IBM | Veolia Water Operations for Waternamics


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A versatile and innovative product, Water Operations for Waternamics uses real time data and analytics to provide operators and administrator with an in-depth view of their network. Users can use the filter panel to toggle on and off various layers and view this information in map or list views. In each filter, they can select a data point and drilldown for further details or select the street view option for an on-the-ground perspective.

I've been working closing with members of the development and offering management teams to create a user-centric workflow in which we strive to identify users needs, discern the requirements based on the these needs, and delight our users with outcomes that go above and beyond to make their experience pleasant, engaging, and efficient.

Case Study: Multi-Tenancy in the New Release


A quick summary of the Multi-Tenancy project for the Waternamics product.

When I came on to the project, the development team had already begun to map out some of the requirements they would need to meet in their next release. One of the most important requirements was a multi-tenancy functionality that allowed users to seamlessly switch between contracts as needed to view only the information they needed at a given time. This was a complicated ask that required a lot of forethought into the architecture and implementation. The team faced an added challenge in that Water Operations would work on top on the Intelligent Operations Center platform and thus the two development teams would need to cooperate to find a solution that would meet the needs of Waternamics users and IOC users.


To improve users' workflow by enhancing flexibility and providing a assessment of contract hierarchy for added clarity and efficiency through the addition of a multi-tenancy framework to the pre-existing waternamics product. 


Amanda Cavanaugh - UX and Visual Design

Liam Cantwell - WOW Development Lead

Caihua Liu - DME Development Lead

My Role

I led the team through design thinking exercises and created personas with input from the team members and as well creating a product persona library which I maintain. I authored the user needs, taking in input from the team and led them in writing three hills (or user oriented goals) around multi-tenancy. I created wireframes and paper prototypes as well as hi-fi mockups which I then used to show a user flow to assist the developers with implementation.

Brainstorming and Ideation

As the only designer on the project I was working closely with the development team to help gain perspective on the functional requirements through the lens of the user. I encourage them to think in terms of user-centric outcomes rather than focusing on features. Through a series of formal interviews, casual conversations, notes, outlines, and email correspondence we nailed down some of the key ideas.


When working on a new release, it is really important for us to re-align around the different people who will use our product day to day and how we can make their experience better. I began by prompting the team to examine the roles of our users and facilitated the development of personas to delve into the tasks, motivations, and frustrations of our users. 



I asked the developers to work with me to determine the key roles for the product based on their knowledge of the current release, discussions with Offering Management, and Sprint planning.

Persona Library

We created a persona library as a central repository for all the personas throughout the product that we can revisit and update as we progress.

We use to store our persona library. Everyone on the team is able to contribute and we can work concurrently in collaborative sessions from remote locations.

We use to store our persona library. Everyone on the team is able to contribute and we can work concurrently in collaborative sessions from remote locations.

Empathy Map

I held a workshop with team members from development, test, and offering management to begin working on building our persona library and to get into the mindset of our users. I created empathy maps, with the user in the middle (for instance, Claire, the Solution Administrator) and then created four fields around Claire, Thinks, Feels, Says, and Does. I had each team member contribute to the map with post-its.  This helped us all to empathize further with each user. We then mapped out their current and desired experiences in scenario maps to focus in on their pain points.

Empathy Map for Claire the Solution Administrator

Empathy Map for Claire the Solution Administrator


User Needs

With the feedback from the development team I created more comprehensive personas that corresponded to the current roles in the product. I based their background informations, frustrations, and needs on the information provided by development and offer management teams, and their interactions with sponsor users. We zeroed on the user pain points from our brainstorming, the areas where they encounter frustration or confusion in their current experience, and collaborated with the development team to distill these into simple user needs statements that we could then address in functional requirements.


Scenario Mapping

In I created a scenario map for us to collaboratively craft the To-Be experience that we want for our users. Below is an example the the To-be for Claire, the solution administrator.

Claire the Solution Administrator's To-Be Scenario

Claire the Solution Administrator's To-Be Scenario

Defining User-Centred Goals for the Multi-Tenancy Sprint

In keeping with IBM Design thinking I used our findings from the persona creation, empathy maps, and scenario maps to create "hills" or user goals that outlined the user and their pain points related to multi-tenancy, a project goal for which we wanted to define our user outcomes. I used the "Who, What, Wow" design thinking format to summarize in each hill who is the user, what they do or how they use the product, and the wow factor or market differentiator that will entice them to choose our product over others.

I created user personas based on information we gathered from interviews with offering management and the information they've gathered from sponsor users. I also spoke with the development team who interface regularly with clients on the existing products to get a sense of the user roles and the pain points they experience currently.

Presenting to the Solution Architect and Functional Requirements

We used these hills as the basis for presenting our plan for the Multi-Tenancy sprint to the Solution Architect for both Waternamics and IOC. He was the delighted that we were able to succinctly provide a high level view, while also specifically addressing who would use the product, and the user outcomes needed. We provided additional slides that demonstrated a high level view of the access structure and specified requirements from the development standpoint in the voice of each user.

An example of one of the diagrams we used to explain the various levels of access in our plan to the architect and how they related to our users.

An example of one of the diagrams we used to explain the various levels of access in our plan to the architect and how they related to our users.


Iterative Prototyping and Wireframes

I used various methods and applications to create wireframes and prototypes that the developers could use as a guide for implementing new components of the product's user interface. I also worked with the developers to include hints that explain the intent behind some of the designs and how it relates to the architecture of the product, so that we could share these designs to swiftly articulate the intended design and architecture for a given product facet.

Below are examples of some of the mock ups I completed to demonstrate the visual and UX design for new requirements relating to multi-tenancy in Water Operations.

Click on the images for a closer look.