Enhanced GIS Performance & IT Peace of Mind: Water Customer Story
How Moving to the Cloud Enabled Connecticut Water to Provide Exceptional and Reliable GIS Services
Connecticut Water Company (CWC) is a regulated water utility under the holding company, Connecticut Water Service (CTWS) and the New England subsidiary of SJW Group. Headquartered in Clinton, CT, Connecticut Water provides service to more than 450,000 people across 81 Connecticut and Maine towns. Connecticut Water Company’s GIS group has a distributed team of editors and consultants working across various New England locations.
The Problem: Slow Performance and a Remote Team
Connecticut Water Company’s GIS team was suffering with slow desktop performance in their GIS applications including ArcGIS Server, Portal and ArcMap. They had unpredictable GIS outages causing the GIS web viewer to be unavailable. These tech issues were mostly unrelated to GIS but would cause the internal enterprise GIS network to go down.
GIS demands were heavily straining CWC’s IT staff and resources. As with many organizations, their IT department supports company-wide operations with no dedicated resources to GIS. CWC’s IT division needs to prioritize customer facing issues and emergencies first and often didn’t have the resources to address the issues impacting the GIS team.
When the GIS division at CWC moved from corporate headquarters to a location 45 minutes north as part of a central operations center for Engineering, performance issues increased dramatically. This was the final straw. The CWC GIS group started researching the cloud.
CWC had a large data development initiative to modernize their GIS. They needed a solution that offered excellent performance from any location, a reliable platform to serve their GIS applications, and a way to reduce GIS demands on their internal network and IT staff. First they reached out to Esri and then to ROK Technologies for a solution.
The Solution: The Cloud and a Dedicated IT Team
First, CWC and ROK collaborated at an initial planning meeting to take inventory, on what the future state needed to look like, taking inventory and deciding what we truly need to migrate into our new environment.
Next, ROK Technologies developed a three step cloud-based GIS plan for Connecticut Water Company based on their needs.
- Relocate their entire enterprise GIS infrastructure to the cloud including ArcGIS Server, Web Adapter, License Manager, and SQL Database.
- Move the GIS team to AWS WorkSpaces to effectively run programs such as ArcMap, ArcGIS Pro, and WaterGEMS without interruption.
- Ensure their GIS needs are continually supported and maintained properly with ROK’s GIS Managed Services.
“Our internal IT staff are incredibly skilled and I believe they are leaders in their area of expertise, but they weren’t experts in the niche of GIS IT. With ROK’s managed services, we now have IT experts who specialize in GIS. It makes life easier for our staff because now we can totally focus on GIS and leave the IT tasks to ROK,” Daniel Goodrich, Senior GIS Analyst at Connecticut Water Company explained. “We needed an IT department that focuses on GIS, and that’s ROK.”
The Benefit: Peace of Mind, Productivity and Ease of Updates
Once Connecticut Water deployed cloud-based GIS, they experienced much better performance for their GIS editors. Daniel shared, “It was an instant fix for us. Performance wise the cloud was better. We started working the way we had always imagined we should be able to work, without all the little hiccups.” Overnight CWC was able to deploy fast, reliable, and secure web maps to their field crew and office staff.
Peace Of Mind
CWC has a multiuser database to reconcile so their GIS lead occasionally plans a temporary shutdown of their ArcGIS Server. After just moving to the cloud, this shutdown alerted ROK immediately. “It was comforting to know how quickly ROK was ready to address this type of situation.” The calls regarding technical difficulties from the remote team ceased. Uptime improved due to ROK’s 24/7 monitoring of their GIS systems. Now CWC is able to provide exceptional GIS to the company, staff and ultimately serve their water customers better.
Not only did CWC experience better performance, but by not using their internal IT resources, they also yielded substantial savings in both dollars and hours. When the coronavirus pandemic forced most of the staff to work from home, the GIS team realized how fortunate they were to be in the cloud. Their group was able to work seamlessly and independently as if they were still in the office. With ROK’s managed services, CWC’s GIS team is confident their needs will be quickly addressed in the event of an outage, other emergency or future pandemic.
Ease of Updates
“We never did updates. We knew that if we did an update there was a possibility we would break something, and now the updates just happen and we don’t even think about it. ROK says we are doing a patch and it happens. We know we are secure, and don’t have to worry about it,” says Daniel Goodrich. CWC realized the benefit of having world class GIS support from ROK Technologies. ROK has allowed CWC to drastically increase the speed at which they can deploy solutions according to industry best practices. As a result, CWC were most likely falling behind in their GIS maintenance due to not pushing updates but the fear of breaking something was greater than working with outdated programs. However, with ROK’s managed services, the cloud and AWS, CWC is confidently sitting on the cutting edge of GIS software.
Connecticut Water Company now leverages superior performance with the cloud and peace of mind with ROK Technologies managed services by their side. Daniel Goodrich’s advice for organizations considering a move, “go to the cloud right away, especially with a managed solution like ROK. ROK handles all the stuff we don’t want to do.” He also shares that “if you don’t have an enterprise GIS yet, moving to the cloud is a really easy way to get started and much less expensive.”