Conference: Metering, Billing/CRM Latin America
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Presenter: Brian Novak
Abstract: Presented by Brian Novak at Metering, Billing/CRM Latin America

Too many of today’s high profile AMI solution deployments are experiencing problems that may have been avoidable.  It is easy to identify the various reasons for the issues- whether it is a lack of communication to the end customer, unrealistic benefit goals, or a technology that was not fully vetted.  While many of these individual problems could be alleviated with individual remedies, a better approach for the utility to avoid the turmoil would be to remain steadfast in their use of project and program management methodologies.

An End to End Approach
Many utilities approach AMI project management as a single effort with a specific start and ending (project kickoff and project go-live).  While keeping true to the actual definition of a project (an effort to deliver specific results with definitive start and end points), AMI solution deployment must be managed using a more strategic approach.

Based on real-life lessons learned as an early adopter of AMI and MDMS technology, JEA has established an end to end approach to AMI project management involving both people and processes that has enabled the company to address the dynamic nature of today’s technology while maintaining focused on its long-term AMI vision. 

The focus of the presentation is to addresses activities often overlooked in AMI Project Management by logically grouping critical success factors into beginning, middle and ‘evolution’:

  • (Beginning) Before you activate the project, critical success factors include: developing and adopting a formal AMI Strategic Plan, ensuring top executive support, determining a realistic benefit schedule based on a strategic business case, and formalizing your AMI Program leadership.
  • (Middle) As you begin your actual AMI implementation, critical success factors include: first and foremost- follow formal project management methodology (hopefully your enterprise has an established and integrated management process) including robust requirements gathering, testing, and project communication.
  • (Evolution) Your journey toward a total AMI solution will never fully end; continual improvement should always be the goal.  Critical success factors include: maintaining a core leadership group and following formal processes that foster solution development and evolution.

Despite the unique challenges associated with AMI, utilities can be successful in the long-run.  Formal Project and Program Management methodologies have been supporting similar enterprise solution deployments for decades.  AMI is a paradigm shift in the way utilities interface with the end customer- which further strengthens the need for an end to end approach in AMI project management.