WaterNSW has deployed a three-pronged Microsoft platform consisting of Azure, Dynamics 365 and Office 365 to replace a suite of legacy corporate processes and provide productivity apps.
Microsoft said in a blog post this week that the state’s bulk water supplier and river operator had deployed the platforms to help the organisation “unif[y] operations and deliver data insights”.
The project or “three clouds strategy” forms part of the organisation's consolidated information management system (CIMS) program, which is separate to its planned refresh of its core systems revealed earlier this year.
Presented as a single system to simplify business processes and the management of corporate data, the three Microsoft platforms will be hosted in the company’s central Azure region.
That region, which is hosted out of Canberra Data Centres, is specifically aimed at servicing the mission-critical workloads of government and critical infrastructure providers.
Chief information officer Ian Robinson said the platforms would be used to deliver productivity applications and corporate processes across finance, HR, billing and enterprise asset management.
“Microsoft was a perfect fit given our size did not justify a complex alternative system. It was a modern system that allow us to leapfrog a pure upgrade of system to a whole new cloud-based ERP,” he said.
“It also offered a very significant investment over time towards a comprehensive and ever evolving solution that will grow with our business aspiration.”
After “successfully achieving” go-live in early April, according to a WaterNSW spokesperson, the solution has already begun to transform how customers of the organisation receive bills.
“[Dynamics 365] enables us to be able to send out a billing file and then track the payment all the way through the process and open up a whole new range of payment options,” Robinson said.
“So, it has improved the way our customers can interact with us, but also the visibility of information about where that customer is up to with their payment plans or statement position and overall debt levels, and allows us to manage that with a more interactive approach that we can then record in the system and maintain.”
The solution, which was developed by Microsoft partners Business Aspect and DXC Technology, has also led to improvements in the way WaterNSW staff operate by providing “in-the-field support and productivity tools”.
“We use Dynamics 365 to drive the work for the field worker, we have telemetry systems that capture data and then we use Azure analytics tools to calculate what is the likely health of that dam and then project forward the potential scenarios and risk that we’ve got on that dam,” Robinson said.
“And that, I think, is the first time that has been done in Australia.”
“WaterNSW has deployed winning solutions to drive efficiency across the network – but also ensure workers are properly informed and kept safe,” Microsoft Australia’s national technology officer Lee Hickin said.
“At the same time it has established the foundations for continued innovation to preserve and protect one of the nation’s most important natural assets.”
Earlier this year, WaterNSW revealed plans for a major refresh of its core system earlier this year to help it improve customer services and reduce regulatory risks around water management.
The integrated business systems program is intended to replace and rationalise the legacy systems sprawl that followed a series of merges during 2015 and 2016.
It highlighted water market systems, customer relationship management, operational technology and analytics as ripe for
The WaterNSW spokesperson told iTnews that the program was still in market and that “no decisions have been made on the technology stack for that program”.