Utilities must follow extensive regulations set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other government agencies. Adhering to the multitude of standards for data management, audits, and documentation is no easy feat. By following documentation best practices, these organizations can increase operational efficiency, avoid expensive fines, and easily prepare for audits. So, what are some of the data management and documentation best practices that utilities should follow?
Centralized Data Storage
A few decades ago, utilities companies managed just fine using data management processes that relied on manual labor and human compliance. As the utilities industry moves towards more and more connectivity, manual data management and documentation practices simply aren’t enough.
The sheer quantity of data required to properly document the machines and devices in use at any modern utilities facility is overwhelming. Where is the latest version stored? Has there been changes to the project data on PLCs, SCADA systems, or other connected devices?
By centrally storing data, utilities are taking the first step in improving their documentation practices. More advanced data management practices like version control and automatic backups rely on it.
Change Management and Version Control
Utilities must be able to document who changed what, when, where, and why for devices all throughout their organization. Without a version control system that can support this effort, documentation is often incomplete, inconsistent, and time-consuming. The “paste and pray” method of storing data in shared project folders leaves important programs vulnerable to human error like overriding the latest version, deleting or misplacing versions, and making unauthorized changes. This is a major operational risk for many organizations.
A version control software like versiondog simplifies the process of documenting changes for a wide variety of device and data types. If a change is made, version control software tracks who changed what, when, where, and why by recording metadata like user IDs, change reasons, timestamps, device data, and other comments.
With versiondog, users can get a complete change history for any device at the click of a button. This information ensures that documentation is always complete. It also saves organizations significant time when preparing for audits.
Preservation of Institutional Knowledge
One of the challenges facing the utilities industry today is its aging workforce. As utilities personnel with significant experience begin to retire, organizations face the stark realization that their technical expertise and knowledge is at risk of leaving with them.
With a version control system like versiondog, utilities can rest assured that this institutional knowledge is captured. Companies no longer have to worry about where data is stored, if changes have been properly documented, or when the last backup was made.
versiondog for the Utilities Industry
In addition to helping organizations adhere to documentation best practices, versiondog simplifies day-to-day data management tasks like version control and automatic backups. This can save maintenance departments in utilities significant time and effort, reduce downtime, and speed up disaster recovery. To learn more about versiondog, schedule a free demo with our team.