The delivery of clean drinking water to citizens is a critical function undertaken by municipal government agencies and private companies across the globe. As with any organization that relies on natural resources to provide services, municipal utilities face significant challenges to their operations. With rapid changes in the availability of raw resources owing to environmental and regulatory challenges, utility companies are in a race against time to sustain their operations while providing the highest quality of potable water supply to its consumers. Across the United States, water utilities are battling the interplay of an aging infrastructure, decreasing consumption and therefore, increasing costs of operation and capital investment. In addition to physical assets used in the delivery of these services, utilities rely heavily on information technology assets to ensure that operations run smoothly, customers receive accurate and timely bills, human resources are accountable and the safety of the infrastructure is maintained at all times. Mindboard’s utility consulting practice focuses on helping our clients achieve their strategic objectives through the following consulting services:
Objective: Comprehensive Peer Review of the Large Suburban Water Agency’s Technology and Business Systems, and IT Support Services RFP Development and Vendor Selection
Background and Solution:
A Large Suburban Water Agency (“Agency”) in Southern California engaged Mindboard to conduct an independent comprehensive peer review of the Agency’s technology and business systems to ensure the effectiveness and reliability of its Information Technology environment. The initiative was aimed at identifying and assessing critical challenges of the Agency’s IT function and ensuring that the Agency maintains its IT infrastructure and operations according to the industry standards and best practices.
Mindboard’s approach in conducting this study included three major phases
1) Data Gathering,
2) Critical Analysis and
3) Recommendation Development
During the data-gathering phase, Mindboard Project Team (“Project Team”) obtained information through a series of on-site interviews and also reviewing available documentation. Personal interviews were utilized as the primary tool for data gathering, which enabled the Project Team to obtain a clear picture of the challenges faced by the Agency at present. The critical analysis phase was utilized to synthesize the information captured into an actionable format. A major part of the analysis phase was to develop a comprehensive GAP analysis, utilizing prior information gathered, combined with our institutional knowledge of public sector IT best practices. As part of the gap analysis process, Mindboard utilized a three-dimensional approach, namely People, Process, and Technology (PPT) to develop a high-level understanding of the current state of the Agency IT environment by assessing how these three elements interact with each other within the Agency. Finally, recommendations were developed utilizing key findings from the gap analysis. For implementation purposes, Mindboard categorized the strategic recommendations to immediate (0-3 months), short term (3-12 months), and medium term (12 – 36 months), and long term (36-60 months).
The Agency also engaged Mindboard to assist them in the IT Support Services Request for Proposal Development and Vendor Selection. To develop comprehensive RFP document, we conducted series of interviews to various department personnel to gather information what services are rendered right now and what services they want the new IT Support vendor to render. Following the interview and outcome of comprehensive analysis of the Agency’s technology infrastructure, we developed the RFP document in two segments – Managed Services and On-demand services. After publishing the RFP document, we are currently conducting proposal evaluation and analyzing the received proposals from the cost benefit analysis viewpoint. After this analysis, we will participate in the vendor demonstration for short listed vendors and then conduct next round of qualification check via references. We will also assist the Agency in contract negotiation and development of contract performance matrix for monitoring and control.