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Data Management

Almost all of the GIS data conversion work in the industry is performed offshore, as it makes sense economically for large projects. UDC does not provide large-scale data conversion services in-house but we do leverage our leadership team’s unique data expertise to help you structure and manage your project and will help you put together a data conversion project through our partners that eliminates the typical risks associated with offshore outsourcing

Very few utilities are set up to be able to successfully manage and achieve success on an offshore project. Being successful with an offshore project requires:

  • Very detailed data scrub and data conversion specifications
  • Very detailed process delineations and step-by-step instructions plus precise handling instructions for exceptions
  • A very detailed process and procedures for quality control, as well as acceptance and rejection
  • Piloting of all the specifications and procedures
  • Day-to-day management at the project level and interaction with the on-shore manager and off-shore team
  • Understanding and experience with the cultural differences that affect product and schedule
  • Help in structuring and managing the financial side of the project
  • Experience with utility data and the destination systems

UDC can assist you with your data conversion by bringing all the necessary experience and tools. We are fairly unique in being able to offer the experience and expertise to help you administer your data conversion. While none of these services will replace an involved and hands-on client project team, it is that partnership that will make the project a success.

Quality Control

If you are currently involved in or planning a data conversion project, UDC can serve as a third party to facilitate the overall administration of the quality of the data being delivered and help you administer the lifecycle of the data, including data acceptance testing (DAT). UDC has evolved an industry-leading methodology with procedures and tools around what we call Data Lifecycle Management (DLM). DLM provides procedures and tools for the management of data within the context of the conversion project. DLM was built and refined based upon 20 years of client experience and enables our clients to address the data lifecycle based on a proven approach. The following provides an overview of the DLM process:

Data Lifecycle Management (DLM)

UDC’s Data Lifecycle Management Project Model has redefined the state of the industry’s practices for how best to manage and engage offshore data conversion companies, as well as creating a role for a seasoned conversion specialist in the day-to-day onsite direction in our client’s conversion operations. This allows a utility to capitalize on the best practices in the industry, while allowing it to focus on what it does best, delivering gas or electric services to its clients.

To gain a better understanding of a typical conversion project, Figure 1 depicts the general sequential flow, for most legacy source documents, through the entire data conversion lifecycle.

Figure 1: Data Conversion Sequential Flow [ download PDF ]

During a data conversion project, there are specific process flows that need to be implemented to best track and post the dynamic nature of the current mapping data. Various legacy data sources will be classified as primary or supplemental source data for the conversion effort. Ideally, all sources can be “frozen” (no updates made to the sources) while the data is undergoing data conversion to GIS; however, due to critical business process requirements, most legacy sources cannot be frozen while each delivery area is being converted (typically a three- to four-month time span per delivery area). UDC utilizes a general DLM process to control this dynamic, temporary, workflow.

Figure 2, below, details the general processes that are necessary to effectively manage the data conversion and data uplift activities.

Figure 2: Data Lifecycle Management Diagram [ download PDF ]

As depicted within Figure 2, DLM includes four stages:

  • Stage 1: Prepares and ships the data
  • Stage 2: Tracks the data for future maintenance
  • Stage 3: Maintains the data in parallel with existing systems
  • Stage 4: Cutover data to post go live

By far the most significant event that needs to be adequately supported to insure the success of any GIS implementation program is when the data is actually rolled out to the multiple stakeholder groups. At one point in time, this user group was largely limited to GIS mapping functions within the utility. However, given the breadth of utility functions now relying on the GIS Data, these users will number several hundred staff members, including some of the most significant managers within a utility. Many of these users will not provide a significant “grace period” to sort out the bugs in such a system; it has to be done right the first time and there must be adequately trained and seasoned subject matter expert (SME) to support ramping up new users.

The UDC team has significant experience providing onsite SMEs to assist in the training, system support and tools development required to quickly identify and create solutions to maintain the confidence of the new GIS data users.

Data Migration

UDC provides data migration services to move GIS data and related integrated data between systems or to new systems. We have extensive hands-on experience with numerous utility systems and GIS systems and we can assist you with moving this data to the destination system. For large projects, where sizable capacity is required, UDC has access to the largest and most successful offshore data conversion partners who are also very familiar with our process.

Data Cleansing and Enhancement

Many clients have a need to address issues within their existing digital data. Many times, the need is to clean up the data to enhance the product or actually add additional information or capabilities to the existing data. We can assist you in doing the cleanup and enhancement or building tools and business processes you can use to achieve better data over time. We have had extensive experience with data enhancement for gas and electric utilities and our depth of experience with utility data and the host systems will help you reduce your time and risk and produce better data for your business sooner.