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Why do utilities need EIM?


I have talked about Enterprise Information Management (EIM) in one on my prior posts. The need for EIM is increasingly becoming clear to many utilities and they are slowly starting enterprise wide initiatives to get this going. In this post, I will talk about an illustrative use case and the various components of EIM.


Outage management is one of the critical component of any utility smart grid program. There are a number of key benefits of outage management to both the utility as well as it's customers. A utility will be able to use smart meter data and locate outages. Once an outage is located a utility can re-route power thereby restoring power to the customer almost immediately. Obviously, this will improve the customer experience and customer satisfaction. Outage detection allows utility to dispatch nearby crew to a specific address where problem is detected helping utility improve operations. Customer Service reps will be able to have up-to-date information on a premise and will be able to provide updated information to any customer that calls in to inquire about the outage.


To be able to successfully implement an outage management use case, a utility needs to ensure a number of pieces are taken care of. Such a use case needs to integrate data across systems e.g. MDM, OMS. Customer master data will ensure a consistent definition and view across applications. Having appropriate policies and procedures will provide ability to create and maintain data ensuring data health over the long run. With well-defined data standards, data delivery standards utilities can improve data sharing and interoperability. These various components pose a huge challenge but are critical to a successful implementation of outage management use case. This can be achieved by having a well-defined Enterprise Information Management strategy and implementation plan in place. Each utility will have to look at the components of EIM - Master Data Management, Data Governance, Data Architecture, Quality Management, Metadata Management etc. - and create its own version of EIM structure to ensure long-term success. 

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