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An Operations Lesson from the Spreadsheet Department

Posted to Esri in the Digital Utility Group
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Pat  Hohl's picture
Director - Electric Industry Solutions Esri

Pat Hohl, PE, is Esri's director of electric industry solutions. He was a pioneer in the use of GIS for electric utilities. He has over 35 years of experience in utility engineering, technology...

  • Member since 2018
  • 131 items added with 181,547 views
  • Aug 14, 2020
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My friend Dave asked me – “If you could have just one desktop program, what would it be?” The spreadsheet is perhaps the most flexible of all. Afterall, nearly everyone uses spreadsheets. They are great to store information, sort, and add up the numbers. Click the chart button and understand the information better. Then, making it available to others multiplies the value.

Capture information - understand it - share it. That’s a winning formula.

Operations staff use spreadsheets everyday for costs, schedules, and lists. Why is there no dedicated spreadsheet department? Because a typical user can do so much on their own – they don’t need to be a whiz to use the technology. OK, you might need an expert to write a tricky macro command. But, how often does that happen? Almost never. Spreadsheets provide obvious business value - so do maps.

Location Awareness

Every Operations Center has maps – they create understanding with location. It’s quite difficult to think of an operations activity that ignores place. Location yields perspective to operational activities and concerns. Utilities use maps—they naturally work better using awareness of location.

The lesson for Operations is this - location technology is for everyone. It’s not just for the GIS team. It can be easily applied, much like a spreadsheet, to capture information - understand it - share it.

Capture Information

Staff need many types of data to form a complete operational picture – network details, SCADA, work tasks, weather, sensors, and crew locations. ArcGIS is a modern GIS. It goes far beyond traditional mapping bringing virtually any data together. It does this in ways that make sense for operations – by location.

Understand it

Rather than handling tasks as they “come off the printer”, coordinating around location adds real value. Leading utilities establish priorities with a greater understanding of the impacts and desired outcomes. They promote workforce efficiency by sharing the same information to all stakeholders.

Share it

As complexity increases and customer expectations rise, real-time situational awareness is becoming even more important. With complete data and fresh insights, a modern GIS presents a complete operational picture. It promotes collaboration. Convenient apps enhance awareness in the control room and the executive office. They help field staff and customers alike.

Using GIS in these ways is transforming Operations Management - just like spreadsheets. Please join us for the Enhancing Operations Management With Location Technology webinar. Save your seat! Register today! This complementary 60 minute event will explore how to combine data, support workforce efficiency, and maintain situational awareness. Don’t miss the live discussion with industry leaders applying these capabilities to uplift Operations Management at their utilities.

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