Water Utility Customer Service, Billing and Information System Maintenance and Support
This municipal water utility provides potable water to more than 5 million customers, pumping nearly 1 billion gallons of water daily. The utility manages over 500,000 water accounts; generating over 900,000 metered and 700,000 non-metered bills annually through its Customer Service, Billing and Information Systems. The utility’s Oracle-based Customer Information System also acts as a billing agent for sewer, refuse, water taxes, sewer taxes, and miscellaneous fees for citizens living within the service territory.
The utility selected SDI to provide systems management, maintenance and development support which includes; data entry, personnel to manage the Accounts Receivable task, oversight of the Database Maintenance, and batch processing for Billing and Collections services. SDI addresses all other requirements related to system interfaces and city ordinance requirements.
At the beginning of the project engagement, SDI achieved the utility’s transition goals by quickly displacing the previous vendor within 30 days with no interruption to services or revenue. System availability remained at 100% and no billing cycles were missed. SDI was also able to increase the number of issues and requests completed per week by 55% and reduce support costs by over $1.2M annually. Since 2010, SDI has helped increase annual revenue from $600M to $1.2B annually by performing the following:
- Streamlining all billing and collection processing activities
- Implementing employee indebtedness module
- Automating manual intensive processes
- Implementing customer self-service options
- Streamlining not for profit, public, and park district accounts
- Implementing On-Line Full Payment Certificate Processing
- Implementing new rate increases including annual Consumer Price Index factors
- Adding new revenue stream in garbage/refuse services in 2016
- Adding new revenue streams in water and sewer taxes in 2017
SDI’s managed service program is delivered according to SLA as well as services in the following categories:
- Application end-user uptime: In the 10 years since SDI has held the contract, there has been no significant application downtime; that is, no downtime affecting client or end-user application availability. This includes online application access, performance response, and formal functional application features, many of which are custom-designed and implemented by the same support team. This also includes non-application specific database, network access, and support software maintenance activities, also on a 24/7 basis.
- Decision support and other engineering consulting services: The client requires the frequent provision of analysis-based reporting to support an increasing variety of data-based management functions, including but not limited to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, IT/financial audits, revenue collections, business process efficiencies, and initiative impacts.
- Strategic IT adaptation and change management: In the past three years there have been three major revenue-enhancing initiatives implemented, all of which required extensive research, consulting, software development and post-implementation support services. These have all been successfully implemented with minimal impact on existing efforts described above. In addition, there is a major database/environment upgrade effort currently underway which will assure the technical and functional concurrency of the application for the next decade.