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What is the most valuable commodity in business? That's an intriguing question. What would you say? Skilled labor? Customer service? Leadership?

Chuck Missler, former chair of Western Digital, loved to pose this question to his audiences. Drawing on his years at Ford Motor Company and numerous high-tech companies, Missler wisely insisted that the most valuable commodity in business is a valid perspective.

With a valid and strategic perspective, you ensure sound context for all business activities. Perspective provides a framework from which to ask good questions, gather important insights, and make the best decisions. You can hire people of every skill imaginable—accounting, engineering, writing, and software development are just a few. But how will you find and maintain a valid perspective as trends change?

A graduate of the US Naval Academy, Missler applied an ancient maritime saying to trends and perspective:

Red sky at night, sailor's delight.

Red sky in morning, sailors take warning!

For thousands of years, humankind has observed the weather. This clever rhyme helps people identify weather trends to form a useful perspective. Scientifically, a red sky indicates that a high-pressure weather system is approaching or leaving the area. This normally indicates either good weather ahead or deteriorating conditions.

To this day, weather is very important. It affects utility work, emergency response, and load predictions. Today, a valid electric utility perspective includes awareness of weather and a whole lot more!

Finding a valid perspective is not so much a question of enough data—we have more data than you could shake a stick at! Overloaded with data, we need breakthrough ways to make sense of it all and derive a true perspective. Transformative insights come from exploiting the relationships between pieces of information that have long been confined in separate utility silos.

Customer, workforce, environment, and network datasets all help define a utility's sphere of influence. However, these datasets are rarely related to one another. Analyzing detailed customer facts can help users find the customers that are most likely to embrace a particular demand response program. Analyzing a dynamic electric network can reveal where and when load reduction is most needed. Perspective has unquestionable value for the utility business.

Geographic information system (GIS) technology brings analyses like these together, delivering a fresh perspective on problems. How? It adds the context of where.

Where are the road segments with the most accidents? What equipment is operating at risk or has the greatest failure impact? How do these unsafe conditions relate to employees, scheduled work, and the public? Perspective is critical, and it is locked up within utility data.

Utility data now comes in many forms: imagery, 3D, real-time information, and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), to name just a few. And whether you work in a trouble truck, a customer service department, or an executive office, it's difficult to relate all the information required for a sound perspective.

GIS is about much more than mapping your assets. It is a framework that enables instant access to virtually every type of information, and GIS organizes it all around location, adding critical perspective. GIS helps users locate the right information, find crucial patterns, and communicate the takeaways to other people.

A valid utility viewpoint comes from complete information and compelling analytics to help users make the best business decisions. The ArcGIS platform provides perspective. It delivers the most valuable commodity in business—to all users, on their device of choice.

For more information on how the ArcGIS platform provides perspective for utilities, visit this link.

Pat  Hohl's picture

Thank Pat for the Post!

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Esri, the global leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, builds the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available.


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