Mid-way through a three year smart grid project Naperville’s Department of Public Utilizes needed to integrate its legacy customer information system with three new systems. West Monroe not only helped it meet this current integration requirement; it developed a flexible integration architecture that will enable event greater connectivity in the future.
Naperville’s Department of Public Utilities—Electric (DPU-E) is responsible for serving more than 143,000 residents of Naperville, Illinois, along with the city’s industrial customers and a significant “high-tech corridor” of large commercial companies.
Integrating legacy and new systems.
The Naperville Department of Public Utilities began planning and investing in the modernization of its electric grid long before the 2009 stimulus program and ultimately became the only Illinois utility to receive a Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It currently is in the middle of a three-year implementation program. To advance its smart grid vision, the utility needed to integrate its legacy customer information system (CIS) with three new smart-grid systems:
- An Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system
- A Meter Data Management System (MDMS)
- A Load Control Management System (LCMS)
Inability to integrate these systems could cause significant manual effort to pull, compute, and re-enter data into other systems. Worse, it could jeopardize the utility’s ability to achieve its smart grid vision.
For assistance, the utility turned to West Monroe Partners. West Monroe began working with Naperville during development of its DOE grant application and has extensive knowledge of the city’s smart grid plans. In addition, it offered expertise in the infrastructure and software required to connect the systems and enable efficient communication among them as well as establish an Enterprise Common Information Model, based on the IEC 61968-9 CIM standards that will support future system integration with other smart grid IT systems and some additional existing IT systems used by the utility.
Flexible integration architecture.
To integrate the systems, West Monroe Partners:
- Worked with the utility to redesign its business processes to take advantage of the new smart grid solutions
- Worked with the utility to design integration processes that will support the new business processes
- Worked with the existing and new IT system vendors to understand interfaces into those systems and determine how messages will be transferred in and out of each solution
- Collaborated with the vendors to validate their approach to modify their systems to meet the utility’s integration requirements
- Created a flexible integration architecture, using an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) design to transform and send messages among systems and orchestrate the new business processes
- Executed the end to end system testing based on the new business processes
A foundation for further integration.
By building a Common Information Model (CIM) and ESB foundation, West Monroe Partners helped the utility simplify integration among its legacy CIS and new smart-grid systems, in turn making it easier and faster for Naperville to:
- Incorporate future system updates for each of the new or existing IT systems
- Integrate additional existing and new systems—for example, its legacy Geographical Information
System (GIS) or a new Operational Management System (OMS)—in the future as it continues to make its smart grid vision a reality
- Provide services and information to customers, including new capabilities that it could not have offered previously