Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad), an agent and contractor of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, provides water and wastewater services in the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area. Its concession area covers 540 km2, and is composed of 17 cities and municipalities. Maynilad has a large customer base of over 1,100,000 service connections. . Approximately 97.8 percent of Maynilad customers enjoy 24-hour uninterrupted water supply, and 99.9 percent are provided with water service at seven pounds per inch2 (psi) minimum pressure.
With this accomplishment, the company is now moving toward dynamic expansion, as the opportunity to grow the business outside of its concession area beckons.
“The water utility industry is subject and must continuously adapt to constantly changing economic, societal, governmental and environmental pressures in order to meet its mission. We want our staff to capitalize on their new-found expertise in non- revenue water management, water supply operations and wastewater management so that Maynilad can deliver safe, sustainable water to even more areas. We also want to implement new applications so we can continuously provide better service to our customers,” said Dr. Francisco C. Castillo, SVP-CIO, IT Division, Maynilad.
Because of his enormous contribution to Maynilad’s IT infrastructure, Dr. Castillo was selected by IDG, from over 450 IT professionals, as one of the most outstanding CIOs in the ASEAN region. He is also the first in the Philippines to receive the Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) certificate from the Project Management Institute, the world’s leading non-profit professional membership association for the project, program and portfolio management profession.
To improve service levels, the company started to make investments in the construction of vital infrastructure, and the renovation of its offices which started in early 2012. As such, the company needed to boost its networking capacities to support more customer services, streamline IT processes and manage costs.
Strategies for Growth
Maynilad chose Extreme Networks to deploy wired and wireless solutions enterprise-wide, covering the head office, data center, and 15 branches and pumping stations. The private water concessionaire selected Extreme Networks due to its excellent networking features and dedicated pre and post-sales support. “Our IT team was particularly impressed by the security features of Extreme Networks’ offerings, especially the role-based access control (RBAC). Not only does it offer us great network performance, but also reliable security for our confidential information,” said Dr. Castillo.
To date, 182 switches and 71 access points have been deployed across Maynilad’s network. The solution included Extreme Networks Summit x460s, which provide high density Gigabit Ethernet in a very small 1RU. Supported by the ExtremeXOS system, they can simplify network operations and offer high scalability.
Rising Levels of Performance with Lowering Costs
With Extreme Networks’ solutions, Maynilad successfully deployed a robust networking foundation from which to support its expanding business operations.
The company can now offer better services to its customer base. “Automation is crucial to track and manage the transportation of water. Extreme Networks has given us a solid network from which we can launch the systems to enable this, as well as better applications to meet customer billing and enquiry needs,” said Dr. Castillo. Employees can also respond to customer demands proactively by collaborating more effectively to make better business decisions. “Users and devices at Maynilad’s different locations can now connect to the network via core or edge switches at each office. As a result, they are able to communicate and share information more seamlessly,” Dr. Castillo continued.
The upgrade also boosted Maynilad’s network security posture. “Thanks to RBAC, we can now centrally manage and control the security posture of all devices connecting to the network. It monitors and restricts access to our confidential customer and corporate data, so we can assure customers of the integrity of their information,” said Dr. Castillo. As a result, the company can also address compliance and regulatory requirements more effectively.
In addition to performance improvements, the company managed to lower its IT costs. Maynilad trimmed down its network hardware requirements, thanks to the high port density of the Summit x460 switches. Manpower costs have also been reduced, due to the centralized and automated network management enabled by the ExtremeXOS. “In the past, our IT team had to spend the bulk of their time managing failovers, billing systems and security. With ExtremeXOS, these have been taken care of and they can focus their time on more strategic IT initiatives, such as deploying our new applications,” said Dr. Castillo.
Maynilad is also working with Extreme Networks to implement a system to allow remote and central monitoring and operation of its water and wastewater facilities. This will improve the distribution of water to the water pipe networks as well as the restoration of pipes with water leakage, enabling Maynilad to minimize water loss while providing better service to customers. This project, known as SCADA, might be the first in South East Asia for a water utility company.
A buoyant future
Maynilad is now more than prepared to take on its future challenges. It has a robust network to support expansions that will cover additional pumping stations and sites. The network is also flexible enough to be scaled up to accommodate additional infrastructure and services.
“Strategic planning for the sourcing, treatment, storage and delivery of water will be essential. With the new network, we can now adopt strategic imperatives more actively, such as engagement with all stakeholders, leveraging new technologies and developing 21st century leadership skills, to help position our water utilities for future success,” says Dr. Castillo.