges and trends of the industry. They roll up their sleeves, spend time with your team, and work alongside you to create a plan for success. Whether you're considering one program or all four, we're ready to be your partner and help you get the most out of your ArcFM solution!

     

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    Tips and Tricks: Automatic tab activation

     

    Did you know that in ArcFM options, you can enable automatic tab activation for the ArcFM attribute editor? This way, when you select a feature on the map, the attribute editor will automatically switch to the selection tab.

     

    If editing, when you choose a feature or a favorite to sketch, the attribute editor will automatically switch to the targets tab. If running QA/QC, it will switch to the QA/QC tab. It's a subtle, yet intuitive move that allows you to save both mouse clicks and time.

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    Get more tips on our exchange online community (User login required)

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    Customer Spotlight: Arizona Public Service

     

    Editing in four minutes flat

     

    Incorporated in 1886, Arizona Public Service (APS) is Arizona's largest electric utility, serving 1.2 million customers in a service territory covering nearly 35,000 square miles. In addition, it has the second-largest generation fleet in the western United States.

     

    The organization started its GIS journey in 1994, with digital facility maps. In 1999, it added ArcFM8 and ArcGIS8, which they found to be flexible, easy to customize, and helpful in improving business workflows.

     

    As a large and growing utility, however, APS needed to add unique functionality and features to its solution. While these made the implementation more capable, over time, performance issues arose. Upgrades were costly and error-prone because of all the customization. APS needed a more flexible, economical, and sustainable way to model and manage its changing business.

     

    Meanwhile, the partnership between Schneider Electric and Esri was making its own strides, evolving and enhancing both companies' GIS solutions and — not coincidentally — implementing many of the features APS had customized into its core solutions.

     

    Seeing the strength of this partnership — and determined to shift its culture away from heavily-customized applications — APS chose to replace its aging system with ArcGIS 10.2.1 and Feeder Manager 2.0.

     

    More flexible and better prepared for the future

    Now, APS relies on the core solution to support its business model. The result? Dramatically improved system performance. In a benchmark-based test of 32 representative transactions developed by members of the LUC (Large Utility Consortium), completion time went from 42 minutes on the older system to just four minutes on the new one.

     

    Without the old system's customizations, APS is also positioned to take advantage of future upgrades. And its IT team can now focus more readily on upcoming implementation of ADMS initiatives.

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    Run the same test for yourself (user login required)

     

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    In the News...

    Directions Magazine article written by Matthew Crooks outlines the importance of creating a detailed Outage Management Process.

     

    View article »

     

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    Upcoming Events...

    Join us at the UTC Conference May 5-8, 2015 at Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta.

     

    More info »

     

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    The Wire • May 2015 • Schneider Electric