WA Water charges online

Five years to Web services.

The Western Australian Water Corporation has replaced its legacy billing system under a five year modernisation overhaul to migrate to Web services.

The Water Corp delivers water, waste-water and drainage services to 850,000 WA properties and more than 2 million customers.

Customer systems manager Alan Davis said the previous system wasted customer and staff time on manual application processes.

"The [newly updated Building Planning Approval] system removes the need for manual processing, in this instance, the need for the customer to come to the counter for us to process printed plans which we had to photocopy, transfer electronically and then capture and retain within our systems," Davis said.

"We're looking at [automating] manual processes resulting in efficiency savings, full time equivalent savings, [so] those very tight resources can be reassigned to other business areas.

"Our customers have received the benefit because they no longer need to send staff with printed plans to our front counter. Plans can now be submitted electronically -- they are approved within the same day and as a result the turnaround time for commencement of building is a lot faster, and tight resources within their industry can be reassigned as well."

The previous custom-built system was programmed in COBOL and SQL in the late 90s and was used by the WA Water Corp, SA Water and the Gold Coast City Council.

The groups met twice a year to discuss IT modernisation and share project ideas with consultants from Hewlett Packard.

Pressure increased on the agency to migrate its billing system online after its biggest clients from the building sector were forced to print out application forms, already stored electronically, and deliver them to the head office.

Web services technologies were introduced based on SOAP over an eight month deployment.

Davis plans to extend the Web services platform to service other customers including conveyancers, and property managers under a five year customer self-service plan.

The agency has used Hewlett Packard support and maintenance services for about 10 years.

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