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Interview: Paul Douglas, Scottish Water

Like structure in the true world, an IT structure within the digital world kinds a strong basis on which to develop a digitally enabled organisation. 

Paul Douglas is lead enterprise architect at Scottish Water and has a background in civil engineering, which is the place his profession at Scottish Water began 25 years in the past. Over time, he moved into enterprise change, transformation and setting digital methods for the organisation.

He says his work includes determining what investments are wanted by the utility firm. “It is rather business-focused,” he says.

For Douglas, an enterprise structure has a robust analogy with civil engineering, when it comes to constructing constructions. “I believe in these phrases,” he says. “I used to be all the time fascinated by structure.”

From an enterprise structure perspective, he says the enterprise will be considered a thought construction, including: “What do you do to get a extra environment friendly enterprise course of? What initiatives will you want?”

Utilizing the analogy of home constructing, Douglas says: “If you happen to didn’t consider the general organisation of a home, you’d have the bathtub within the kitchen.”

Selection – or an excessive amount of of it – is among the many challenges of creating an enterprise structure. There are quite a few merchandise that deal with the identical drawback from completely different angles, giving barely completely different outcomes. Some could also be extra optimum than others; some could also be extra economical.

“Nobody measurement suits all,” says Douglas. “We view short- to mid-term investments so as to add preliminary worth.” There could also be circumstances the place a product might be anticipated to final a lifetime, or it could solely be required as an interim step, he provides. 

“We had been glad to maneuver our programs to the cloud and to make them extra accessible”

Paul Douglas, Scottish Water

“Architectural rules drive our completely different methods and we make use of our companions to check one of the best choices,” says Douglas. As an example, Scottish Water makes use of ServiceNow and Salesforce, each of which may very well be utilized in a specific software space. And though it has Salesforce, the corporate additionally makes use of Microsoft Dynamics for buyer relationship administration (CRM).

He says that from an architectural standpoint, Scottish Water has a cloud-preferred technique, including: “We make one of the best of the platforms we’ve already invested in.”

For instance, the corporate might attempt to deploy Microsoft PowerBI as a result of it already licenses this product. However typically, though utilizing present licensed software program might show extra economical, the precise implementation might contain much more effort than shopping for a brand new product, says Douglas.

An structure to deal with Covid-19

Wanting on the position of digital technique, an enterprise structure gives a approach for the organisation to know what it wants for the long run. As has been the case in each enterprise, Douglas says the pandemic fully shifted the best way Scottish Water wanted to function. “We had been glad to maneuver our programs to the cloud and to make them extra accessible,” he says.

For the previous decade, Scottish Water has been utilizing iServer, a device from Orbus Software program, to determine an enterprise structure follow, to higher perceive and analyse the affect of change, and help a present state evaluation.

The mixing of iServer’s strategic portfolio administration (SPM) dashboard helps strategic decision-making.Because of this people throughout all enterprise models and ranges can now profit from constant course of modelling and know-how highway mapping to tell strategic decision-making. 

For instance, Douglas says: “As a result of we constructed a mannequin of our software property in iServer, we are able to interrogate it to know what we’ve.” This librarianship has proved very helpful through the Covid-19 lockdowns, he factors out.

The corporate runs 300 enterprise purposes throughout its enterprise, together with desktop purposes, and all of those are catalogued in iServer, says Douglas. “We create a easy description of the appliance and hyperlink to the groups, enterprise companies and the info entities consumed.”

With the knowledge in iServer, decision-makers in Scottish Water can take a look at a topic equivalent to knowledge or a enterprise course of and perceive the way it suits in with folks and processes, he says. 

For Douglas, this catalogue of purposes and mapping with folks and enterprise processes has helped the corporate handle its operations through the pandemic.

“Senior-level administration arrange a Covid taskforce to ensure employees had been protected and to keep away from pointless visits to websites,” he says.

The digital aspect of the enterprise additionally established a digital taskforce to help the brand new working procedures, with assist from folks within the firm who had data of the programs and enterprise capabilities. “We may faucet into iServer, take a look at what sorts of capabilities we need to obtain and see the programs that help these capabilities,” says Douglas.

Final yr, Scottish Water upgraded Orbus iServer to run gross sales efficiency administration studies. This has enabled the corporate to extend its understanding of how enterprise structure provides worth to the broader enterprise, says Douglas.

Past the pandemic, he says, Scottish Water has used iServer to floor the relationships between product roadmaps from suppliers and the way the corporate intends to make use of these merchandise.

By capturing data on what number of customers will profit from any deliberate performance enhancements scheduled on the provider’s roadmap, Douglas says it’s potential to develop a logical mannequin that helps decision-makers at Scottish Water assess longer-term funding in digital applied sciences.

“In iServer, we are able to categorise the applied sciences we use – perceive, obsolescence, danger – and justify why we’d spend money on such applied sciences,” he says.

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