When it comes to the fast-paced utility and telecommunications deployments needed to meet the 5G rollout timeline, every hour is money. The number of decisions to be made, as well as the expanding number of stakeholders involved, puts a premium on moving quickly. However, companies cannot afford to sacrifice quality of operations for speed.
Technology helps drive efficiency smartly. Software tools are available to facilitate collaboration and increase the pace of data collection. But, data is only useful if it can be effectively acted upon and shared appropriately, so it helps if you use a collaborative platform that facilitates communication about the collected data, like Alden One. Making data easier to access, update, and share helps you make more informed decisions. We asked Alden’s team to weigh in on the advantages a joint use asset management platform offers when needing to meet timelines for utility work.
Q: How does Alden One allow stakeholders to define their work in a way that is specific to every asset?
Jacob Harrison, CRO: Alden One is a collaborative platform that enables utility professionals to process and manage their data and effectively drive activities to completion.
Here’s how it works:
- For every asset, a custom workflow, or process, is built, specific to your business.
- Your processes—pole transfer, field data collection assignment, etc.— are associated with asset activities , whether it’s one asset or thousands.
- With dashboards to view the data, you can access detailed executive, operational, and regulatory reporting for accountable management.
Q: Getting the most out of asset data starts with efficiently collecting data that’s accurate, and easy to share and act upon. How does Alden improve the data collection process?
Harrison: Alden One is the central platform where data is exchanged between hardware tools or data collection apps. Essentially, Alden One enables key personnel, internal or external, to view the data in the form they need to make the appropriate decisions at the appropriate time. The ability to share data with any stakeholder and find what work you want done on any activity is essential, no matter what data collection tool you use.
From a field standpoint, we are able to take data from any collection device, whether it’s from Alden or a third party, and load that data into the platform and build those activities or processes around those assets. For example, if it’s an inspection and you find a violation or something that needs to be corrected, we are able to assign that work to the right party or person to correct that work, or if it’s updating asset records, we can send that to accounting and update financial records as well. It’s all highly connected.
Q: Can you describe Alden’s field data collection and explain how it works?
John McConnell, VP – Business Development: Task Agent® is Alden’s third-generation field data collection application. The app was designed to improve operational efficiency in the field and is capable of scaling up or down to meet an organization’s current needs for field audits. Task Agent operates on Apple iOS and the Android OS
Task Agent can be configured to collect company-specific data fields and supports multiple methods of data entry, including manual data entry, photographs, measurable photographs (such as those taken with a BLK3D imager), and more.
Task Agent supports live communication with the Alden One platform if connectivity is available; it can also operate in "offline" mode if needed. In addition, administrators can direct individual field personnel to exact locations with associated assets using pre-loaded interactive maps, so field techs can collect pre-construction and post-construction data and easily sync it with Alden One.
Q: How does the Alden One platform improve and streamline data management?
Baski, Enterprise Architect: If you have legacy data, it can be imported and used immediately to streamline your business processes, using the platform’s standard workflows. Pro subscribers can create custom workflows, which is a great feature since not everyone works the same way, but has to work together. Data from GIS or work management systems can also be imported.
If you don’t have legacy data, you have the option of collecting field asset data using your tool of choice, import that data to Alden One, and start using the system. If you use Alden’s Task Agent app, your data will be immediately available as soon as it’s captured and synced.
All the data points you capture can be used to provide a detailed outlook of your business process with various dashboards.
Dashboard views allow you to:
- Identify the bottlenecks in the process
- Predict the upcoming workload
- Refine your processes for a better outcome
McConnell: If you measure it, you can improve it. Alden’s systemic approach to field data collection and back-office data management streamlines and improves operational efficiencies. There is a direct correlation here to saving time and money.
In Alden One, system administrators can manage users, devices, data, data collection, data entry, legacy data (if any), and associated workflow processes required by engineering, construction, executive management, or other stakeholders, internal or external to your organization. In short, the Alden One platform automates your processes to save you time.
Q: How does Alden improve collaboration on asset deployments?
McConnell: Field data can be accessed and used by anyone authorized. Alden One allows authorized individuals access to asset information and associated workflow details. These details can be used for planning, support, resource mobilization, workflow tracking, project management, company profile details, and other collaboration efforts.
Q: In terms of efficiency, how does Alden One save time?
Harrison: Alden's ROI is that we save you time through business process automation. With that built into the platform, you can collect more data within the same time period by processing larger applications—and you are able to do more work without requiring more resources.
In closing, it's important to mention the point is not to replace professional expertise with technology. The goal is to automate the processes that are tedious and time-consuming, freeing planners, engineers, and administrators to use their unique knowledge to make important decisions as efficiently as possible. At Alden Systems, we call this “creating micro-efficiencies.” Let us help you save time. Get to know Alden One.