April 1, 2022

FAQs: Discussing Risk Management with Shane Mattix, Irth Solutions’ Technical Sales Leader

with Shane Mattix, Irth Solutions’ Technical Sales Leader

It’s one thing to be aware of activity around your critical network infrastructure. It’s quite another to understand the level of risk associated with it. As Shane Mattix, Irth Solution’s technical sales leader, explained during a recent conversation around frequently asked questions, knowing the best action to take to reduce risk is even more crucial for Risk Management.  

What’s the difference between Risk Scoring and Damage Risk Analysis?

Let’s talk about Risk Scoring and Damage Risk Analysis in terms of baseball. The person on a Little League team who keeps track of team stats is usually a team member. When a kid walks up to bat, this “numbers” person knows they bat a 400. That’s like SmartScore.  

When you get to Major League Baseball, all the stats are handled by a computer. Damage Risk Analysis is like the statistical analysis done at the Major League. A person doesn’t need to handle the stats unless they want to because the computer has it covered.  

Can you have Damage Risk Analysis without a SmartScore?

You can’t really have Damage Risk Analysis without SmartScore, but you can have SmartScore without Damage Risk Analysis.  

It sounds like Damage Risk Analysis is automatic?

Damage Risk Analysis gauges risk based on ratios. For example, when one excavator was responsible for 67 out of 100 damages, it will be assigned a higher SmartScore by Damage Risk Analysis than an excavator that was responsible for 13 of those 100 damages. The data that is collected sets the score with Damage Risk Analysis.  

Can customers choose to use SmartScore without Damage Risk Analysis?

Absolutely. You can use SmartScore to drive a notification. For example, one of our customers uses SmartScore to send out email notifications to excavators based on the activity of the ticket (boring, directional drilling, foundation work, etc.). So, SmartScore in and of itself is useful, but it’s amplified when you add Damage Risk Analysis.  

This product determines risk similarly to an insurance company does, right?

Right. We look at the history based on an actuarial risk model, and we can help you figure out what to expect in the future. It’s like how most auto insurance works. If you had a car accident last year, the insurance company sees you as more susceptible to claims in the future, and they will increase your rates. Historically, suppose you have an excavator that’s damaged your critical network infrastructure 47 times, another one that caused damage 20 times and a final one that damaged just once. In that case, it doesn’t require an artificial intelligence (AI) model to tell you who is the riskiest. Bringing AI into a scoring conversation is akin to bringing a backhoe to drive a nail – it technically can do it but it’s certainly not required and burdens your project with additional costs.

How does managing risk support damage prevention?

Risk management with Damage Risk Analysis gives you the best shot at doing your best work. It’s like Google maps. Google maps accounts for all the factors to direct the optimal route from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. It knows that specific routes have more traffic on Tuesdays at 3pm and that others have current construction or accidents. You use Google maps to reduce the risk of being late. Risk management with Damage Risk Analysis reduces the risk of damage to your assets.   

If you’re just looking at a group of 811 tickets and trying to figure out which is riskier, you won’t have all the data available to make the best decision. Excavator X may have damaged critical network infrastructure in your territory last week, so you might feel like that’s the ticket that needs more oversight. However, numerically Excavator Z is worse because they’ve caused damage 100 times out of the last thousand tickets. Damage Risk Analysis helps our customers prioritize action based on historical data.  

Does Irth Solutions’ Risk Management solution tell you why something is risky?

Yes. Our system tells you why something is risky. Having insight into why it’s risky can help drive the next best action.  

By knowing that an excavator is the highest risk associated with a ticket, you can determine your next best action, such as calling the excavator beforehand to partner with them on the dig. If the facility is the highest risk, but the excavator is safe, you might send out an email notification alerting the facility they are digging over a huge gas line and request that certain precautions be taken. If it’s a bad locator, you can create a locate audit to be sure to follow up on that locator’s work.  

If you don’t have this insight for “why this ticket is risky,” it’s like your doctor saying you have a 99% chance of a heart attack. The first question would be, “How do I lower that risk?”  

Damage risk analysis helps you determine how to lower risk on tickets. You’re not left wondering, is it the excavator, the type of work, the dig site or something else?  

So, understanding your risks and why it’s risky, not just the fact that it is risky, is at the core of our products.  

When you understand the detail of why something’s risky, you can plan for better results.  

How does Risk Scoring work with App Designer?

Because our risk management products not only direct the next best action, our configurable apps and app designer give our customers the ability to schedule actions all inside one platform. Managing tickets and completing actions on those tickets is done from UtiliSphere™. This makes UtiliSphere a trusted source of data—trusted for the next best actions, to complete those actions, send notifications and automate workflow. This is all configurable, so it will meet your requirements and fit within your operating and maintenance manuals.

To learn more about risk management, read the case study about how a large utility company decreased damages by 29% using Damage Risk Analysis.

Irth Solutions' market-leading SaaS platform improves resilience and reduces risk in the sustainable delivery of essential services that millions of people and businesses rely on every day. Energy, utility and telecom companies across the U.S. and Canada trust Irth Solutions for damage prevention, asset protection and risk management solutions, making Irth the top provider for 811 (one call) ticket management and utility locating software since 1995. Powered by business intelligence, analytics and geospatial data, our platform helps deliver the 360-degree situational awareness needed to proactively mitigate and manage risk of critical network infrastructure in a changing environment.

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