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3. Decide how the data will be used

Who will be using the data and how?

The purpose of the monitoring system is to provide the information that is needed. Therefore, it is necessary to identify who will be using the data and how will they be using it. For most infrastructure projects there are multiple users that generally need the information in different formats and for different purposes. An example of this is the detailed data that is typically needed by technical staff for on-going evaluation verses the real time summary of alarm conditions or parameters of interest that are needed by operations staff for daily operation of the facility.

If the users are not identified during the system planning stages then the resulting monitoring system may not provide the information needed.

For example, too much detailed data for some users causes confusion, but if the correct type and frequency of data is not obtained for other users then they can not accomplish the evaluations that are needed. Based on our experience this issue is of tremendous importance and we have helped many of our clients in facilitating meetings and discussions to identify the user needs during the system planning stages. 

Sometimes it is simply a matter of knowing the right questions to ask and we have been down this road so many times that we have developed a pretty good list.