Smooth transitions

When Meridian Energy bought On energy's South Island customers in the middle of last year, it had to incorporate more than 100,000 new names into its billing system.

When Meridian Energy bought On energy’s South Island customers in the middle of last year, it had to incorporate more than 100,000 new names into its billing system.

That migration process has landed Meridian a finalist berth in the “Most successful project implementation” category of the Computerworld Excellence Awards.

The project called for transferring the On customers from an SAP system to Gentrack; needless to say, Meridian was anxious that customer service continue during the transition, so that remained in On’s hands until the project was completed. That took less six months, cost 5% less than was budgeted and has been hailed a success by those involved.

Telecom is another project implementation finalist, also for a billing system. Bill Online was undertaken with esolutions, the Telecom-EDS-Microsoft alliance, and extends online payment functionality to Telecom residential and home business customers.

The project set out to present customers with an interactive online bill and, since its completion, more than 10,000 Telecom subscribers have adopted the service. The company’s head of customer e-business, Alastair MacKay, says the cost saving of eliminating paper-based billing is one of the project’s benefits.

Another is to provide opportunities for selling customers additional services.

The project took a team of about 30 about 10 months to complete, MacKay says, and forms the basis of a billing product which esolutions can sell. The system uses Avolent billing software.

“While it is too early to tell if the service will deliver all the benefits in our business case, progress to date has been satisfactory,” MacKay says.

The third successful project finalist is the TAB, for its Jetbet II migration. This $8 million, 15-month effort involved porting 750,000 lines of legacy code running on Concurrent hardware to Windows NT, believed to be the first time an entire betting application has been run on NT.

The project, which was put in the hands of two managers — one to handle systems design and programming and the other rollout — involved 600 retail outlets, 300,000 Phonebet accounts and services to 137 racing clubs.

The TAB says the implementation went so smoothly that “there has been no media interest, in contrast to some projects in other businesses”.

Project implementation of the year is sponsored by Oracle.

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Tags computerworld excellence awards

More about AvolentBillEDS AustraliaGentrackIslandMeridianMicrosoftOracleSAP Australia

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