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Critigen’s Flexible Collaboration Spectrum & Your Utility Network

Flexible Collaboration Spectrum Banner Image

Most utilities will need assistance from an outside consultant to provide either expertise or additional capacity when implementing Esri’s Utility Network. With Critigen’s Flexible Collaboration Spectrum, you decide how the project work will be shared. The amount of help you will need will vary depending on your own skillsets and the internal competition for those precious resources. Selecting a consultant that has a flexible and collaborative delivery model, which caters to your organization’s resourcing needs, will be a critical success factor for your Utility Network implementation.

You can decide how you collaborate with your consultant

Healthy collaboration patterns between consultants and customers typically result in positive project outcomes. It may sound crazy, but before selecting a Utility Network GIS consultant, YOU should be able to decide the type of help YOU would need and how YOU would like to interact with and collaborate with your consultant. That is what Critigen’s Flexible Collaboration Spectrum for Utility Network implementation is all about. Do you need ad hoc assistance, do you want your consultant to handle all aspects of the project, or are your needs something in between? Whatever you decide, you will need to successfully collaborate with your consultant in some form or fashion.

What is the Flexible Collaboration Spectrum?

At Critigen, we’ve coined the term the Flexible Collaboration Spectrum to describe the range of collaboration options you could choose from in order to realize your Utility Network project objectives. The graphic below shows different levels of collaboration. On the far left of the graphic we show consultants providing strategic advising or what we call phone-a-friend. On the far right we show consultants providing a turnkey Utility Network implementation. In between those two extremes lie many options including customer led co-delivery and consultant led co-delivery. To learn more read our blog post about Utility Network Best Practices implementation.

Flexible Collaboration Spectrum

Flexible Collaboration Spectrum Chart
  1. Phone a Friend / Expert – customer delivers project and utilizes consultant as technical advisor on an ad-hoc basis.
  2. Customer Led Co-delivery – project is delivered with both customer and consultant staff with customer managing the project and providing leadership and the consultant providing additional capacity and expertise.
  3. Consultant Led Co-delivery – project is delivered with both customer and consultant staff with consultant managing the project and the customer providing additional capacity and expertise to specific components of the project.
  4. Turnkey Delivery by Consultant – all project delivery and management provided by the consultant.

Evaluating where you are on the Flexible Collaboration Spectrum

It’s important to point out that there is generally no right or wrong place to be found along the Flexible Collaboration Spectrum. There is however, a right place on the spectrum for your organization and your project.  The table below highlights some of our client’s capabilities and requirements for a Utility Network project and how they rank in importance when you are choosing how to collaborate with your consultant. With this table you can find where your organization is positioned on the Flexible Collaboration Spectrum.

Customers’ Ability/Desires Phone a Friend/Expert Customer Led Co-delivery Consultant Led Co-deliver Turnkey Delivery by Consultant
Project Management Track Record hi med-hi med-low low
Risk Management/Ownership hi med-hi med-low low
Technical Capability hi med-hi med-low low
Staff Capacity hi med-hi med-low med-low
Knowledge Transfer during Delivery med-hi hi hi med-low
Teamwork / Transparency with Consultant med-low hi hi med-low
Clearly Defined Roles & Responsibilities med-low med-low med-hi hi
Detailed Scope of Work low med-low med-hi hi
Clear / Detailed Acceptance Criteria low med-low med-hi hi
Key to Level of Importance
Low low
Medium-Low med-low
Medium-High med-hi
High hi

How Critigen collaborates with our clients

In the past several years Critigen has had experience working with clients who are at different points along the Flexible Collaboration Spectrum. We have highlighted 3 example projects, each of which is at a different point along that spectrum. Where do you see your organization along the spectrum? To find out more about our flexible and collaborative approach to Utility Network implementation you can view this blog on our website or contact us at www.Critigen.com

Customer Examples

Flexible Collaboration Spectrum Chart

Brookings Municipal Utilities (BMU) operates the telephone, electric, water and wastewater utilities for the City of Brookings South Dakota. They provide power to approximately 7,500 customers. BMU is undergoing a Utility Network implementation for their electric business. They are delivering this project with internal resources but wanted external assistance to work through some data analysis and provide expertise on the Utility Network. Critigen has assigned two consultants that have worked on previous UN projects to provide advice and technical expertise.

Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) wanted to replace its legacy SAP/GIS synchronization solution with a simpler solution that they could own and update in the future. To keep costs down MMWD and Critigen agreed to co-develop the solution. Critigen developed the GIS side of the integration and MMWD SAP resources developed the SAP components.

“I just have to say your team has been outstanding through every step of this process. We’ve worked with many consultants, including more than our fair share of ESRI-SAP integration outfits, and this is hands down the best experience yet!”— Gavin McGhie, GIS Manager, Marin Municipal Water District

South Jersey Industries (SJI) provides natural gas service to approximately 681,000 customers in New Jersey and Maryland, and selected Critigen to implement a net new GIS platform for two mid-Atlantic Gas utilities it has recently acquired. The project also included integrating the GIS platform with other enterprise systems being developed for the TSA Exit program. Critigen was the responsible for the GIS system architecture, application configuration/development, data conversion, and final deployment of the solutions. For more information of the project you can read the Esri Case Study.