Top 2020 Utility Trend: COVID-19 Made Workforce Management More Difficult

The following is an excerpt from our Expert Insights: The Top Utility Trends of 2020 & 2021 ebook. You can access the full report here.

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Efficient workforce management is key when you want to conduct just-in-time maintenance. It was already a complicated process, and COVID didn’t help the situation in 2020.


The coronavirus pandemic made it a bad idea for groups of people to be in one workspace, decreasing the efficiency of data analyst teams. The lack of a way to prioritize data by importance slowed down the analysts even more. “A photo of a pole that’s in good condition, while great from an audit standpoint, doesn't have the same value to an operator as a picture of a pole that’s in a bad condition,” says Kristen Ellerbe, VP Product Management & Design at PrecisionHawk.

And when data analyst teams can’t do their best job, this delays everything down the line, —including sending out repair crews to fix problems. At the same time, sending out crews for issues that aren’t a priority increases the risk of exposing the workers to COVID.



In 2020, automated data analysis helped utilities “rack and stack” data so analysts could review images in order of importance. The least important data would remain at the bottom of the virtual pile, to be reviewed only by a machine, while the human analysts focused only on relevant images.

With this advancement, data analysts were able to do their jobs faster, and utilities were able to quickly triage work orders and send repair crews to maintain and repair equipment with the most critical issues first. In other words, utilities could now manage their workforce in a safe, efficient way.

Download our ebook, Expert Insights: The Top Utility Trends of 2020 & 2021, to learn how you can take advantage of 2020 trends and 2021 predictions in data collection and GIS technology.

Download the Ebook