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Is the Common Information Model (CIM) Your Solution to Utility Data Problems?

By in Data Management | April 16, 2018


Before delving into whether the Utility Common Information Model (CIM) is a solution to all utility data issues, we must first understand what the CIM is.

What is the CIM?

The CIM is known as an open standard that defines common data sets of objects, and the relationship between them within electric utilities. The standard was developed to help establish a universal means for multiple parties to exchange information and manage all components of the information.

How does the CIM work?

If you look into the operations of a utility company, you will find that there are multiple data elements used repeatedly throughout different systems.

For example, a customer account can be viewed as a data object. The customer account, a data object, is comprised of many data elements. One of the data elements belonging to the data object, such as an address associated with a customer account, is represented in many different ways within the systems of a utility company.

In terms of customer information management, the “address” or data element exists within your work order management system. The work order management system then relays the address to your mobile work management system, which then ties the address back to your GIS. With so many variables involving just one data element, the CIM helps define and establish a common “language” used within the company to ease system integration and increase the understanding of the flow of growing data.

Start Incorporating CIM Into Your Systems

As with anything, it is easier to start with an established framework than with nothing. The CIM is a jumpstart to understanding your data and making sure all the data within your systems are “speaking the same language.” It is much easier to build upon a standard and refine it as needed than to start with nothing and attempt to reconcile competing ideas and perspectives. Every company has its own terminology, goals, internal and external forces. The CIM serves as your base, from which you can adjust to better fit your environment.

At Xtensible, we use the CIM as the basis for developing our MD3i methodology. Using the MD3i toolset, you can customize the standard as you like. The MD3i toolset’s capabilities extend far beyond the CIM, incorporating other standards such as vendor data models, MultiSpeak, ZipBee, OpenADR and others.


Interested in learning more about the MD3i toolset? Speak to a member of the Xtensible team.


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