Water & Wastewater Asia Jul/Aug 2019

Water & Wastewater Asia • July / August 2019 MARKET REPORT | 11 International Water Association (IWA) and Xylem White Paper Maps Digital Adoption Trends and Identifies Key Learnings to Help Drive Migration T he International Water Association (IWA) and global water technology company Xylem have released a comprehensive white paper titled: “Digital Water: Industry Leaders Chart the ransformation Journey.” Water thought leader and author Will Sarni, CEO of Water Foundry, served as a key author of the report. The white paper examines how digitalisation is transforming the water sector, and introduces the Digital Water Adoption Curve, a new tool to help utilities assess their digital maturity and map their digital future. Key takeaways from the report include: • The importance of building a holistic digital roadmap and a clear business strategy: Utilities must create internal consensus on how the digital journey will unfold, maintain the customer and business outcomes as focal points throughout the digitalisation process, and educate key stakeholders (consumers, politicians, shareholders, management and employees) • The creation of an innovation culture: Utility operators, IT staff, finance, technicians, executives, and others have to be the scouts for identifying new technologies. However, to drive adoption, utilities must focus on fostering an organisation-wide curiosity and competency for embracing digital innovation • Leveraging pilots for an agile mindset: Pilot projects offer a means to explore new technologies, build momentum, and create a more holistic understanding of their physical and financial effects on operations before committing to large-scale implementation • Developing architecture for optimising data use: Developing a data warehouse, where operational data sets become available to functions such as finance, engineering and IT specialists who can use the data to optimise business processes, is critical to creating value from data and effectively digitalising utility infrastructure and connectivity Digital technologies cannot be sought as simply surface-level solutions. To operate effectively, they must be incorporated into the very backbone of water and wastewater utilities. From physical infrastructure and business services to data management and customer relations, digital technologies can and should become interwoven with all levels of a utility’s operations. Many utilities are still navigating how to extract value from digital solutions, and have reported that accessing data from legacy systems still presents a challenge, even as water utilities are increasingly dealing with large volumes of data that are both structured and unstructured coming from disparate sources. This has led to an increase in the usage of application programming interfaces (APIs). “At a time when global water challenges are escalating, digital solutions offer communities around the world bold, new ways to optimise, manage and conserve this most precious resource,” said Kala Vairavamoorthy, IWA Executive Director. “‘Digital Water: Industry Leaders Chart the Transformation Journey’ leverages the insights of IWA members to help utilities learn from their peers, harness the power of digital technologies and enable communities around the world to become more water secure,” states Kala Vairavamoorthy. “Only together can we shape our water future.” WWA