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September 14, 2011

SEI Updates 'Smart Grid Maturity Model' and Seeks New Partners



Is the smart grid still a gleam in the eye of most utilities worldwide or has it reached its formative years? On September 12, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University released an update of its Smart Grid Maturity Model (SGMM) at the GridWeek 2011 meeting in Washington, D.C. –and announced that more participants are welcome to apply.

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Established by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1984, the Software Engineering Institute serves as a federally funded research and development center, operated and based at Carnegie Mellon University –which is widely recognized for its programs in computer science and engineering. The SEI operates at the leading edge of innovation; and has served as a national resource in software engineering, computer security, and process improvement.

The Smart Grid Maturity Model , first developed in 2007, is a management tool that helps help utilities to plan their smart grid transformation, prioritize their options, and measure their progress as they move toward the realization of a modernized electric power grid. The update announces Version 1.2 enhancements to the entire product suite, and provides updates on the worldwide community of SGMM users and partners.

As part of the program, a utility’s smart grid evolution or maturity is quantified in five levels – from status quo (level 0), through integrating smart grid deployments throughout an organization (level 3),  all the way through breaking new ground with industry leading innovation (level five). Specifically, the program enables utilities to:

  • Identify where they are on the smart grid landscape,
  • Develop a shared smart grid vision and roadmap,
  • Communicate using a common language,
  • Prioritize options and support decision-making,
  • Measure their progress, and
  • Prepare for and facilitate change.

“Our focus this year has been to improve the worldwide availability of SGMM navigation, and we have accomplished that by enlisting seven partner organizations and training more than 30 SGMM navigators,” said Smart Grid Program Executive Austin Montgomery. SGMM navigators are industry experts who have been trained and certified to guide utilities through the SGMM navigation process, a five-step structured approach to applying the SGMM.

“Our SGMM partners are industry leaders who work directly with utilities to help them use the model as part of their roadmap and strategy development,” explained Montgomery.

The update document, now in its third volume, offers details on the seven partner organizations, as well as news and information on the use of SGMM and revised community statistics for 2011. “The SGMM community data demonstrates that the model is being used by a diverse set of utilities around the world, and repeat use data shows that utilities using the model are making progress with their smart grid implementations,” said Smart Grid Maturity Model Team Lead David White (News - Alert). “The release of version 1.2 will leverage lessons learned from users to date and from partners to make the model easier to interpret and use.”

The release of SGMM Version 1.2 also marks the end of the pilot license period. The licensing opportunity is now open to any organization that wishes to apply. This change will further support the global availability of SGMM technology. “Over the last two years we've seen the SGMM applied to [utilities of all types and sizes, and in all] geographical settings,” said Montgomery. “With this release we wanted to create the opportunity for more organizations to become licensed SGMM partners. As more and more utilities participate and the SGMM experience base continues to grow, the more the model can be used to help inform the industry's smart grid transformation.”

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Cheryl Kaften is an accomplished communicator who has written for consumer and corporate audiences. She has worked extensively for MasterCard (News - Alert) Worldwide, Philip Morris USA (Altria), and KPMG, and has consulted for Estee Lauder and the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspapers. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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