User Group Discussion Topics

By Paul Burkett

Updated 20 January, 2020

User Group Discussion Topics

OpenPoint utilities are looking forward to meeting with peers to:

  • Share experiences and ideas to strengthen work flows and results.
  • Brainstorm about ways to expand and enhance the software to offer more, or to do something better.
  • Create a forum for sharing the best practices directly or indirectly related to the work performed through OpenPoint whether in engineering, operations, accounting, customer service or business management.

We’ve been keeping a list of potential discussion topics, and we’ll coordinate the first user group meeting in 2020. After that, our hope is that meetings will be arranged and managed by the users and the OpenPoint team will be invited to participate in all, or part, of the discussion.

If this concept takes off, users could determine how often meetings will occur, whether they’ll be in person or in a webinar format, and what will be discussed. We’ll be happy to share our list of potential discussion topics and to participate in whatever capacity the users would like.

Here’s the list of ideas we’ve gathered so far, in no particular order.

  • Job Estimates – Would you like to see the current functionality expanded or changed? How?
  • Remotely View Construction Units – Is the current lookup functionality adequate for remote viewing of construction units at a particular station or GPS location? You do not need a mobile mapping tool to do this; only a login to OpenPoint Web.
  • District Shifts – Is there a better way you’d like to handle district shifts; for example, when a parcel is annexed into the city and you need to modify the district associated with the property records?
  • Mobile Units/Special Equipment – Discuss how some utilities keep track of details on special equipment beyond transformers and meters. Why do some utilities do this and others don’t? Could OpenPoint help your utility with these records?
  • Fixed Assets – Interested in using OpenPoint to keep track of property records on substation equipment, wells, pump station equipment, furniture, tools, vehicles, buildings, etc.?
  • Ticket System – Do we need a ticketing system to enable utilities to report and check the status on requests and suggestions? We have ideas around this but it hasn’t seemed necessary to date. We are able to keep up with logging customer requests and communicating the priority and status with OpenPoint utilities … at least we are comfortable with it from OpenPoint’s perspective. What do you think?
  • Outage Management – Discuss current functionality and explore the potential of additional OMS features such as an interface with a public facing map and Interactive Voice Response system to enable automated updates for customers regarding outages.
  • Interface with Smart Meters – Discuss other benefits of an interface with your utility’s AMI system such as transformer loading analysis.
  • Modeling Open Transformers – How would this be most useful?
  • Use of Parcel Data – Is there a reason to automate a link with parcel data available through the city or county database?
  • Track Job Deadlines – Would it be useful to use OpenPoint for tracking deadlines on various steps in a job such as when a customer needs the work done or when a final billing needs to be sent out?
  • Miles of Line – What should be included? Multiple spans between same two poles or peds? Neutrals? Riser wire? Overhead guys? Statuc wire? Street light UF wire? How should totals be broken down?
  • Assembly Groups – How are they useful? How are they a handicap? Why do some utilities use them and other don’t? Would they be more useful if they were always exploded on staking sheets and in the plant records so the crew sees them at the assembly level?
  • Physical Inventory Audit Adjustments – How can we help automate this process? How are utilities improving the accuracy of their inventory transactions throughout the year to minimize adjustments at the end?
  • Transformer and Meter Purchases and Retirements – Would it be useful to use OpenPoint to establish and prompt a journal entry for the first-time installation cost of transformers and meters purchased, and to prompt a journal entry for retirements of these mobile units?
  • Expense and other Non-Capital Work Orders – General discussion regarding how and why utilities create “work orders” for non-capital projects, and how OpenPoint can be used to streamline journal entries to close them out. Are there other ways OpenPoint could be used to further streamline these types of work orders.
  • Auto-Number Option for Work Orders and Purchase Orders – Hear from a few utilities how and why they are using these features.
  • Work Order Numbers – Does your utility have a numbering system that is exceptionally useful? Willing to share with others?
  • User Documentation – Making it accessible through OpenPoint and customizing it for your utility.
  • Custom Links – Would it be useful if you could customize the links accessible through OpenPoint? What types of things would you like to link to OpenPoint?
  • Pros and Cons of blanket Work Orders – Does your utility use blanket work orders? What For? We’ve heard of blankets for transformers and meters, quarterly street light changeouts and quarterly service installations. How are those useful?
  • Time Card and Vehicle Hour Recordkeeping – Information sharing among utilities. Is there a method in use by another utility that would streamline your operation? Is there a way OpenPoint could help?
  • Purchase Orders – How does your utility use OpenPoint and/or other applications to create and track purchase orders?

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