Last Updated 27 Mar 2020

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Preserves Expertise with Better Knowledge Management

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Case 2: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Preserves Expertise with Better Knowledge Management 1. What are the business goals of SFPUC? How is knowledge management related to those goals? SFPUC is a department of the city and county of San Francisco that provides water, wastewater, and municipal power services to the city.

SFPUC’s Power division provides electricity to the city and county of San Francisco, including power used to operate electric streetcars and buses; the Regional and Local Water departments supply some of the purest drinking water in the world to San Francisco and neighboring Santa Clara and San Mateo counties; and the Wastewater division handles flushed and drained water to significantly reduce pollution in the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean.

The mission of this organization is to provide San Francisco and its Bay Area customers with reliable, high-quality, affordable water and wastewater treatment while efficiently and responsibly managing human, physical, and natural resources. SFPUC met these challenges by implementing a business process management (BPM) and workflow solution from Interfacing Technologies Corporation to drive change efforts across the organization. The system, called Enterprise Process Center, or EPC, manages knowledge retention and establishes new ways of collaborating, sharing information, and defining roles and responsibilities.

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EPC solved that problem by creating work order flows for all tasks performed within the organization, defining the employee roles and responsibilities for each. They will not search for files everywhere, just type it in the search box and one can view it. It makes employees working easier. 2. What were some of the challenges faced by SFPUC? What management, organization, and technology factors were responsible for those challenges?

The two major challenges SFPUC faced were successfully capturing, managing, and transferring this knowledge, and maintaining reliability and accountability despite a large influx of new workers. SFPUC expected that a significant portion of its employees—about 20 percent—would retire in 2009. To make matters worse, the majority of these positions were technical, which meant that the training of new employees would be more complicated, and maintaining knowledge of the retiring workers would be critical to all areas of SFPUC’s business processes. . Describe how implementing EPC improved knowledge management and operational effectiveness at SFPUC. With EPC, SFPUC would be able to maintain continuity from older to newer employees more easily. SFPUC was impressed that the system would p all four of its major divisions, helping to standardize common processes across multiple departments, and that it would be easy to use and train employees. 4. How effective was EPC as a solution for SFPUC?

SFPUC management had anticipated that eliminating outdated tasks would have the added effect of keeping employees happy, which would help SFPUC’s performance by delaying retirement of older employees and increasing the likelihood that newer hires stayed at the company. EPC allowed employees to provide feedback on various tasks, helping to identify tasks that were most widely disliked. EPC helped SFPUC take its baby boomers’ individual data and knowledge and turn them into usable and actionable information that was easily shared throughout the firm. SFPUC stayed much further under budget than other comparable governmental organizations.

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