Water Conservation in the City of San Diego
Organizations are driving bottom line benefit by shifting to the cloud
By Jim Harris
Cloud computing is growing relentlessly. It will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 19% to 2022:
Death of the Data Center
The relentless growth of cloud computing has profound implications for data centers. Gartner predicts the death of the data center: It predicts that by 2025, 80% of enterprises will shut their traditional data center. As of the close of 2018, 10% already had. This will drive the continued growth of cloud computing.
The shift to the cloud is affecting all organizations – not just those that have run data centers. It’s affecting every day businesses, government departments at all three levels and even SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises). Here’s a fascinating municipal example:
City of San Diego: Driving Water Efficiency & Cutting Cost
The City of San Diego has transformed its relationship with customers by allowing convenient real time access to utility services and information through their self-serve digital customer engagement platform called MyWaterEasy. The app uses SAP’s Cloud Platform in order to allow customers to manage their utility account, view and pay bills, view and compare their water usage to stay informed on their consumption habits, find water saving tips and apply for rebates, find authorized payment locations, view service outages, report water leaks and request service or help.
And the app is having a significant impact. Since its launch, call volumes have been cut by 25%; water usage by 20% and, as a result, the city’s overall operational expenses for water have fallen by staggering 32%.
This cloud-deployed app has over 1.3 million customers and has drastically improved operational efficiency as well as enhanced decision making through analytics, reporting and insights into customer usage patterns.
It has also led to a 71% increase in online adoption – engaging customers and improving the customer experience. The customers have used the information provided by the app to participate in saving more water than ever before and the rebate programs offered led to great customer participation.
Apart from making it easy for the customers. it has also proven to be successful for the City of San Diego in identifying and stopping of water leaks which ultimately result in saving more water. Looking at the bigger picture, usage of the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud technology has paved way to a greater community involvement and helping achieve sustainability goals.
MyWaterEasy has helped the city overcome internal as well and external challenges it related to water. The department had been struggling with high call volumes and bill disputes. Customers were demanding more convenient payment options and wanted simple ways to reduce water consumption. Given the extreme drought the state has experienced over the last decade, California wanted the utility to help meet its critical water saving goals. San Diego is doing just that with the app.
Smart Energy Water as platform for customer and workforce engagement, big data and analytics for the energy and utility sectors, partnered with the City of San Diego to provide insights into water use with smart meter data and improved digital adoption through mobile and we self-service options to carry out various water utility functions.
The app allows customers to analyze their water consumption, project their monthly usage and cost based on historical consumption and adjust accordingly.
Enhanced Payment Options
Customers can now pay their bill online, view current and historical bills, enroll in recurring billing, initiate billing queries and view payment locations.
There is also a message center which records correspondence between customers and the utility related to water leaks, service requests and billing notifications allowing both the utility and customer to have one, convenient location to track conversations and issues.
Live updates from the City of San Diego’s social media channel can also be viewed on the app along with real time updates on the latest utility programs, rebates, savings and educational tips with the ability to easily view and enroll in these programs through any device.
One of the most significant modules the app features is the comparative study of the customer’s water usage with that of similar households by utility zip area. This feature alone drives water conservation.
Additional features include service requests for Move-In, Move-Out, Turn On/Off, Service Transfer.
MyWaterEasy have provided a solution to multiple challenges. Not only does it allow customers to manage their water supply but allows them to view granular water consumption data which arms them with the information they need to conserve this vital resource.
Can’t Measure? Can’t Manage
The City of San Diego believes that if you can’t measure something you can’t change it!
Some interesting insights come out of this case study: just giving people real time feedback on consumption can reduce increase efficiency by up to 15%. It’s called the Prius Effect – named after the Toyota Prius. Once drivers were giving real time feedback on fuel consumption fuel efficiency immediately improved.
Showing people the water consumption of their neighbours will immediately improve water efficiency as we are inherently competitive and don’t want to have worse performance than our peers.
To be successful in the future. organizations will have to have the 4Fs noted Rosabeth Moss Kanter when she was the editor of the Harvard Business Review: fast, flexible focused and friendly. The cloud allows organizations to provision new projects in hours instead of weeks, compared to the traditional data centre model. It allows for far more flexibility: a test or pilot can be up the same day, run and then be either shut down or expanded as required. For IT professionals, it is a far more friendly environment to work in. And, finally, it allows IT professionals to focus on what is important – enhancing the capacity of lines of business as opposed to focusing on IT infrastructure.
Learn more about this use case and SAP Cloud Platform, click here.
Jim Harris is the author of the Blindsided which focuses on disruptive innovation. The book is published in 80 countries worldwide and is a #1 international bestseller. You can follow him on Twitter @JimHarris or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org