Searching for Solution Providers: What to Look For and What to Avoid

As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But with technology developing at a break-neck speed and the benefits of efficient, accurate data so integral to planning, staffing, and budgeting, not to mention crisis aversion, municipalities can’t afford to ignore the latest offerings for utility management solutions. Whether you’re in the research phase or ready to implement a better system today, knowing what to look for and what to avoid when evaluating SCADA monitoring systems is the first step to making a good decision.

Avoid: Hidden costs

Unpredicatable things happen every day. And when extenuating circumstances necessitate an emergency situation, the cost of the crisis itself, plus the sting of steep fine-print fees, is a one-two punch most budgets can’t afford to take. Ask early and often about initial costs, maintenance costs, and support costs. Any provider that balks is probably not worth your time.

Look for: Cost transparency

When it comes to implementing a new system, there are always going to be certain fees that are upfront and one-time, such as equipment and set-up. Other fees may be recurring and as-needed, such as maintenance and support. Make sure that when evaluating SCADA solutions, providers are forthcoming and transparent about what their solution will cost at the outset, when something goes wrong, and for upkeep. Transparency is everything.

Avoid: One size fits all 

Telemetry for utility management is a large category, allowing for many areas of distinct approaches, methods, and equipment. Any company or solution provider that claims to have the one and only solution or equipment cannot guarantee it’ll work with your utility parameters, like size, distance, budget, or personnel.

Look for: Customizable solutions

A reliable SCADA solution provider knows that each project presents its own unique needs and challenges and works to find the best solution that fits the project. Additionally, a cloud-based SCADA provider should have the equipment and telemetry technology available that will scale and grow as needed. Having a wide range of options allows for the most tailored solutions.

Avoid: Constantly troubleshooting issues

When evaluating SCADA solution providers, it’s important to trust that your business has the support when it’s needed. Being up a creek without a paddle is the last place you want to find yourself when something urgent needs attention. And spending hours in a call center circle of doom probably isn’t what you paid for, is it?

Look for: Full coverage and support

A good SCADA provider is your paddle, and your life jacket, and the Coast Guard… if you need it to be. Implementing a new SCADA solution is an investment of time, energy, personnel, and money. Look for a SCADA provider that feels like an extension of your own team, with the same goals and objectives, then you’ll have a win-win.