American Water is a rather large company providing services to a huge base of customers from several states in the USA and Canada. In that way, the amount of data handled by the company was also substantial. In order to process the collected data, measure performance, assess the work that was completed, and produce output, the company employees had to collect hard copies of data manually, put all the files together, and review the results. It is needless to say that this process was highly consuming of time and effort.
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As a result, the company’s leadership made a decision to implement change introducing new operations related to the management of data. Logically, information specialists were one of the major stakeholder groups that participated in the implementation of change. In addition, the management of data tended to produce a very powerful impact on the business end users. Consequently, these two parties played a very significant role in the processes of planning and introduction of change.
Since the creation of the new database was a process that consisted of many tasks and aspects, the end users, as well as the information specialists had to define the objectives and goals of the change, outline the challenges and obstacles they faced, match the change to the mission and culture of the organization, and also make sure that the end result was satisfactory and fulfilled the requirements of the business and the stakeholders involved.
Focused drive and systems thinking were some of the main competencies needed for the resolution of the problem with slow, effort-consuming, and complicated data management. Data security, storage, and transfer were the issues that needed the most attention. The decision was made to create a large storage of data – a common database that could be accessed by all the users in different branches. In order to establish and maintain this kind of database and be able to use it successfully, a systematized and standardized access and exploitation approaches had to be used by all the employees of the company.
In turn, this type of change had a direct effect on the employees involved in the processes related to working with the company’s data. As a result, training and coaching programs had to be launched all over the American Water organization for the purpose of helping the workers embrace the change and prepare to perform their new functions and tasks. Overall, training programs turned out to be a substantial portion of the entire project. Moreover, systems specialists and business users were the ones who led, created, and maintained the programs by means of cooperating with the employees’ supervisors and coaches so that the appropriate skills were targeted during the educational sessions.
All in all, it is possible to make a conclusion that the change introduced by American Water was a necessity because a large company providing services to millions of clients requires a cost-effective and efficient data storage and management system allowing the secure maintenance and fast access to a centralized database containing all the information necessary for the employees, as well as their managers and leaders to process, assess, evaluate, and measure the company’s performance, respond to various situations, and stay aware of the operations and functions performed on a daily basis, thus offering high-quality services to their clients.