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Waterscan leverages the power of data to save water and money for customers

About Waterscan

Using less water, lowering water bills and being more socially responsible are some of the key benefits commercial water users experience by adopting Waterscan's strategic and comprehensive approach to water management. Developing such an approach helps safeguard an organisation's sustainable water future by addressing potential risks and setting reduction targets.

Industries: Utilities, Other
Location: United Kingdom
Products: Looker

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Waterscan moves on from Excel-based data models to Looker to streamline data visualization.

Results

  • The Waterscan team leveraged Looker’s data application platform to build faster, more flexible reports for their customers, spending less than 100 hours of development time on the initial implementation
  • Waterscan has experienced significant time and cost savings on report building and maintenance, including a decrease in report development time of 95%
  • Access to real-time analytics via their Waterline product gave Waterscan the ability to help 100% of their customers save water and money
  • In addition to helping their customers access analytics, today 100% of Waterscan’s employees have self-service access to analytics with Looker
  • The implementation process of connecting Looker to Waterline, building the data model and embedded dashboards, and setting up permissions configurations for Waterscan’s Waterline customers took two developers less than 100 hours to complete before customers were able to access and analyze their data via Looker

Waterscan is the leading provider of commercial water management services in the United Kingdom, helping customers monitor water consumption and efficiency to save water and, ultimately, save money. The company offers monitoring and reporting services, identifying water saving opportunities, improving water efficiency, reducing costs, and helping them lead their respective industries in environmental initiatives. Waterscan had been relying on Excel to power most of its business intelligence and needed a more flexible, scalable solution to provide real-time data for both internal teams and its customers.

“We found Looker to be the most helpful vendor. Looker was on the ball from a customer service point of view. That was the best selling point, having someone available to help us and having that expertise on call.”

Nathan Morgan, Commercial Services Manager, Waterscan

From an inflexible Excel-based data model to Looker

As Waterscan helped their growing customer base meet corporate responsibility goals of water usage reduction, their reliance on Excel spreadsheets became an inhibiting factor for growth.

To help provide deeper and faster insights into customers’ water usage metrics, the Waterscan team created a premium reporting offering with their Waterline product. While this provided customers with improved visibility into water usage, the lack of a business intelligence tool or data model meant that Waterscan teams were constantly uploading and downloading Excel documents to and from Waterline to do their jobs. Since the Excel reports were static, it was difficult and time consuming to update numbers with the data from Waterline. Development of new reports or amendments to existing reports used to take up to four weeks due to development sprint cycles and release dates. Every time a new report was built or an existing report was amended, it would cost Waterscan more than $2,400. Additionally, once data was updated, there was lots of work needed to design new reports that met branding guidelines and ready them for customer viewing. Waterscan needed a modern data solution that would save their team time and money in development resources, provide customers with up-to-the-minute insights, and scale as their customer base and demand for data grew.

After evaluating different embedded analytics solutions to help take Waterline to the next level, the Waterscan team chose Looker for its ease of use, flexibility, and customer experience. As Nathan Morgan, Waterscan Commercial Services Manager, explains, “Looker was the most helpful vendor and on the ball from a customer service point of view. Having that expertise on call was a key selling point.”

The implementation process of connecting Looker to Waterline, building the data model and embedded dashboards, and setting up permissions configurations for Waterscan’s Waterline customers took two developers less than 100 hours to complete before customers were able to access and analyze their data via Looker.

Today, Looker is an integral part of Waterscan’s modern data stack. It runs on top of Snowflake, allowing the company both security and flexibility as it expands. By deploying Looker for embedded analytics, the Waterscan team has saved development costs, improved operational efficiency, and helped 100% of customers who use Waterline to lower their water usage and costs.

“With Looker, the information is specific to usage and goals, as well as industry metrics to provide benchmarking and context. Looker’s flexibility allows us to surface real-time data and customize the experience to each customer.”

Nathan Morgan, Commercial Services Manager, Waterscan

Embedded analytics for Waterline users: Saving water, saving the planet

One of the ways Waterscan leverages Looker is by delivering insights externally to customers via their premium reporting tool, Waterline. With Looker powering Waterline, the company can double down on their mission to help save water. With Looker visualizations embedded into Waterline, the Waterscan sales team delivers compelling visualizations highlighting the clear connection between data and savings. Since the Waterscan team no longer needs to build custom visualizations in house, they’re able to leverage new updates released from Looker. For example, when Looker launched a new water gauge visualization, the Waterscan team was quick to put it to use within their product. “I’ve never installed a visualization so quickly. It’s perfect.It felt like it was made for us,” marvels Morgan.

The analytics and account management teams previously relied on Excel reports from Waterline to help guide their customers’ corporate responsibility goals and metrics. With Looker, they can help customers interrogate and understand data—giving them never-before-seen visibility into their usage metrics and providing benchmarking guidance for best practices. The Waterscan Account Services team can now build dashboards specific to each customer based on contractual service level agreements. These dashboards were manually and periodically generated in the past.

“With Looker, the information is specific to usage and goals as well as industry metrics to provide benchmarking and context. Looker’s flexibility allows us to surface real-time data and customize the experience to each customer,” explains Morgan.

Differentiating with insights

Looker has enabled Waterscan to build a self-service component to Waterline—a critical competitive differentiation that is helping its customers take big leaps in digital transformation, automation, and corporate responsibility initiatives.

“We have a lot of customers who build reports on their own and explore the data even further. The next stage for us is to provide customers with those additional exploration benefits. Our customers don’t get this from their energy or utility providers, so we are really proud that we can provide this to them before those providers,” says Morgan. The self-service capabilities also free up the Waterscan account management and account services teams, who previously helped customers calculate savings and metrics.

Waterscan customer Whitbred, the largest hospitality company in the UK, relies on Waterline to monitor its greywater recycling systems. The data and analytics surfaced by Waterline have enabled Whitbred to reduce water usage by 30% compared to the water consumption at similar hotels. The real-time data self-service and customization that Looker powers in Waterline have driven similar results at other Waterscan customers. According to Morgan, “With Waterline, all customers have been able to improve their water efficiency.”

“Before Looker, when we wanted a new report from Waterline, there was a development cost of more than $2,400, and an additional cost if you wanted to amend the report. Looker has paid for itself already because we were having to request so many new reports and updates. The operations team has really benefited not only in time and efficiency, but in cost savings.”

Nathan Morgan, Commercial Services Manager, Waterscan

Internal data accessibility drives efficiencies and cost savings

In addition to using Looker to deliver data to their customers, every internal team at Waterscan now uses data from Looker to guide decision-making, automate processes, and help deliver increased value to their customers. This includes finance, marketing, sales, and the operations team who go out and look at water meters and people’s houses and pipes, as well as teams who work with their Waterline customers such as account management, retail, and account services teams.

The Waterscan finance team uses Looker to automate error and issue detection for invoices. Previously, the team tracked invoices from one-off emails in the Waterline system. Now, invoices are automatically logged via Looker, and the team receives custom email alerts when invoices are overdue. This helps to automate finance processes and ensure on-time payments more efficiently.

In a similar vein, the retail services team uses Looker to streamline workflows. This team needs to complete many forms and validation tasks on a daily basis. Before Looker, they downloaded Excel files, updated them, and then uploaded completed Excel files back into Waterline in order to create a job report. Today, Looker automatically identifies exceptions to those processes and manages them, saving the team significant time. For example, the team will receive alerts if there are significant fluctuations for month-over-month spend or consumption, and then they can take action to make sure everything is correct for customers. As Morgan notes, “They can put links directly into the Waterline dashboard so users can see issues and complete the process within Waterline itself instead of going back and forth between Waterline and Excel to find issues and take action.” This is a significant time saver and frees the team to focus on process improvement or outliers that need their attention.

The operations team uses Looker to access granular and actionable information within the Waterline product, such as quickly identifying meter performance issues. Before Looker, the operations team had to access this information from the Waterline web application.This required multiple hops around the application, as information wasn’t consolidated in a single location. Looker presents the information in easily accessible reports and also makes data from the field teams accessible to operations—information that was previously difficult to obtain.

As Morgan explains, “Before Looker, when we wanted a new report from Waterline, there was a development cost of more than $2,400, plus an additional cost if you wanted to amend the report. Looker has paid for itself already because we were having to request so many new reports and updates.The operations team has really benefited, not only in time and efficiency but in cost savings.”

“With Waterscan and Waterline, all customers have been able to improve their water efficiency.”

Nathan Morgan, Commercial Services Manager, Waterscan

Continuing its mission

Waterscan has big plans for its continued use of Looker for their external and internal users. Externally, they are working on the updates to the existing Waterline product for the customers, as well as launching another data product coming soon, called Waterline 2. In addition to the visibility Waterline provides customers, Waterline 2 will allow premier customers to explore their data further and build custom dashboards and other data experiences for their teams. This will allow Waterscan’s most data-hungry customers to go above and beyond what they can do with any of their other utility providers, increasing their resource efficiency and meeting digital transformation goals.

Internally, they plan to continue scaling and improving the efficiencies of processes for the finance, account services, operations, and sales teams. With 100% corporate adoption, Morgan and team are excited to discover the new efficiencies and opportunities they know their internal teams will continue to discover with data.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Waterscan

Using less water, lowering water bills and being more socially responsible are some of the key benefits commercial water users experience by adopting Waterscan's strategic and comprehensive approach to water management. Developing such an approach helps safeguard an organisation's sustainable water future by addressing potential risks and setting reduction targets.

Industries: Utilities, Other
Location: United Kingdom