Pinellas County Utilities (PCU) provides drinking water to more than 120,000 customers on the west coast of central Florida. According to Georges Gonzalez, director of customer services for PCU, the utility had been running on the same customer information system (CIS) since 2008. By 2019, that SAP-based solution was in need of a major update.
After analyzing the existing system and options to move towards a more cloud-based solution, PCU chose to partner with VertexOne on the journey to modernize the CIS. After some analysis, including examining the success DC Water achieved by implementing a VertexOne solution, Gonzalez identified VertexOne CIS Enterprise™ as PCU’s solution of choice. VertexOne CIS Enterprise™ is powered by SAP S4/HANA version 1909 and leverages its fully integrated Customer Management component and the Fiori theme as user interface.
Together, PCU and VertexOne devised a seven-month implementation plan based on FastStart, VertexOne’s rapid implementation methodology. This approach allowed PCU to start reaping the benefits from its new CIS solution after only seven months from the start of the project. The VertexOne CIS Enterprise™ solution successfully went live on April 13, 2020.
“Working with the VertexOne team, we identified a total of 183 processes we could improve using VertexOne CIS Enterprise™ and S4/HANA,” said Gonzalez. “Many of those, including inefficient manual collections process, we were able to completely automate.'
Among the advanced benefits PCU is realizing from their new CIS are:
- Enhanced Customer Management processes
- Enhanced Billing and Reporting
- Full automation of several 100% manual collections processes
- Faster reporting output
- Team ownership of their processes and the system
- Team collaboration prior, during and after implementation
What is more significant than taking a full-featured utility CIS replacement online in only seven months? Less than one month prior to the scheduled go-live date, the COVID-19 pandemic put practically the entire United States on lockdown—meaning both PCU and VertexOne staffs had to work from home. Instead of rescheduling the deployment to a later date, VertexOne leveraged its unique remote delivery model, making the VertexOne CIS Enterprise™ deployment for PCU the first 100 percent remote go-live of an entire CIS solution.
“Less than a month before go live, the country was put on lockdown. Instead of throwing their hands up in the air, this team found a way forward – a completely remote go live of an entire customer information system solution,” said Mattias Lindgren, senior vice president of product delivery for VertexOne.
“The way I look at it, any competent company can come in and do a good implementation, but what do you do when something happens unexpectedly or when processes have to change quickly?” said Gonzalez. “That’s when it’s critical to have a relationship with a technology partner that can adapt and help utilities like Pinellas County adapt quickly. That’s just another benefit from having selected VertexOne.”