08 Apr CS Week Preparation: 4 Key Questions for CIS Assessment
About 85% of our clients complete a systems assessment before making a CIS decision. The Assessment process is detailed in our white paper A Process for Conducting Assessments.
AAC uses all available resources to gather data that contributes to a full view of your system. We interview stakeholders, review system reporting, and read documentation from user guides to training materials. We do everything we can to get you ready for a CIS solution upgrade or CIS selection and implementation.
Beyond just the technical needs, however, are the organizational and personnel needs. Organizational change is hard and knowing if your company is ready can be a difficult assessment in and of itself.
Here are four questions that are key to Assessment:
What are the business areas in your organization impacted by the CIS?
Knowing your CIS reach — which departments use it and for what purpose — not only helps determine the breadth of the project, it can forecast training needs. You can start by asking which departments use the CIS. Then ask those groups what they use the CIS for. These early investigations can provide the foundation for process mapping and requirements identification.
Who will you have available for the project?
Staffing is a commonly underestimated strategy in CIS projects. Clients often hesitate to assign full time resources, have trouble deciding which resources should be allocated, and express uncertainty about what those project team members will do when the implementation is over.
Having a staffing strategy for assessment, selection, and implementation phases of the project can help your utility properly allocate resources and back-fill positions in the business so that critical operations continue even while the CIS project is underway.
What is the existing infrastructure your organization must continue to support?
The CIS is just one application in the complex infrastructure of your utility. Knowing what other applications will interact with the CIS can help you determine the effort that will be needed during integration.
Did your line team recently adopt a work management solution? Does your meter department have an MDM solution? Spend some time in the early phase of Assessment mapping your IT infrastructure and you’ll have a better idea of what your CIS solution must be capable of integrating with.
What regulations govern your IT project?
Different states and territories regulate energy and utilities differently. Your organization works hard to be compliant and you have compliance experts in your ranks. Seek them out during Assessment and get a comprehensive list of regulations you’ll need to address during CIS selection, configuration, and implementation.
Are you attending CS Week? AAC’s Steve Wenke, Managing Partner over Assessment and Selection services will be presenting in the CS Week College event “Your Aging CIS: What’s Next and How to Move Forward.” Steve’s got the whole morning session to discuss Assessment and Selection and Managing Partner Rick Cutter will discuss Implementation in the afternoon.
What questions are you using to evaluate your utility’s CIS?