Saint John Energy is a municipal electrical distribution utility located in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada and is run by people who care about how its work impacts its community and its 36,000 customers. The utility partners with its owner, the City of Saint John, and inventive service providers, to bring the people of Saint John customer-focused and innovative energy solutions.
The utility’s Innovation department, which includes the Operations Technology team, is made up of 8 people and works to provide innovative and effective technology solutions to business problems and seeks to achieve continuous improvement on all process within the organization. The department uses automation as one of their efficiency strategies to support its mission.
In order to provide great service, Saint John Energy invests in technology solutions to make its employees’ lives easier at work. Case in point: it uses Cityworks to manage the work orders used by its technicians. Cityworks relies on the ArcGIS geodatabase to facilitate and optimize management of the organization’s many assets.
A specific example is when technicians replace a customer’s water tank, and the information about the old tank, including site location, must be transferred to the new one. Saint John Energy managers didn’t want the employees out in the field to have to transfer this information manually, so this process needed to be automated. However, the utility couldn’t use Cityworks to update the information on the underlying GIS data without customizing the application.
And so, Saint John Energy asked Consortech to propose and implement an efficient solution to solve this challenge.
HOW WE HELPED
After reviewing the client’s business and technology processes together, Consortech and Saint John Energy opted for a simple solution, without dependencies or customized features, to reduce risk for future migrations. Consortech experts suggested using FME Server as a low-code integration platform—specifically, they chose to use webhooks to update the data in real time.
Saint John Energy and Consortech worked with Esri Canada to configure a webhook in Cityworks to notify FME as soon as a work order to replace a hot water tank was closed. FME Server receives the work order information in JSON format through Cityworks and triggers an FME Workspace, which retrieves the information from Cityworks through an API call. The same Workspace then updates the asset information in ArcGIS by transferring the information from the old tank to the new one and disconnecting the old tank from the site.
THE VALUE WE PROVIDED
By transferring information automatically from Cityworks to ArcGIS, Saint John Energy spares technicians from having to manually enter data, which translates into a more streamlined workflow for both field technicians and office administrators in addition to less opportunity for error to be introduced during the asset update.
Consortech’s expertise in using FME Server Automation features and creating optimal Workspaces makes the solution not only efficient, but also financially attractive. In addition, using a low-code platform such as FME Server as middleware leads to excellent gains in terms of time and money. Next time the utility has to update Cityworks, the application won’t have any customized features or dependencies and will be that much easier to migrate.
FME is our go-to solution for automations and integrations between our business applications and ArcGIS. With Consortech’s help, we have pushed the envelope of what FME can do for our business processes.