Understanding the Value-Based Path to Improved Performance

May 31, 2022

About the speakers

Elkin Hernandez

Director Maintenance Services
DC Water

Mr. Elkin Hernandez currently serves as DC Water Director of Maintenance Services, in this role, he oversees the maintenance of the over 40,000 assets used at Blue Plains AWTP.  He has over 20 years of experience in the design, construction, commissioning and maintenance of water treatment and power utilities. For the past 9 years, he has worked at DC Water Blue Plains AWTP. Prior to joining DC Water, he worked in the consulting and construction engineering fields as a design, development and commissioning engineer and manager.

Mr. Hernandez is the immediate past chair of WEF’s Intelligent Water Technology Committee, his background includes work on telecom cation, automation, process control and cybersecurity. Currently his work is focused in the fields of smart water, management, and maintenance optimization. Mr. Hernandez holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s engineering degree in Electrical and Computer science.

Scott Parker

Asset Manager
KC Water

Scott has over 20 years of experience in local government, utility management, and private consulting. He serves as the Asset Manager for KC Water in Kansas City, Missouri. Before KC Water, he served as the Assistant Director for Public Works in both Olathe and Lenexa, Kansas, where he led the finance, data management, solid waste, field operations (streets, utilities, traffic), and communications divisions, and managed multiple Police, Parks, and Fire Department capital projects. He also has private consultant experience providing capital planning, financial analysis, data system, asset management, and interim-executive services to Ft. Smith, Arkansas; Jackson, Mississippi; and Kansas City, Kansas, all of whom had signed Federal Consent Decrees with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Dr. Zdenko (Cello) Vitasovic

Project Team Principal
WEF WISE Program

Zdenko Vitasovic has more than 30 years of experience in water and wastewater industry. He has managed many projects and teams in the US, Asia, and Europe, and is a recognized expert in mathematical modeling, decision support systems, real time control, automation, and application of technology to enhance process control.

[00:00:00] Felicia Oentoro: Okay. Hi, everyone, and welcome to Water Data Forum. My name is Felicia. I work at Cleveland Water Alliance, and I'm excited for today's discussion. We'll be dealing with topics in water data, especially with regards to utilities and technology investments. So Water Data Forum is a series that we started last year, Cleveland Water Alliance, in partnership with the Water Environment Federation, or WEF, and the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub is focused on making a broad range of topics and water data more accessible and available to folks around the country and the world.

[00:00:50] So thank you for being here today. If you enjoy what you hear, we'll have a few more this year with the next one in July. So we'll have some time at the end of today's webinar for open Q&A. Since we're in webinar format, all questions will need to be asked through the Q&A button. Please do not use The chat button. Now I will let our facilitator Elkin Hernandez introduce himself as well as our panelists.

[00:01:30] Elkin Hernandez: Thank you, Felicia. Hello, everyone. My name is Elkin Hernandez. I'm a director of maintenance services with DC water. And I also serve as a chair of the WEF Intelligent Water Technologies Committee. It is really my pleasure to welcome you to this session of the Water Data Forum. Today's presentation, People, Process, and Technology for Understanding the Value Based Path to Improve Performance.

[00:02:00] Is connected with a web initiative known as Wise. Wise is the water and temper and Trevor Nard ship or a strategic enterprise. The goal of Wise is to leverage a systemic approach to improve different aspects of managing a water sector utility. The Wise mission is to apply system thinking and provide a methodology for utilities to improve their capabilities and enable management practices focused on value and overall performance.

[00:02:32] The purpose of Wise is to provide a business reference model and information clearinghouse for water utilities to help them to make the next step to execute and deliver results that embody the characteristics of effective and innovative utilities.  With that in mind, I will introduce the two presenters that we have today.

[00:02:54] They are, Mr. Shello Vitasovic. He is the principal investigator for this project. Shallows previous health roles and recreations include, Co principal investigator for the Smart Utilities and Intelligent Water Systems Project, Chair of the WEF Intelligent Water Systems Committee, recipient of the WEF Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal for Outstanding Research, and project team lead of the WEF Wise program.

[00:03:24] His focus has been on mathematical modeling. Operational technology and real time controls and information systems. Cello has executed a number of projects for water sector utilities in North America, UK, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. With him, this is Scott Parker. He's the asset manager of KC Water in Kansas City, Missouri.

[00:03:46] He has over 20 years of professional experience in both local government and consulting and has been involved with asset management for the last 16 years. With that said,  let's welcome Cello. 

[00:04:00] Zdenko Vitasovic: Thank you, Elkin. I will share my screen at this point and talk with Scott  about a project, in the subsequent effort. Undergoing now as a web program. But before I launch into my presentation, I wanna acknowledge that what I'm gonna talk about, reflects the contribution of many people from a number of different agencies.

[00:04:39] Who have participated in this research with W. E. N. R. F. With W. R. F. And with WEF, their logos are shown on the screen and more than well over 100 people have contributed ideas, their time and creativity to these efforts. I also want to acknowledge my colleagues,  Scott Haskins and Mike Barnett, who have been the Co principal investigators on the you aim,  project for W. R. F. And for the Wise effort and to Kevin Johnson and probably Shankar Chandra second and for,  as co principal investigators on the research on intelligent utilities. So there's been a lot of talk about smart things, cities, smart networks, smart utilities, smart technologies. And, the purpose of the project that the WRF started in the 50 39 was to sort of figure out what is this about?

[00:05:50] And we discovered that smart has been defined principally in terms of technology and, I can,   start by,  mentioning an example when I was working with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water to about 19 million people. They had a technology issue with their control system there they refer to it as a SCADA system, which was critically important for operations. The facilities are highly automated. Some of them cannot be operated manually and the staffing levels.

[00:06:38] Felicia Oentoro: If you have your presentation, we're not able to see it at this moment.

[00:06:42] Zdenko Vitasovic: Oh, okay. I am sharing my screen.

[00:06:50] Okay. There we go. Okay. Is it shared now? Yes. Okay. So as I said, let me just see. As I said, smart has been defined principally in terms of technology. And one of the, one such challenge was when we were facing issues with the control system at the metropolitan water district.

[00:07:16] So this specific system was critically important for operations. It was vulnerable because it was more than 20 years old. It's very complex. During the past 20 years since it's been implemented, the investment in this system has been around 200 million dollars. It includes hundreds of controllers, customized software applications, and there's really a need for an upgrade.

[00:07:44] Because a number of components were at risk. So this is kind of a hairy problem that also includes other aspects. And as you can see from this graph, we looked at, we surveyed 45 utilities and found out that more than 15 years was really at a high end of when people typically replace such systems, which last far, their life is far shorter than the previous technologies, like the old pumps and valves and so forth.

[00:08:22] So dealing with a large organization and complex system, we sort of needed a bigger boat. We needed an approach that considers many other things in this complex problem. And as I thought about this, I sort of came up with this model that combined two familiar concepts, the concept of people, process and technology.

[00:08:50] And also the concept that there are different categories based on time, there are things that happen in real time on the operational level on the tactical level, which has a little bit longer time constant and a strategic level that has a very long time constant. And on each of these levels, there are people processes and technologies and the challenges are two types. One is to execute each of these things to have the right people, the right processes and technologies for a specific issue. But there's also the need for an interaction between all these different boxes. So if the people who design new systems don't talk to the people who maintain them or operate them, we have issues with performance.

[00:09:47] So there are many things happening from developing CIP. These are examples on different levels, designing, constructing and real time control. So in 2015 I introduced this model in an article in the Journal of American Water Works Association that is a three by three matrix, as a model for analyzing how a utility works.

[00:10:22] So there was some interest in this, after the article came out. So originally it was the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation, WENRF, that started a targeted collaborative research project that included a number of utilities who supported it both financially and in kind that looked at this framework, and it also looked at a tech methodology for improvement.

[00:10:50] So once we look at the framework, we also need to have a methodology for improving things. And if you see it, it is essentially a loop for continuous improvement that starts with assessing system maturity of our system, analyzing it in depth, designing to be the system that we would like to have, planning improvements, implementing improvements, and then monitoring performance.

[00:11:25] So these were the two things that were introduced in this paper and how the project was started. So the key goals were to Establish a framework that describes how the value is created, which is what I showed right now, but also provide a methodology for improving and also enable effective peer to peer collaboration that would really keep the effort grounded in the real needs of water sector utilities.

[00:12:04] Then to implement improvements in participating utilities to get some real results and also through this collaborative work develop, grow, and strengthen the peer to peer network. So these were the key things that we were trying to accomplish. So the statement overall, we keep talking about value.

[00:12:25] Value is created when people interact within an organization to execute business processes that may be enabled by technology. So this is a graphical representation of that statement and of the principles that we have established. So we have these two things. We have the framework and with the methodology.

[00:12:51] So what's the best place to start? We started with business processes. So we looked at how we actually create value. And the key to this was to apply a systems approach, a system thinking approach. So the system thinking approach required that we develop models. And it was important to have a notation, a way to develop the models that is consistent and uses standards.

[00:13:34] So we selected BPMN, which is a business process model and notation, version two, which is a de facto standard for business process modeling. It was originally an object management group that developed it’s now also an ISO standard, and it's designed to be understood by both business and technical users.

[00:13:58] And it uses an expressive process modeling language that captures a wide variety of concepts, and there are, you know, six essential graphical modeling elements. This is what one of these models look like, and it has the swim lanes that designate different business groups, these sorts of boxes are activities we have.

[00:14:26] We identify artifacts, databases, systems and so forth. So we start by looking at the As Is system. How are we doing it today? Now, surprisingly, although utilities perform these business processes, obviously they have knowledge about them. A lot of times they're not really well documented. A business process model like this is a system model, which means that it's a detailed description of how a process really works.

[00:15:03] So it tells us Which measurements are used to manage the process? Which management or metrics are impacted by the process? What decisions need to be made and who makes them? Who's involved in the business process? These are the swim lanes, the workflows, the sequence, and the path of activities. What resources are needed?

[00:15:24] Which technologies or systems enable this process? What data is required? And where in what systems does this data reside? So when we develop documentation at this level, we know what we're doing now. So the next step is to design a state. So this is an example from a case study. We had about 18 of them, this is the one from Grand Rapids, Michigan. And on the left side is their As Is State, and on the right side is there to be a state for this EPA requirement, the chrome air,  across media reporting. And they actually implemented a full model. So they were able to simulate the current conditions and the future conditions.

[00:16:18] So these simulations show them their As Is model in order to complete it to get to 100 percent required about 515 hours of utility labor for review and the industry was spending about 300 hours. With the to be model with changes the cost was reduced and the utility hours of review would be reduced to about 93 hours.

[00:16:46] And the industry hours for reporting, would be reduced quite a bit to about 10 hours by applying some technology. So this was one example of one model developed on one case study by one utility. But a number of utilities developed models for different processes and when we put them together, we have this water sector value model, which in the long run, we would hope to include many different business processes.

[00:17:23] So there'll be a map of how the utility does their business. How do they do their work? And on the upper level, which are these green boxes. It's hard to show it. It's readable. So just these green boxes, that's just very high level activities that we need to do, such as,  acquire assets and, you know, operate and maintain systems and so forth.

[00:17:53] So these are value elements that sort of describe just what we need to do, but below are then those BPMN diagrams that have a lot more details that tell us How we're actually getting this done. So this is the water sector value model. So the first couple of years we worked very intensively on the business processes.

[00:18:19] But then we started looking at the people's issues. Why did we look at the people's issues next. We had a workshop in 2019 with more than 40 representatives from different utilities. And we looked at, some sort of bread and butter issues such as C. I. Capital Improvement Program, planning and delivery business case evaluation, risk management, asset management, and we asked each group of these four teams to define what their main challenges are.

[00:18:54] And at the end of the workshop, it was a full week. We asked them, let's go back to those challenges. And tell us, what are these challenges related to? Are they about people, about processes, and or about technologies? So when we mapped it all out, and this was all coming from the participating utilities, 46% of the issues that they faced, that they were facing and cited as their key challenges were related to people, 43% were related to the process, and 11% were related to technology.

[00:19:28] So they also identified major workforce and organizational culture issues such as lack of trust, teamwork, too little focus on it, resistance to new ways of doing things and favoritism and hanging on to turf, and lack of engagement. So these are all things that had a significant impact. So the sort of mainstream focus primarily on technology was a little bit out of balance.

[00:19:58] With this kind of thing. So we decided to take a serious look at the people's side of things, which is workforce and organizational culture. So how did we do this? It was really by identifying strategic questions. We conducted research, looked at how this is done in other areas, looked at challenges,  and developed assessment models.

[00:20:28] We started with 400 ideas, got them down to 18 questions. And it was really a very collaborative approach where utilities were not just passive participants in workshops, they were the ones creating the value. So it was really a wonderful piece of work. So they defined the maturity model for this first step for assessing system maturity that had seven components that started if we go from the bottom up with teamwork and collaboration, employee engagement, communication, feedback, reward and recognition, responsibility and accountability, organizational values, organizational strategy and performance.

[00:21:14] So these were the seven categories that They defined and we developed assessment tools that were based on surveys in Microsoft forms. And this is a dashboard that was connected to the results of the survey and used power bi to present. So this was just a dashboard where you can see that there are seven categories, there are seven boxes here, and each of them had these three questions, two questions. This one had one question and the legend shows what kinda range was the maturity in the overall vote. But if you can see that we're looking at, at the dashboard, but when we look at it, things like saying,  doing an analysis of, how does management feel about it?

[00:22:11] We would get a picture like this, and from red it's low maturity and green is high maturity. And then we would see if this is the view how management rated, this is perhaps how the staff in the field rated. These issues. And then we looked at each specific category of these sevens and how each group looked at it.

[00:22:33] You can see the questions employees value and respect each other and how people felt about it. And when this was all completed. We had a way to assess this. Now, under the you aim project we didn't look at technology very much. Only as part of business process modeling, but on the project W. R. F. 50 39 intelligent water systems and and  and smart utilities. We did look exclusively at that. And I was a co principal investigator on that one. So on that project, we had two things that we had to do: define the framework and design a maturity assessment. So it's really compatible with what we were doing on the people side and process side over at UA.

[00:23:33] So this is the framework and that includes four levels. On the bottom level, are we collecting the data that we need? Are we managing it properly? What kind of analytic analytics do we have in place? And how do we provide value in decision support and automation back to the business. And also there was a maturity assessment.

[00:23:57] Now, if we look at each one of these error layers, and we have like, we can see that each one of them involves things that the business side needs to do and has primary responsibility for, and some things are really done by the technology people. So this needs to be mapped out so that the responsibilities are shared and that there's collaboration.

[00:24:24] Because if you look at this 1.1, the business requirements for data and information collection should really come from the business. This is not a technology issue. It's a business issue. So since that is kind of such a tight relationship between process and technology, we merged the assessment of the technology, with some questions that had to do with the business side. So, how did that thing look like? This is the overall map from the Wise program of the components of the improvement process. And these are not surveys, except for the people assessment. These yellow boxes are assessment, technology and process, which are, is a single, they're combined actually.

[00:25:19] Also people side and change management. So we start in the upper left corner with preliminary planning. We select the business process, do some initial process mapping. Maybe we conduct the people aspect to work for organizational culture, which I've already shown you some glimpse of. But then we can also look at the details of the process and the technology aspect. But this is not, while this is a survey for the people, these assessments are intended for collaborative work in sessions. So, what do these things look like? So for example, before we start getting into it, we need to know a little bit more about the process that we've selected.

[00:26:08] So these are things that we would look at. Who are the stakeholders? What's the impact of this business process? How do we have it documented? What are our business process goals? What are the metrics? Do we know what their metrics are? How are we going to measure success? And how are we going to manage this business process?

[00:26:28] So I'll show just a couple of things. So for example, the business process documentation, we answer questions, what is included, what do you have documented activities and workflows data that's required decisions, all the way to metrics. And then we say, okay, well, is it included or not included? Mostly included?

[00:26:51] Fully included? So we start getting a sense for how much we know about this business process. Another example is, what are the metrics? How are they currently measured? And how are the levels of service impacted? So these are things that we try to find out about the process. So when we combine these things, we have dashboards, both for the process and for the technology side.

[00:27:26] So the ones for the one for a part of the Technology aspect. The upper one, decision support or automation that we place really on the business side. So the technology assessment includes these components. What is the data required? What are the goals to data, goals to data table or map? Who owns the data?

[00:27:53] What is their data documented?  Do we know what the taxonomy is? Do we know about the tag names, data collection and creation methods? How is storing and is reliable? How do we keep it? How do we store it? Is it complete? How is it organized? What are analytics capabilities? So these are different questions that we try to answer.

[00:28:16] So for example, what is the data required to enable this process? In this case, I just mentioned a couple of sources, SCADA and maintenance, work orders, let's say. But then these are carried and we say, well, how is this data created or collected and what is the current method? Is it adequate? It's not adequate.

[00:28:39] So when we look at it, we get, I know this is, this is way too much to talk about. I just want to show you that you get a map that you get in these colors indicating where you may have some trouble. Where you may have some need for improvement and that you can then base your improvement planning on that. So from this point in time, I'd like to ask my colleague,  Scott Parker to talk about some practical aspects of this and I'll click the slides for him. 

[00:29:21] Scott Parker: All right. Cello Can you hear me. Yes. Can you see me. Yes. Okay. How about now, is that good. Yes. Okay. Alright. Thanks so much. Well, thanks everyone,  for joining the webinar today and I'm really honored to be a part of it.

[00:29:35] And I think that what Cello went through just then, was really great theoretical underpinning of what you're about to see in my present part of the presentation, which is a more practical application of a lot of these things and, the specific, circumstance that we were trying to address here at Casey Water, was that I am the asset manager. I was the first asset manager hired in 2018 that the organization had ever, that the organization ever had. And so, as a result, I was given the task of figuring out how to do asset management in my organization. And one of the places that I immediately went to look was, around the state of our information and our data.

[00:30:21] And what I found upon exploration was that it was a mess. I don't think that makes us unique in the utility sector, particularly the water utility sector, but it was pretty astonishing, what I found when I started looking at how our data and information worked relative to the service that we delivered.

[00:30:42] So we spent a lot of time on what I call the problem definition listed here is a problem statement. This is sort of the nature of the challenge that we were trying to face that led to the assessment of the As Is state, the to be state so on and so forth. So, and I say this because I think this is really important as a part of this process.

[00:31:05] I'm always amazed at how little time is actually Devoted to truly defining the problem that you're trying to solve. And it seems counterintuitive. I think that people are more action oriented as a general rule, particularly in the utility space. But you can put yourself in a real bind if you don't take the time to really articulate what you're after as it relates to going through a process like the one that mentioned before. So for us, that came out this way, it's largely impossible to implement best practices and asset management without assurance that our data goes into producing the information that we need to run our business.

[00:31:48] Has some level of intentional design standards, governance, quality control, upkeep and connectivity. You can go ahead and go to the next slide if you'd like. Okay, so, this is a continuation of the problem statement and you'll see here that I have a few elements highlighted in red, but the general gist of this particular portion of our problem definition and really, and really the description of our As Is, is that we have a number of systems that we rely on a regular day-to-day basis, to provide us information so that we may be able to more effectively and efficiently deliver the surface of water wastewater treatment or distribution and treatment, wastewater treatment and collection.

[00:32:36] And then we have a stormwater collection section as well in our organization. And what we found was that all of the pieces of information or data sets that really spoke to the work that we did, it spoke to the location of the assets that we have. Or necessarily the type of work that we did in all cases, we had a disagreement between those main systems.

[00:33:02] And so not only do we have disagreement between systems, we actually had disagreement within systems, and at the time we were being marketed by a number of good consulting folks who had really great tools, this concept of a digital twin, and the idea behind the digital twin makes some sense, when the information that supplies the digital twin has some level of assurance, and we really didn't have that.

[00:33:26] So we didn't really have any documentation for any of our core systems. And this is obviously because I'm an asset management, we're in the business risk and value, right? So the lack of having any documentation was very, very troubling. Also, different groups provided a lot of information around these assets. And they had different levels of accuracy.

[00:33:44] They had different features and many times they had different requirements for the data that they delivered and they worked on. And so we had a lot of confusion and we had a lot of work to do around putting this information into some sort of understandable whole that we could then use to make decisions.

[00:34:05] Okay. So our approach. We created a data systems strategic plan, and that's sort of the outline of what the systems must do so that we could create value as it relates to our organization. You can read those. I'm not going to go through all of that. But this is sort of the beginning of the to be state, if you will, in the model that Cello spoke to a moment ago.

[00:34:30] So what we said was that our systems, the 1st one says, any data management system must consider the needs of the business first. And that may seem like a rather benign and sort of banal statement, but you'd be amazed. And I'm going to show some documentation here in a moment how many systems that we had that really didn't do that.

[00:34:51] Or if they did that, they did it in such a way that was so disjointed and unrelated to the business whole that it really didn't give us much value of any sort. And then you can go down the line. But the last one is. Is that we said out loud and stated out loud and put in our RFPs. The efficacy of any system will be judged against its ability to integrate with other systems and really provide insight into our business. Again, this may seem rather elementary. But by stating this, we explicitly pointed out that value was the thing that we were after. And it really gave us something to say. That we could that we could judge against as related to the place that we ultimately wanted to go. 

[00:35:33] I think most organizations are in the same spot as we are. Data is easy to get these systems in and of themselves work fine. They all maximize to their own maximum utility, they do really good at certain things, specific to the design of which they are sort of designed to handle the issue.

[00:35:54] They're sort of designed to handle. But the real value comes with the ability to integrate across platforms and across different perspectives so that we get something that we can actually utilize. And that's really what we're after. And that's how we started judging these systems. Go ahead, Cello.

[00:36:13] Okay, so, I mentioned earlier that this is just a graphical representation of a couple of ways that we did this. And I think that this really speaks very nicely to this whole people process technology. Circumstance that cello described earlier on the left is the first thing we did, believe it or not is, we didn't have a comprehensive list of all of the systems that we either owned, operated or maintained within the department.

[00:36:41]  And so we created just a standard Excel spreadsheet list. With all of those systems, two things happen when we do this. The 1st thing is we couldn't believe how many systems we actually had that we were responsible for. And then secondly, there was a, we had no understanding of what a lot of them did.

[00:37:00]  So I consider this sort of data collection. This is just raw data kind of assembled together. But in order to achieve that next level of understanding and consider the business and really understand the efficacy of any one system. What we instead had to do is we had to try to,  showing the relationships between all of these systems in and of themselves.

[00:37:23] And that's what you see. And the graphic on the right, each dot represents a system. That is, in place and that we own, operate or maintain an apartment. What's interesting. And you could call it, it could be, it could be a system, it could be an application, it could be both.  Sometimes it's a combination of both, quite frankly. But what's interesting is if you look at this, I'm not going to make anybody go and try to read these dots. But I think what this shows is two things. One is, although it looks like a spaghetti mess, the more connectivity to any one dot shows the value of that system as it relates to our, contributing to our business process.

[00:38:05] Right? So that's a reflection of integration and it's a reflection. The more integrations, the more important it is to what we do. The 2nd thing is to show if you can see the dots on the edges there. Those are those specific applications that have no connectivity, really, to the overall business process.

[00:38:24] And by looking at it this way, we recognize that we have a lot of investments in data and technology that really don't give us any.  real value as it relates to the overall organization, it doesn't help us. It may improve one specific thing. Process, or maybe it makes one particular person happy as it relates to what they do.

[00:38:43] And sometimes that's valid, but this allows us to evaluate each of those. On a case by case basis and try to bring those dots into the context of the overarching whole of the department. Okay. So, as I mentioned, if you look over here on the left, this is just a zoomed in view of a couple of the dots and you'll notice the three, I believe I pulled out. There are our  GIS system, our  CMMS system and our CIS system, right? So we now know,  by looking at the as a state and looking at each of the relationships between all of the systems that we own and operate and maintain. Which systems are the most important and which ones are necessary to have integrations into with any other tool that we make a purchase for.

[00:39:32] And so we develop from this, a business case evaluation, and that's sort of represented here on the right. And these are just a number of different tools that we have looked at, or that we have invested in since we actually did this exercise. What the business case evaluation does is this allows us to evaluate, does this system ultimately get us toward the to be state that we are after?

[00:39:58] Does it move the ball forward as it relates to the overall data ecosystem that we inhabit? And to the business processes that we're ultimately trying to address with these investments. So this is an incredibly important step in the direction of being where we ultimately want to go. If you go back to that data systems plan, the 1st bullet point there.

[00:40:21] So, this is a, this is really one of the things I'll note on this. I think this is really important to show it. You can go to the next slide. Once you do this and sort of set this context. Then you can sort of drive to solutions that are not just address, any and all of those goals, but start to build on top of one another.

[00:40:46] And when they start building on top of one another meeting, the technology starts to sort of force multiply as it relates to what it tells you about your organization and its business. And then from that. That can lead to the ultimate asset management outcome is, for example, in our organization, which is very capital intensive.

[00:41:03] Hey, which one of these investments in our assets are the most critical to what it is that we do on a day to day basis. And that's what's really shown in this slide. So, on the left, the technology solution is based on, how we got, this is our water main replacement program is what's visualized here.

[00:41:21] It's just a G. I. S. map. the Reds basically say that these are the segments that need to be our most critical to need to be replaced so on and so forth. And then we can look at it, but by amalgamating the information, like, we did it really driving through those interrelationships. We can then do our capital about business case evaluation, which is what's in the middle.

[00:41:41] And then that allows for how we invest the money, which is represented on the right. So, by looking at it in this context, we sort of take a technology solution to inform what ultimately is resulted as it relates to. The business outcome, which is investment reinvestment in the replacements of a series of assets that directly serve our public.

[00:42:04] And the beauty of it again, going back to is in some cases here, as we walk through this process of improving our data to do better asset management, sometimes technology drove the process. In other words, it drove the outcome we were after. We made some strategic investments that really accelerated what you get to see here on the left.

[00:42:26]  That coalesced information and aggregated in such a way and then displayed it in such a way that people could understand. So that was a really, that investment really was driven by a technological solution and other occasions, technology really rode on the ultimate business process goal. It was, it enabled improvements in process improvements and understanding.

[00:42:47] And really made people's lives a little bit easier as it relates to what it is that they do on a day to day basis. And really, that's what happens a lot of times when you address these circumstances in this particular way. And using this model, the one that Cello spoke to, you know, we didn't follow it exactly step by step, but you don't have to follow it exactly step by step.

[00:43:09] If you get the fundamentals right, the details sort of fall out such as who they are and their relatives. To your specific context, and that's what's necessary to achieve an ultimate outcome that you can then replicate and use throughout the organizations in a lot of other places. And we're doing just that as we speak right now. And with that, I'll turn it back to Cello.

[00:43:29] Zdenko Vitasovic: Thank you.  So what we've talked about, so far was the first three steps to analyze the system maturity, analyze the system state designed to be. But then we have to plan and implement improvements. And that means introducing change and introducing change requires that we think about change management, which is a lot about people.

[00:44:01] So we can say that change management kind of envelop is around everything workforce organization processes technology because if we make a change in technology, it will impact the processes and if we make change and if we see change in the workforce, we may need to change processes or technology or even our organization.

[00:44:24] So all these things are interrelated, and we can represented maybe like these circles a little bit better. So we've talked about all these assessment tools and on the left are those seven things on the workforce and organizational culture that we spoke about. Here in the upper right corner is the business processes and then the technology.

[00:44:49] And it may seem a little confusing, but let me explain on an example why this would be helpful.  And also we are working on an assessment tool and we have a model for change management. I'm not going to get into it right now, but I'll first show on an example why we need to think about all these factors.

[00:45:19] Let's say that somebody you can see in the here that there's a red arrow here and a decision support and or automation and that management says you know we we really need some more automation or better decision support so you were asked to develop a decision support system but Perhaps these assessments tell you, that the business process you're trying to improve or automate may not be well documented.

[00:45:52] Assessments could also tell you that this business process is complex and that the impact of failure is significant and that the data required by the business process is actually not really, we don't collect or generate enough data. And maybe the people side tells you that the employee, employee engagement is low at the teamwork and collaboration are at low level of maturity.

[00:46:16] These things should inform your judgment, your process and your approach to improvement. And if we proceed, there are many stories about projects that failed, 70 percent of them statistically change changes fail because these things are not considered. So all of these assessments and all these methods can basically help us plan improvements, implement and monitor performance using project management, but also where the change management comes in, is that we look at the organization's ability to change and capacity for change.

[00:46:59] So that is the final holistic part that brings it all together. And I thank you for your time and I'll return back to Elkin for the question and answer.

[00:47:16] Elkin Hernandez: Well, thank you Cello and Scott,  thank you for your summary on such a relevant topic. For anybody who is working on a utility system, they will understand the value of the discussion and the importance of finding ways to being effective when we're trying to address them.

[00:47:40]  I have a few questions that I'd like to share with you and Scott, to help us learn more about your experience on this project. So the first one is,  Can you please expand in general, Cello, what has been the involvement of the utilities in these efforts and how do they engage in the effort?

[00:48:07] Zdenko Vitasovic: Yeah, that's a very good question. Thank you, Elkin. We currently have on the Wise program, I think about 110 or so people involved from 18 or 19 utilities. And we have currently six initiatives ongoing. One is asset management, asset risk. The other one is business case evaluated C. I. P. Planning and delivery, including business case evaluation, energy management.

[00:48:35] Then we have a people team, which is workforce and organizational culture. We have a change management team, and we have data and technology. So the people select the topic that they want to engage in. They participate in meetings, and they actually participate in everything that's getting done. So it's a significant in kind,  participation and contribution, and they attend meetings, workshops, and we also have workshops at WEFTec, at Utility Management Conference, and we're going to have a workshop hosted by Kansas City in September.

[00:49:19] We're going to spend three days there, going through these things, sharing our experiences, and there's also collaboration between different peers. When we put people, these folks in the room, they immediately find so many things in common and so many things that they want to talk to each other about.

[00:49:41] And maybe Scott Parker, who's one of the utility participants, can also mention, you know, what's his experience with this peer to peer collaboration.

[00:49:52] Scott Parker: Sure. I would say that the biggest, I guess, overall outcome of Wise that's positive is, that peer to peer collaboration. I've been a part of a lot of groups over the years that, you know, have goals like this.

[00:50:13] Doing it with my peers in a setting, I know they know what I'm talking about. They know I know what they're talking about. It makes all the difference in the world, and it really, it really, I would call it sort of turbo charges how we get to some of the solutions that we're after because people have a shared understanding.

[00:50:37] Elkin Hernandez: Thank you, Scott. I have a question that I'm going to read and I will remind, anybody who wants to present a question using the Q&A function. But in this case, I'll just go ahead and read it. it's saying, the question is, what would you recommend as a starting point for a utility not presently engaged? In this program or a similar program.

[00:51:01] Zdenko Vitasovic: Thank you. One of the things that we've done is that we have invited people who are not currently part of the program to just join in some meetings and see what it's like. We share with them some of the reports from the Water Research Foundation. There are a number of videos, so we can provide additional information and they can sort of try a few meetings and see if it meets their needs.

[00:51:35] And we also, the project team supports their onboarding, which means that the project team meets with them and shows them. There are, we have thousands of files there, we show them where this stuff is. And have a discussion about how they can best engage. But that's a very good question.

[00:51:53] Elkin Hernandez: Another topic that another question that would follow the first one is who do you think within a utility should take the lead on these efforts?

[00:52:06] Zdenko Vitasovic: I think we have, for example, utilities that have one set of people working on the workforce issue, and they may be in HR or Someplace like that in completely different people from the same same utility working on C. I. P. And planning or on asset management. So when we look at, you know, Scott's here, Kansas City, there are different people involved in different initiatives.

[00:52:35] And sometimes a person decides. Well, my main interest is in the in C. I. P. And I have to say, I forgot to mention the first time. Each one of these six initiatives is led by utility representatives. So for example, CIP planning and delivery is co-led by DC Water and Kansas City, and workforce and organizational culture is led by Lisa Thompson, general manager from MCES, and by Zonetta English, and so forth. So it is, really Sort of a team focused approach.

[00:53:17] Elkin Hernandez: All right. Thank you. Shallow and following this on the same perspective of utility engagement is what you think? You know, this seems to be a big air for seems to be complicated on a lot of work. So, with that in mind,  what would be the time commitment required for a utility to participate in this program?

[00:53:39] Zdenko Vitasovic: Well, I spent about half of my year in consulting, and I think that consultants play a really important role in our business. This effort does require more, this effort is sort of like joining the gym. It's not like going to a beauty parlor where you come in and somebody else makes you look good.

[00:54:10] It's really about getting in and doing the work and learning by doing. There are different ways to learn. One is to listen, the other one is to see. But this really is learning collaboratively from your peers. And from, you know, doing things and, it is, sometimes I hear, well, you know, we have a lot of urgent things to do, but I think sometimes we need to take a step back and think what is urgent and what is important and important things are sometimes less apparent than the urgent things.

[00:54:50] And, I think we all share,  on this team, a desire. To make things better and to have an impact on how things are managed in our industry.

[00:55:07] Scott Parker: If I could add one other point to that, Elkin, I think that what you're speaking to there goes sort of like the first point that I made in my presentation.

[00:55:16] So it really is important to accurately define the problem that you're trying to solve through a process that makes sense because otherwise you can spend a lot of time spending your wheels on the guts of the process towards an end that you're not necessarily sure of ultimately where you're going.

[00:55:37] And so I would suggest anybody that's interested and really wants to know and really just has something they want to address through this model, spend some time with relevant players that are in your organization to decide, okay, this is what we really want to do. And that's a great way to approach, because you have something that you're working towards all the time, so you can use all the techniques and the tools towards a specific tangible end.

[00:56:05] And you get something tangible out of it. Now you're ready to go to the next step. Scott. I certainly can

[00:56:10] Elkin Hernandez:  Thank you Scott I certainly can relate to the value. As I mentioned before, the idea of, by being involved in a utility and on system issues related to utility, I fully understand the value. That we can gain and realize from these type of efforts.

[00:56:31] I think we're at the end of the session. What I want to say right now is I want to thank everybody who attended the session. I want to thank Cello and, and Scott for their time, on this presentation and, wishing a lot of success on the future of this project. I want to remind everybody that this presentation, this recording will be available on the Tulane Water Alliance web page, through the webinars menu.

[00:57:09] And, I want to invite you guys to the next session of the Water Data For that's scheduled to happen in July. Thank you, and we'll have a wonderful rest of the week. Bye.

[00:57:22] Zdenko Vitasovic: Thank you. Bye. Thank you, everybody. Bye.