10 Oct 2016

Open Water programme deadlines – are you ready?

The Open Water programme will ensure that from from April 2017, over 1.2 million eligible businesses and other non-household customers in England will be able to choose their supplier of water and wastewater retail services. 

England’s water companies began ‘live’ tests of their systems at the beginning of October. This is in preparation for the start of a competitive market for non-household customers in six months’ time. At Integrella we’ve been working with a few water companies to help get them ready for this. You can check out our case study here, as well as read more about our work in the utilities industry.

Not just a dress-rehearsal

October 2016 sees the initiation of a shadow operation phase which provides a chance for trading parties to bed in their systems and processes. But don’t be fooled into thinking this stage is just a ‘dress rehearsal’. Market data contained in the shadow operation environment is the data that will be used when the market goes live, and will need to be maintained using the appropriate market processes. With the exception of customer transfers, everything else will effectively be live.

Different stages of readiness

According to the most recent updates from Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL), Open Water partners remain confident of delivering an Open Water Market in April 2017. However, there is currently very little clarity available on the market readiness of individual water companies. It can be assumed that at least a few will be up against some very challenging issues.

The big players are placing significant emphasis on managing expectations as the programme continues. They acknowledge that while this is a challenging programme overall, the most difficult part of the process is only starting now.

Technically, what does this mean?

Water companies will require pathways for integrating at least 50 MOSL transaction messages, if they are not covering both water and sewerage dimensions. However, for the great number of messages, we have been able to resolve these to a hierarchy of transaction integration patterns, and implemented multiple web services using these patterns to deliver integrations for the required MOSL transactions. This approach allows for faster design, implementation, and maintenance of the program code created to realise the web services.

It is possible to create the message integrations using various combinations of tools and application systems, but not all deliver as efficiently in cost, feature, and time parameters. The tooling and application-system context that has been used in one of the leading water companies has resulted in expedited delivery at very reasonable overall costs and time-to-deliver. This context has been leveraged to implement services that use integration patterns to reveal and resolve integration concerns.

Help is at hand

Integrella is currently working in this Open Water market, where we have designed and implemented integration services that take Supply Point, Meter, Service Component and other data from current and legacy application systems and to make these available for exchange with MOSL.

Our consultants have gained a valuable understanding of different messaging integration architectures available, and the pros and cons of the available options. Having anticipated in the adoption of one of these architectures, it is fair to say that we have gained a perspective that allows us to advise companies on the best and most efficient options.

Low risk path to market entry

AchillesStamp1It is imperative for organisations to properly weigh up the cost options and ensure that pennies saved in the preparatory phase do not come back to haunt them at a later stage.

Integrella is helping key players on a low-risk path to Market Entry Assurance (MEA). While deadlines are getting closer, there are windows of opportunity to extend our services and expertise in this field to more water companies that may be facing integration challenges in their preparations.

Integrella has been providing IT integration services to its customers ever since 2007. Being integration specialists, we use tried and tested tools, processes and artefacts, and are constantly learning and refining our integration skills – and ultimately taking any integration problems away from our customers. Integrella belongs to Achilles UVDB supplier community.