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IBM to Help Utility Improve Water Management, Customer Service

IBMIBM has formed a business consulting and technology partnership with Yarra Valley Water to help improve its water management and customer service to more than 1.7 million people and 50,000 businesses throughout Melbourne.

Faced with disparate and aging business systems, Yarra Valley Water, Melbourne’s largest water and sanitation utility, looked for a partner to work with it and help the organization achieve its 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 of water and sewerage infrastructure. This includes about 19,000 kilometers of water and sewer pipes, 79 water pump stations, nine sewage treatment plants and two recycled water facilities. This holistic view will provide Yarra Valley Water with the ability to collect, combine and analyze 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 minimized, IBM says.

These insights will improve customer service by enabling the issue to be more accurately diagnosed and prioritized on the first call, IBM says. Its technology 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.

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 system has streamlined customer service in the call center 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.

Late last year IBM and Veolia teamed up to offer smart cities services to municipalities. The first products — smart water services — will incorporate IBM’s Intelligent Water software, which uses big data, and provide a system that integrates, optimizes and analyzes all data related to water management.


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