To help mark the one-year anniversary of the joining of XP Solutions and Innovyze, I sat down with VP of Product Management Greg Kowalsky to discuss the Innovyze approach to product development as well as to gain some insight into the future trajectory of Innovyze solutions.
QUESTION: What problems are we trying to solve? Not from an engineering or mathematical standpoint, but from a human standpoint?
KOWALSKY: First and foremost, we’re trying to help our utility and consulting clients serve their communities. There is a cost optimization component where we want our products to help provide higher quality of service so clients can stretch a dollar farther. There is also a health and safety component that includes forecasting and predictive recommendations so that we can help them be prepared when adverse events occur.
QUESTION: How does the Innovyze product team approach product development?
KOWALSKY: We are proactively pushing functionality forward and we want to be more user-centric. Our goal is to understand the work our clients are trying to get done, so we consistently solicit their feedback to solve the challenges they face and strive to meet their needs.
QUESTION: Are there any upcoming product updates scheduled?
KOWALSKY: There are quite a few, for example we’re adding an EPANET engine option for WSPro, which will open up workgroup functionality for users that need compatibility with EPANET. Later this year, we’ll be offering significant speed improvements for XPSWMM simulations with processing enhancements. We’ll also have new releases of InfoWorks ICM, InfoSWMM and our asset management products, InfoNet and InfoMaster. Longer term, we’re evaluating next generation options for our drainage design products.
QUESTION: What can our customers expect if a current product faces “sunset” status?
KOWALSKY: We often get questions about the future of specific products, especially following the joining of XP Solutions and Innovyze and the combination of our extensive product lines. Our goals for the future are certainly to include more powerfully integrated solutions. Currently, we don’t have immediate plans to end any of our core offerings. If that time comes, we are committed to providing a path forward that leverages the investment a customer has already made to ultimately better serve their needs. We’re lucky that we have many products that are somebody’s “favorite”. Customers can rest assured that they will receive service support and new releases as they have in the past.
QUESTION: How can users get the most from Innovyze products?
KOWALSKY: We’ve got a great support team – ask for help. There is a positive feedback loop for users when they ask support questions or receive training. They open more advanced capability and that creates more questions and even more learning. The more customers use the products day-to-day the more they start to understand the full value. The other way is to explore other Innovyze products. Almost all our products have hooks, connections or complimentary capabilities that enhance their value when combined.
QUESTION: What makes the Innovyze product team unique?
KOWALSKY: We have a depth of experience that is unmatched in the industry. Everybody comes from a civil engineering background with many years of direct practioner experience. Our team also has software experience with multiple generations of technology. We have used pretty much every product out there, going all the way back to early DOS based modeling products.
QUESTION: Words like “smart city”, “digital twin” and “internet of things” are often used to describe futuristic infrastructure management – do you believe this technology is achievable for water infrastructure? Is that somewhere we plan on going?
KOWALSKY: I believe it is achievable, and I especially buy into the digital twin concept. We have a real-time modeling capability now that can simulate future events based on forecast condition. In the future, utilities should be able to easily preview operating conditions for the next week like you can estimate your travel time for a future trip in Google Maps. Are we going to have a CSO event tomorrow morning? You’ll be able to get an instant alert and estimate ahead of time. Leading utilities are there today with a fraction of their network. Maybe everyone won’t be there in 2-5 years, but it will be a common aspiration. Everyone will be on this path.
QUESTION: Anything else you’d like to add about the Innovyze Product Team?
KOWALSKY: We are passionate about the broader water resources industry, which is proven by our commitment to creating better products. It’s a complex challenge, but we have people who gravitate to solving hard problems. It requires an engineering community to make it happen. It requires collaboration.
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