Implementing a new Customer Information System
Newport News Waterworks client spotlight
After implementing a new Customer Information System (CIS) built on SAP® technology, Newport News Waterworks is effectively transforming its municipal utility service into a leading customer-driven operation.
“Working with Deloitte has enabled us to bring in a major application that works well for our business. Not only can we offer customers the options they demand, but we can better support our customer service organization.”
— Charlene Sevier, IT manager, Newport News Waterworks
Soaks up customer service opportunities
As the IT Manager of Newport News Waterworks, a municipal water provider in Virginia,
Charlene Sevier manages an IT division of twenty-two employees. Together, they handle
everything from networking and help desk issues to records management and process
controls within the organization. And for years, they have been challenged by a legacy
system that was ill-equipped to meet growing customer service requirements.
The time had come for the organization to invest in a new CIS built on SAP technology,
but implementing such a transformative system would be no easy task. Payment options
and postal regulations – among other industry changes – made the CIS a very complex
system to deploy. So, Newport News Waterworks turned to an experienced and
trusted integrator, Deloitte, to get the project off the ground.
Impacts from transformation:
- Enhanced customer service
- Improved asset management and workflows
- Better people management
“Deloitte and Waterworks work in a joint partnership when it comes to the various projects and initiatives that are underway. Regardless of whether it’s a technical support pack upgrade or a rate structure change, Deloitte helps us craft a project plan so that everyone knows what their role is and when they’re expected to participate.”
– Charlene Sevier, IT manager at Newport News Waterworks
Taking the plunge
It was a phased approach to project management and broad support capabilities that initially attracted the utility company to engage Deloitte. Both of which would play critical roles in bringing the project to fruition. When first planning the CIS implementation, Sevier asked, “How are we going to support the system without a major data center?” Deloitte answered by providing the hardware and personnel to run the software until Newport News Waterworks was able to make the hosting transition.
Another component to consider during the planning phase was how to handle the sheer complexity of the CIS. Like many others in the industry, Newport News Waterworks’ CIS had a number of interfaces to other systems. Deloitte’s ability and willingness to serve as the prime contractor to those other vendors enabled a seamless transition.
In the three to four years since deployment, Sevier says, “Now, we can offer our customers some of the options that they’ve been asking for, such as direct debit, e-billing, and budget billing. And, we are able to offer better tools, better views of the system to our customer service organization. Plus, we integrated our Geographic Information System (GIS) into our CIS so that customer service representatives or other users can map the area where a customer is calling from and better support their needs.”
For utility companies, serving customers is their business. Earning customer satisfaction requires exceeding service level expectations, accommodating newly emerging customer needs, and satisfying complex billing requirements – all capabilities inherent in a properly implemented CIS. By transforming its CIS under Deloitte’s guidance, Newport News Waterworks is well positioned to realize efficiency gains and become a “best-in-class” service delivery organization.