Protection Access Control SystemCase Study
Seattle Public Utilities
Better management and reporting for Seattle Public Utilities Watershed Protection
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) delivers an average of 130 million gallons of high-quality water daily to more than 1.5 million people in the greater Seattle area. SPU’s Watershed Management Division is responsible for source protection of the Cedar River and South Fork Tolt Watersheds in the Cascade mountains.
To maintain regulatory compliance, they needed to replace their legacy applications and cumbersome processes with a modern, mobile-enabled, integrated solution for monitoring and reporting on the watersheds.
SPU’s Watershed Protection Section field staff patrols over 100,000 acres, and most of their shifts are spent with little to no Wi-Fi or cell network connection. As such, many of their business processes (including permitting, inspections, and incident response) were completed by paper and later entered into multiple legacy systems to ensure compliance. The legacy systems lacked the ability to provide SPU with the reports they wanted and did not allow for development of a mobile solution.
Compounding the problem, the primary application in use by field staff was no longer serviceable or supported – leaving SPU at risk should the system fail.
The City of Seattle selected Arctic IT to build the SPU Protection Access Control System (SPU-PACS), a modern content management system for the Watershed Protection Section. The base solution was developed on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service and the Power Platform in the Government Community Cloud to ensure the application is highly configurable, secure, and can meet current and future needs without requiring extensive customization. The main solution functionality includes recording and tracking:
- Permit compliance
- Inspection processes
- Incident documentation
- Hydrological data collection
- Resource tasks
The solution was inherently integrated with a Field Service Mobile App that can operate in both a connected and disconnected state, allowing for remote permitting and compliance, emergency response, data entry, signatures from vendors, etc. The mobile app functions across web-capable smartphones and tablets, enabling field staff to work from weather-resistant devices while on patrol.
Arctic IT developed business workflows via Power Automate that allow staff to submit their work faster and send/receive notifications in real time. The dashboards and views within the system on Dynamics 365 provide SPU with real-time reporting and are much more streamlined than the legacy applications.
The new SPU-PACS solution delivers better management and reporting of the key Watershed Protection activities for the City of Seattle. Enhanced system usability and workflow automation simplified the daily tasks conducted by SPU field staff. The mobile app allows them to capture weather, temperature, and water level readings in remote areas that upload to the system upon connection to Wi-Fi or cell service. They can also capture signatures and forms directly in the mobile app or load them to the system digitally as attachments – eliminating duplicate tasks for data entry. Back-office managers can now oversee these tasks on a day-to-day basis and can assign resources based on staff availability and workload.
Ultimately, the low-code Microsoft cloud platform provides a higher level of security, configurability, and reliability for SPU today and into the future.
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