OBI Partners: Modular BI Approach for Distribution Utilities

Raymond Kasten, President and CEO
The energy/utilities sector has witnessed a transcendental shift driven by distributed generation and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). AMI has contributed to an increase in the number of distributed assets such as smart meters, data concentrators, communications, and head end servers, all of which contain vital data pertaining towards a customer’s consumption habits and the network’s reliability. DG now requires the network to be managed in two directions which is contrary to how the networks were originally designed. While utilities can leverage data from multiple sources to predict power outages; data quality and completeness along with actionable intelligence remains a major challenge as data grows exponentially.

Championing the utilities’ cause without compromising data quality and integrity, is OBI Partners. Built by experts from diverse backgrounds, the company applies “best practices” from the aerospace engineering and the nuclear industry to provide a suite of asset based solutions.

By leveraging data from multiple disparate systems, properly preparing the data in a real-time environment, we are able to deliver actionable intelligence yielding tangible ROI for our customers,” mentions Ray Kasten, President and CEO, OBI Partners.
OBI’s strategy is to deliver rapid deployments through a “packaged” approach: This objective is achieved by: 1) packaging components that range from the extraction, cleansing and transformation of data often called an ETL; 2) the storage of data into a repository specifically built for utilities. OBI has constructed a Utility Information Model which is a superset of a utilities’ data requirements; and 3) a presentation layer for the data through real time “actionable” dashboards with key performance indicators. Often dashboards also include: trending charts with drill down, causes, and spatial representation of assets and events due to the distributed environment of a utility. Packaged approach results in rapid deployments (30-60 days) that leverage “best practices” across industries.

Among the dozen modules offered by OBI is Network Operations that provides information on outages, the status of equipment, crew, and customers affected by outages with varying granularity depending on the user’s requirements. The Network Operations solution supports multiple platforms in a wireless environment including: smartphones, tablets, wallboards, and desktops.

Built by experts from diverse backgrounds, OBI Partners applies the best practices of asset management in aerospace engineering and nuclear power to extract value from data

This availability provides a “trusted single source of the truth.”

Accompanying the Network Operations solution is Network Reliability that monitors the performance of every component in a network to reveal the reliability, performance, average interruptions, along with all the IEEE 13666 Reporting Standards. Another complimentary module, Vegetation Performance, analyzes the vegetation management programs/projects of utilities to minimize vegetation related outages while reducing O&M costs associated with outsourced services. Several of these modules lay the foundation for Asset Management. Kasten states that OBI Partners’ solution suite can significantly reduce utilities’ operating and maintenance expenses while improving reliability that ultimately increases customer satisfaction.

We will often perform “Data and Operational Assessments” for customers to identify tangible areas for improvement in terms of data quality and completeness as well as identifying process improvements and system related deficiencies,” mentions Paul Bower, CTO, OBI Partners. The assessment is a 30 day engagement that lays the foundation for where our customers should focus in order to achieve the highest return on investment.

Moving forward, in addition to utilities looking to further reduce costs as demand for electricity continues to remain flat due to DG or appliance efficiencies, OBI Partners believes utilities will need to expand into other revenue opportunities outside of mergers and acquisitions. “We intend to scale our suite of solutions to deliver more value to clients in the form of new revenue opportunities,” concludes Kasten.

OBI Partners

Raymond Kasten, President and CEO and Paul Bower, Executive VP and Jim Ptak, CTO

Provides packaged operational business intelligence that helps utilities use data from multiple sources to decrease costs, improve efficiency while increasing customer satisfaction

OBI Partners