Quantifying key cost-benefits is critical when developing a strong business case for smart water metering; in particular it is important to focus on the outcomes you want to achieve, rather than the meters themselves as this will help drive the initiative. Once your outcomes are defined, the benefits of using smart metering and the data provided by them as a tool will shape your business case and lay the foundations to a successful project.
By way of background, Taggle Systems smart water metering solution was born over 10 years ago, out of Mackay Regional Councils’ objective to defer capital expenditure. They planned to do this by reducing water losses and empowering the community to take control and reduce their water consumption. The business case ultimately drove the solution to be developed.
Outcomes are often based around these key areas; water scarcity and security, cost savings, revenue increase, planning and forecasting, customer engagement and environmental.
The project should look beyond just the water asset management team; the question to ask is “would other areas of the utility also benefit from the additional data?” By including billing and customer service teams in the conversation from the start can help highlight areas which may not have been previously considered as part of the business case.
It is important to note that the purpose of the business case is to provide decision makers with the information needed to justify the investment in the technology. Often these decision makers are not aware of the challenges faced by the water management team hence the business case is very much an educational tool.
A business case is a tool with many layers that empowers the executives with evidence based information, to make the best decision for their organisation. And let’s be clear, different organisations with different challenges will be guided by very different drivers to make a decision about smart water metering solutions.
Laying down the foundations of a smart water metering project with a strong business case, guided by outcomes rather than just proving that the technology works, will contribute to ensuring a successful project.