Alliant Energy goes into production with ArcGIS and ArcFM 8.1

Redlands, California ESRI and Miner & Miner are pleased to announce Alliant Energy has gone into production using ArcGIS 8.1 geographic information system (GIS) technology. This includes the ESRI ArcGIS family of software: ArcInfo, ArcSDE, and ArcIMS. In addition, the organization is using Miner & Miner’s ArcFM and ArcFM Viewer software. Alliant is currently in the process of finalizing migration of all legacy data and applications.

“Our goals are to consolidate and deploy information throughout the enterprise using ArcGIS with Miner & Miner’s ArcFM,” says Ted Wadzinski, team leader, GIS systems and services, Alliant Energy. “We’re now rolling into production with the new environment and a host of related applications.”

“Alliant Energy is a utility business doing great things with GIS,” says Roxanne Cox-Drake, utility industry manager, ESRI. “They’re an excellent example of a large-scale GIS environment used successfully throughout an organization.”

Alliant provides electric, gas, water, and steam services to more than three million customers worldwide. Created in 1998 through the merger of Wisconsin Power & Light Co., IES Industries, and Interstate Power Co., and strategic investments, Alliant today serves more than 1,000 communities in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois.

Alliant’s enterprise GIS serves the entire scope of energy business applications: work management, outage management, customer service, property accounting, business solutions, and field inquiry. In addition, many other applications use GIS-driven information.

Approximately 40 database editors at Alliant work with ArcGIS technology and ArcFM software. Another 700 professionals use ArcFM Viewer both in the desktop environment and using mobile devices.

Departments using GIS information and applications include engineering, planning, environmental affairs, dispatching, marketing, economic development, and more. For example, engineering, planning, and operations create new construction projects, develop long-range system improvement plans, and perform daily operations from the field with GIS. The Outage Management System uses the GIS-generated electrical network to manage outages. Dispatch centers use GIS directly for evaluating facilities and operations and deploying crews. Planning departments leverage GIS data, along with software from Advantica Stoner, for energy load flow analysis and gas distribution planning. In addition, the planning group uses ArcFM to analyze the circuits to identify at-risk areas to make investment decisions.

The GIS database is also used to support the federally mandated gas inspection management program. Users within Alliant schedule and track gas inspections, gas leaks, and corrosion control. In addition, a link to Alliant’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system provides a basis for asset accounting.

Alliant has achieved several benefits from its new GIS. The company has reduced software maintenance and support costs, provided more value-added services, consolidated information, and achieved cost savings. According to Tom Hess, team leader of GIS data services, “Alliant Energy processes more than 50,000 work requests a year, and by going to one GIS platform it enables my staff to be trained to process and maintain information in a consistent manner. With the excellent training documentation that we put together along with the fine suite of tools and functionality that ESRI and Miner & Miner put together, we were able to train our existing GIS technicians in three days. After one month in production, my staff is becoming very proficient, and we see output matching or outperforming our previous tools. We expect productivity to continue to improve as we gain experience with the new applications.”

The company is currently working on integrating some legacy databases and translating data to the current format. When the data migration is complete, application development will be greatly expanded including additional planning department applications, capital expenditure planning applications, environmental reporting, additional use of mobile applications and ArcIMS, and more.

“We now have one geodatabase to manage our information and a standard set of applications to work with, and we are integrated into the other key business systems,” says Wadzinski. “In addition, we have an excellent team of employees who are very skilled and really enjoy working with the new technology. Our overall architecture is in place to allow us to provide world-class GIS-related services and solutions now and into the future.”

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