ATLANTA, Oct. 31, 2014 – The City of Baltimore Department of Public Works has signed an $8.4 million (USD) contract with Itineris North America to replace the City’s legacy customer information system (CIS) with Itineris’ UMAX® CIS solution and then provide 10 years of support.
The contract comes after a formal bidding process that resulted in Itineris being selected as vendor-of-choice by the City’s project committee. The City announced the new partnership in a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 29, following contract approval by the Baltimore Board of Estimates.
Modernizing a Utility Through Technology
The City’s CIS replacement is part of a larger initiative, known as the “BaltiMeter Project,” focused on modernizing utility operations through technology and providing “efficient, reliable and accurate” meter reads and billing to the Department of Public Works’ 410,000 water and wastewater customers. As its name implies, the initiative also includes a rollout of smart meters, set to conclude in conjunction with the CIS Go-Live in 2016.
As the nerve center for this new utility technology environment, UMAX will support the Department’s mission throughout the meter-to-cash business cycle by providing advanced data validation for meter reads as well as a more robust, data-rich profile of the customer that will enable the Department’s customer service representatives and field service crews to better serve the community. UMAX will also enable the Department to give citizens greater access to their usage and billing data and more control over their billing and payment options.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake highlighted benefits to residents anticipated during her Oct. 29 press conference, “Today, we took an important step to upgrade technology that has been in place since the 1970s. The new system will be the brains behind BaltiMeter, enabling customers to read their water bills online and have convenient access to more information about their water usage—translating to greater confidence in the metering and billing systems.”
UMAX as Part of a Microsoft Technology Environment
As a Microsoft-certified partner solution, UMAX is fully integrated with Microsoft’s Dynamics AX ERP platform. This tight Microsoft integration was a significant priority for the City in its RFP process and a key factor in Itineris successful bid for the City’s business.
As a result, the City will benefit from streamlined connections across its technology environment to systems that support key operational areas like finance, asset management and human resources. Additional benefits to City operations will include faster, more reliable data movement throughout City departments, greater flexibility in adapting processes to future business and customer care needs, new reporting and business intelligence capabilities, and an enhanced user experience for City employees that includes utilization of Microsoft Office tools.
“Microsoft is proud that the City of Baltimore has embraced the Dynamics AX ERP platform on its journey to becoming a Smart City and transforming its utility operations through initiatives like the BaltiMeter program,” noted Microsoft General Manager, US Public Sector Amir Capriles, “Our partner Itineris, with its UMAX CIS solution, is playing a key role in building out a technology environment that will empower the City to better serve its citizens through improved operations, better data management and stronger business intelligence.”
The Journey Ahead
In the coming months, Itineris will begin working with the City’s project team to identify and map operational processes, implement and configure UMAX to address those needs, interface UMAX to the City’s other information systems, and import historical data.
Following system go-live, Itineris will continue its long-term relationship with the City of Baltimore, providing UMAX support and maintenance for a contracted 10 years.
“In a day when the relationship between utilities and their customers is evolving rapidly, we are excited to be part of the future for the City and citizens of Baltimore,” noted Itineris President, North America, John Beddingfield, “Itineris is thrilled to help the City, through our UMAX solution, increase operational efficiencies, deliver higher-quality customer care to its citizens, and empower those citizens to make informed decisions about water through better data.”