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Institutional Knowledge and Succession Planning In the Cloud: A Low-Cost Way to Capture How Things Really Work


One of the key challenges of maintaining a utility’s operational performance is the preservationrnof critical information necessary to optimally run its facilities. The solution to this challenge forrnthe City of Oxnard is to store and manage this critical information in an electronic operationsrnmanagement system (OMS) hosted by a third-party service provider over the Internet. Thisrnsystem, which is available over a secure Internet connection, is used by the City to store,rnmaintain and retrieve important information about its facilities, equipment, operating procedures,rnand specifications. Using a hosted system can cut the start-up and on-going maintenance costs ofrnthe OMS in half compared to implementing the system on a utility’s computer network. Thisrnapproach increases operational efficiency at a lower cost to the utility over more traditionalrnapproaches.rnSystem expansion, equipment upgrades, and staff turnover are all threats to operationalrnoptimization. Utilities typically rely on the hard-earned experience of their senior operations staffrnto know what decisions to make and what processes to follow when certain conditions occur. Inrnmany cases, senior staff have learned from the “school of hard knocks” and have gainedrnsignificant critical knowledge over the years about how to run their systems.rnBut what happens when these senior staff retire or transfer out of their position? Many times,rnthis critical information goes with them. Typically less-experienced staff will take their place andrnmay have to re-learn this critical knowledge by making the same mistakes made previously. Thisrnerodes the utility’s performance and leads to chronic problems such as increased maintenancerncosts, ongoing operational problems, regulatory issues, and reduced asset life. Add to that thernongoing process of improving facilities – which require more training, documentation, and morerncomplex procedures – and it becomes clear why it is difficult to achieve key effective utilityrnmanagement attributes such as operational optimization, operational resiliency, andrninfrastructure stability.rnOne way to immediately address this issue is to capture this institutional knowledge in anrnelectronic OMS while the experienced staff are still available. An OMS is a computer applicationrnthat organizes, integrates, and automates retrieval of operations and maintenance information. Byrncapturing this knowledge and presenting it in an easy to use format, a utility can standardizernoperational processes, reduce the time it takes to locate critical information, increase operationalrnefficiency, and reduce the cost of maintaining standard operating procedures and other systemrndocumentation. With the utility’s institutional knowledge captured in an electronic OMS, new or ess experience staff can use the system for reference or training and build on what has beenrnlearned in the past.rnThere are many types of electronic OMS systems available and most are expensive to implementrnand difficult to maintain. Today, however, technologies are available the make it easier forrnutilities to acquire and implement an OMS. Cloud computing, or the ability to access computerrnresources remotely over the Internet, makes it possible to obtain and implement an OMS at arnlower start-up cost than if the OMS were managed on the utility’s network. In this scenario, thernOMS software is owned by a service provider who makes it available to the utility for a monthlyrnfee. The utility gets a secure, protected, web-based OMS that manages facility informationrnwithout the difficulties of software procurement, implementation, or maintenance.rnWhen the City of Oxnard Public Works Department decided to upgrade and expand theirrnwastewater treatment facilities, they included development of an electronic operations manual tornpreserve their institutional knowledge. In order to save money and simplify management of thernOMS, they elected to use a hosted solution provided by a separate service provider. The hostedrnOMS, OMSConnect?, is a secure, web-based solution built specifically for water andrnwastewater utilities to manage and organize equipment, procedures, and specifications related tornthe utility’s infrastructure. This option has several advantages over implementing andrnmaintaining a system locally on the City’s network. The City was able to save money byrneliminating:rn1. Licensing and implementation costsrn2. Internal maintenance and information technology support for the system and datarn3. Hardware acquisition and administration costsrnInstead, the City pays a monthly fee for use of the system over the Internet. The service providerrnprovides an Internet-accessible server that contains only the City’s data. The system is availablernthrough a secure login process 24 hours a day from any Internet-connected computer.rnThere are several key features of OMSConnect? that makes it easy to capture and maintainrninstitutional knowledge. The system comes with an easy to use interface that allows operators torndirectly add and edit content without the need for specialized information technology expertise.rnIt leverages common Internet components, such as hot links and interactive graphics that easilyrnconnect related operational information or external websites. It also provides a built-in editingrnworkflow that allows any operators to suggest content updates, but controls the publishing ofrnupdated material through an approval process. The system also supports multiple types of mediarnincluding video, images, graphics, and documents (e.g., Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel) tornoptimize training and knowledge transfer. These features make it easier to engage operationsrnstaff to update and obtain information without adding significantly to their workload.......

【作者名称】: Allan Scott
【作者单位】: Brown and CaldwellEmail: AScott@BrwnCald.com
【关 键 词】: Knowledge management, knowledge retention, operations and maintenance, O&M, on-linernoperations manual, electronic operations manual
【会议名称】: Utility Management Conference Proceedings 2012 : Managing in the New Normal
【期刊论文数据库】: [DBS_Articles_01]
【期刊论文编号】: 101,618,793
【摘要长度】: 5,815
【会议地点】: Miami, FL(US)
【会议组织】: Brown and CaldwellEmail: AScott@BrwnCald.com;
【会议时间】: 2012
【上篇论文】: 外文会议 - Using an Organizational Approach to Infrastructure Management Improvements at Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to Achieve Lasting Results
【下篇论文】: 外文会议 - Managing Risk at the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati

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