The New South Wales State Water department has embarked on an overhaul of its IT systems, bringing cohesion to improve services for its 6300 licensed water users.

The transformative program is set to cost around $30 million, but is aimed at improving services through greater technological integration.

NSW State Water’s current set of IT systems were put together in an “organic fashion”, official reports say. This produced a disparate and disconnected IT environment.

The implementation of new systems will help bring all of its functions together in an attractive and easy-to-use format.

State Water will completely overhaul its finance, asset, project delivery and enterprise resource planning systems. They different arms will be brought together under the new moniker ‘StateWaterWise’.

Other changes include the introduction of a new water accounting system, which will probably be based on existing proprietary software.

State Water will acquire a smart metering project called ‘iSmart’; improve its data warehousing and business intelligence capability; and create ‘Carm’, a re-build of the existing ‘Cairo’ river management system. Carm will involve some external funding input, and will create a new computer-aided design framework for the state’s rivers.

The changes are expected to take some time, but State Water has a few priority projects lined up for immediate introduction.

The water body will spend between $900,000 on $1.3 million installing Microsoft’s Biztalk as a new integrated data management platform, and also introduce LifeRay, an open source portal which will form its enterprise web front-end.

Biztalk was selected after a study commissioned by State Water. The review found that as the Sydney Catchment Authority uses BizTalk, and State Water will soon merge with it, it was an appropriate choice.

NSW State Water tender documents say the changes ranges from useful to urgent.

“Some systems are no longer supported and several other applications are running on versions which are very old and whilst still supported are no longer being enhanced or marketed. Ongoing support for these products is problematic, exposing the organisation to an unacceptable level of risk,” the official documents state.

“The impact of this operating environment is manifested in customer dissatisfaction, staff dissatisfaction, inefficiency and unnecessary cost.

“There are significant examples where the same information must be entered in different systems, leading to data entry errors. Manual process workarounds are in place to address system and data limitations. To support this environment, processes have developed which are undocumented, inefficient and complex,” the tenders say.

State Water is expected to assess tenders for its ‘prime integrator’ for the LifeRay and Biztalk products, with the winning announcement to be made toward the end of May.

More information is available here.