Considering the invaluable service provided to the society by the water companies, it is imperative to ensure their sustainability. To achieve this objective, these organizations must be allowed to fulfill their Mission with effectiveness and efficiency. Information and Communication Technologies (IT) are especially important tools in this pursuit of enhanced performance.
The technological solutions based on the digitization of information and its remote communication that have received the greater visibility in the water sector are: (1) SCADA systems, mainly to support the technical management, namely operation and maintenance; (2) smart metering systems, mainly focused on customer relationship management, according to its scope in each water company. Traditionally, the analysis of the advantages of these technologies has been based on the enumeration of possible and/or desired technical characteristics and functionalities, and not so much on the analysis of the value created through its impact on organizational processes, the activities these processes subdivide into, or the tasks that allow these activities to take place.
This communication presents an analysis of the benefits associated with the use of these technologies, or, more precisely, the value created through them. This analysis is based on the processes and activities they subdivide into, because these activities use or consume resources, hence generate costs, and it is the optimization of these costs that produces efficiency gains. Additionally, these tools generate useful information capable to create value for the water company. This approach makes it easier to analyse the cost-benefit the water company may obtain from these technologies. Thus, for each of these technologies, the economic benefits obtained through its use, its origin, and their relative importance for the efficiency of the water companies are presented.
Image credit: "Water Meter," © 2012 Slipshod Photog, used under a Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/