The project team’s first major go-live milestone was the new asset management system for generation. Generation assets were historically managed on paper, so the transparency and ease-of-use offered by the new online solution represented a significant upgrade over past processes.
After this success, work continued on the CIS component as well as asset management for electric transmission/distribution and gas. But the three-year effort was not without challenges. The core CIS components were over 20 years old, and changes impacted every critical aspect of Avista's way it served and billed customers, as well as its internal operations.
Because Avista's legacy systems mingled both customer service and work management capabilities together, the CIS implementation represented two simultaneous large-scale deployments. Regulatory commission requirements from three different jurisdictions had to be under constant consideration and documented. All customer serving and work management processes were created or updated, and new asset management processes had to be developed.
As program manager, Black & Veatch helped coordinate more than 100 integration points among 11 separate systems, from supply chain management and crew dispatch to customer portals and outage management. Project stakeholders delivered tens of thousands of hours of training regarding the new processes. All the while, the Black & Veatch provided oversight for how customers and employees were kept informed, and coordinated preparations for the dress rehearsals leading up to the system go-live.
It was also important to adequately fund such an extended project. Each request for project expenses to be included into the utility's base rate was approved by regulators in all three states, a strong endorsement of the project's overall success.