IBM Smarter Water Solution to improve Yarra Valley service

Posted on 13 Jan 2015 by Tim Brown

IBM has announced a business consulting and technology partnership with Yarra Valley Water to enhance the management and functionality of its assets and customer service to over 1.7 million people and 50,000 businesses throughout Melbourne.

Through this partnership Yarra Valley Water will gain access to critical insights to maximise asset performance and improve customer service outcomes across its operations.

Faced with disparate and aging business systems, Yarra Valley Water, Melbourne’s largest water and sanitation utility, looked for a partner to work with them and help the organisation achieve its ambitious efficiency and customer service targets.

The partnership will see Yarra Valley Water consolidate several systems into a single platform, providing a comprehensive view of all assets across 3 billion dollars of water and sewerage infrastructure. This includes approximately 19,000 kilometres of water and sewer pipes, 79 water pump stations, 9 sewage treatment plants and 2 recycled water facilities. This holistic view will provide Yarra Valley Water with the ability to collect, combine and analyse data from across its asset portfolio, which is particularly important for renewal projects of aging infrastructure. The new system will improve the existing asset lifecycle, ensuring downtime and maintenance costs are minimised.

These insights will improve customer service by enabling the issue to be more accurately diagnosed and prioritised on the first call. The IBM solution enables the customer service desk to have access to all customer information on a custom-made, single screen that makes it easier to define the customer problem.

With all relevant data available in one place, the system will enable the company to analyse historical data from the entire water and sewerage network. “IBM’s Maximo Asset Management System will allow Yarra Valley Water to grow and develop its asset management capability, achieving ambitious customer service and efficiency targets” said David Snadden, Yarra Valley Water General Manager, Strategy and Communications.

“The new solution has provided greater asset information enabling us to make more informed business decisions. This will extend the life of assets, ensure safer work environments, and deliver productivity improvements that help us make every cent count for our customers,” said Mr Snadden.

With employee safety a fundamental aspect of the company’s operations, IBM worked with Yarra Valley Water to introduce a Permit Monitoring application in the control room, enabling teams to visually monitor active permits in the system and attain graphic alerts when an incident or event requires attention.

The new asset management solution has streamlined customer service in the Call Centre where representatives are now able to access information on a single screen as they respond to customer calls. The change has increased the efficiency of interactions with customers —saving time and improving satisfaction levels.

Culture is vital to function and the cultural alignment between Yarra Valley Water and IBM enables seamless transition between the two companies facilitating a ‘one team’ approach.

“Utility companies are looking for better ways to manage their significant portfolio of assets in a way that improves customer service, maximizes operational efficiencies, and reduces risk. Yarra Valley Water chose IBM because of our proven capabilities and experience guiding organisations to achieve these business outcomes,” said Dianne Kassimatis, Client Executive, IBM Australia.