Loudoun Water provides drinking water and wastewater services to 80,000+ residential and commercial customers in one of the fastest growing counties in the Nation. They maintain over 1,483 miles of water distribution pipelines, over 1,234 miles of wastewater collection system pipelines, and a growing reclaimed non-potable water system. Loudoun Water’s goal was to develop a modern Business Intelligence capability, leveraging the benefits and scale of Microsoft Azure to support operational data analytics and reporting. To achieve this goal, the leadership team tasked Tallan with shaping and implementing a robust solution to prove the concept of the next-generation data platform.
Data and Analytics, Cloud
Mapping out a Target Architecture.
- An assessment of the current data estate, data sources, and conversation with leadership revealed that the best place to begin was to analyze work orders from the Loudoun Water’s SAP system, combined with location data from their Esri GIS.
- Security was one of Loudoun Water’s most important goals when designing the solution. Tallan’s team helped protect the data and environment with a multi-layered security architecture for end-to-end protection. These layers include: data encryption, access control, authentication (Azure Key Vault) and isolated private networks (private endpoints and Azure Private Links).
- Tallan architected the solution to efficiently manage the full SAP work order history using Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework best practices.
- While the initial focus was on work orders, the solution was designed so that all important data from SAP, GIS and other business systems could also be managed. The ability to easily scale to accommodate future growth was an important factor in the development of this innovation.
Streamlining 600+ Data Pipelines with Azure.
- Data pipelines from SAP and GIS sources, previously having been pulled manually, were automated for geospatial reporting, providing key insights across 140+ source entities. This design requires very little maintenance of the environment, as every night new data records are automagically moved from SAP and GIS to the solution.
- Once proving the functionality and capability of the solution using work orders, Loudoun Water began building out other reports and dashboards to reveal insights across other areas of the business such as purchase orders, budget vs. actual, inventory, projects, and inspections.
- Tallan developed the solution hand-in-glove with Loudoun Water and provided training for Loudoun Water’s internal teams to ensure smooth adoption, and empower the expansion of the platform. Leveraging this education, Loudoun Water has begun making their own ETL processes and Power BI reports using the methods and best practices Tallan taught them!
- Building on this massive success, the solution continues to evolve into a larger data estate project, with more data sources being ingested and actionable insights produced as a result. Now, Tallan is working on connecting Loudoun Water’s largest dataset (sensor data from the SCADA system) which will unlock new analytical capabilities and business insights. This connection will also demand an innovative security architecture.
- Loudoun Water business users continue to dream up new ways to make the BI solution even more useful. Next up, the focus will be on bringing compliance and operational data into the solution and leveraging a machine learning algorithm to predict treated water characteristics days before the water is fully processed.