Altoona Water Authority
The AWA had been using a program written "in house" for about six years. It functioned well and met their needs in particular as it related to having the ability to modify the software as staff needed. If there was functionality that the users of the system requested, these requests could be easily accommodated. However, AWA began to experience compatibility issues with the newer operating systems (OS), and there was a legitimate concern regarding how long the software would continue to run properly.
The AWA was an existing and long-standing customer of Link Computer Corporation (LCC)—the power behind Muni-Link. LCC founder, Tim Link and Sr. Business Analyst, Derek McLaurin approached Mark Perry & Ron Becher with the idea of being a design partner for a web-based utility billing software. "I did some research, and I couldn’t find any existing "hosted" software already out there. I even looked at some of the larger companies and...nothing. So I thought we had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something that would become an industry standard and it has! I was very glad to be part of the process."
Utilities Commission City of New Smyrna Beach
While the Utilities Commission, City of New Smyrna Beach had a website that they used to reach their customers, it was antiquated, built in-house, and was not supported. Additionally, there was no redundancy. So if the on-site servers that hosted the website went down, the website would be inaccessible. It was not user friendly from either the front or back end, and they felt that the layout was horrible. Ellen Fisher, Communications Coordinator, stated "It doesn’t meet our needs, and I disliked everything about it. It provides us with a presence on the internet to place information, but that’s it." It did NOT help them to communicate with their customers.
Windsor Borough had been using a 20 year old basic system that provided very little functionality. The meter readings were taken by hand and then entered by hand into each individual account. The system would calculate the bill amounts and then run the bills, but that was it. Donna said, "In this day and age, you really would consider this program to be a dinosaur! There should be no reason that I’m doing everything manually here." There were no reports offered, there was no ability to view prior bills or usage on the individual accounts and all reporting had to be created manually on spread sheets. This allowed for many instances where there could be human error and checking for errors was very time consuming. In fact 60 to 70% of the work week was spent just on the billing process. "Because we are small, we were stuck with this old system and that made my job horrible. We just couldn’t afford any of the solutions out there."
Lower Swatara Township Authority
Lower Swatara Township Authority had been using an old software program to do their billing for 20+ years. It was very basic, and didn’t allow Lower Swatara to be efficient in their billing processes. They could enter the amount due, and log the payment and that was about it. To retrieve account information, many different areas in the system needed to be accessed and every inquiry was extremely time consuming.
It was apparent that she needed state-of-the-art software.