Systematic billing management with new system and institution
The outdated billing management program for water and sewer service is upgraded to a web-based, up-to-date application to enhance work efficiency and provide the best service to the citizens.
Overview of the Policy
The “Arisu INFO System” is a web-based system designed to provide online & offline billing services and to enhance service quality. Fully equipped with various features such as real-time PDA metering and data retrieving as well as public disclosure of information, the “Arisu INFO System” effectively improves efficiency and transparency.
<< Redeveloping the web-based “Arisu INFO System” for billing management
<< Adopting web-based infrastructure and application software to facilitate the conversion of billing database and other revenue management
<< Upgrading the PDA meter reading system, PDA replacement
<< Overhauling the cyber customer support center
Seoul’s utility bill management system was first developed in 1998 in the C/S environment. Since the development tool is no longer in use, however, maintenance and compatibility issues arose. On the other hand, the weak security of the database rendered the system‘s capability to protect information highly vulnerable. This gave rise to the need to upgrade the overall IT system of water bill management. In addition, customers increasingly found the system inaccessible and inconvenient since they could not easily voice their complaints. Evidently, an advanced system based on high technology was needed to provide customer-centered, convenient, and tailored service.
Process of Policy Implementation
The project was started in May 2012 and completed in October 2013, with a total of 4.169 billion won spent on system building.
Analyzing existing business practices and identifying needs: May ~ October 2012
• Collect the feedback/needs of users in the Office of Waterworks HQ & branch offices and analyze them (343 cases).
• Design screen tailored to the task and have managers review the screen (20 times).
Developing program and performing user test: November 2012 ~ May 2013
• Develop the program (1,228) and perform unit test.
Converting the billing database and verifying them: May ~ September 2013
• Analyze the current billing database and convert and verify it (5 times).
User integration test: June ~ July 2013
Upgrading the PDA meter reading system and replacing PDAs: June ~ October 2013
Reestablishing the Cyber customer support center: June ~ October 2013
Performing user training: August ~ October 2013
• Group training for billing officials (2 times for each branch office): 1200 people in all
Operating the “Arisu INFO System” in parallel with the previous system (billing, PDA metering, cyber customer support): September ~ October 2013
• Applied to all steps from metering to billing in all branch offices
Official launch of the “Arisu INFO System” (billing, PDA metering, cyber customer support): October 21 ~ present
Details of the Policy
The existing billing system for Seoul’s water supply at the time was becoming obsolete, and the information environment was rapidly changing. Against this backdrop, the billing service and the relevant policies had to adjust to the changing needs of users and to provide mobile and web-based services to citizens. The new system provides an answer to this by enabling advanced billing management.
EFFICIENCY: The newly developed web-based program enhances administration efficiency
The “Arisu INFO System” was created with 1,930 million won re-development cost and 1,091 million won for database conversion and revenue management. The new program is a full-featured, easy-to-use, user-friendly water/sewer billing software package with streamlined payment and metering reading entry, providing an efficient solution for managing, billing, and collecting all water/sewer receivables and making it easy for users to navigate through.
Moreover, various information systems have been integrated into this system, thereby enhancing business efficiency (22 systems). In addition, database conversion -- also known as data migration -- allows a range of analysis and calculation with accuracy and speed. Today, search has been made quicker thanks to successful data migration.
TRANSPARENCY: Real-time PDA meter reading and disclosure of information
Developing a PDA meter reading system and replacing 380 units of PDA devices cost a total of 8.63 million won.
This new application integrates directly with the central billing system and allows handheld PDA devices to upload/transfer its routes, work orders, and meter results automatically. As the PDA meter is read, the information collected will be automatically forwarded to the new system, and customers can check bills when the meter reading or a bill is delivered to their homes.
Lessons in System Deployment
To minimize the risks of implementation of a new system and to increase the probability of project success, we divided the process into several phases: system development → data migration and equipment preparation → system advancement. This broken-down process can deliver software that meets expectations and deal with various and complicated information of 2 million faucets in Seoul.
The system also allows speedy service delivery to end customers, which is important in responding fast to civil complaints and other social issues. Equipped with verified, most updated IT solutions, the new system ensures safety and security. Role-based access control provides various access privileges that suit each role and need of users, enabling all the required functionality and authentication for a security system while reducing the risk of information leak. The added function of personal data encryption further strengthens privacy protection.
Experiences in Policy Implementation
To ensure better analysis and design of the system, the Office of Waterworks HQ and branch offices had more than 50 meetings; we also held 2 meetings for the advisory committee. Along with such occasional discussions, we surveyed users’ responses and preferences to draft system design reflecting users’ feedback on the process and tested the system for each unit. For smooth transition, we operated both old and new systems in line with each other for some time until we completely fixed all the possible issues with the new system.
Furthermore, we provided various forms of training sessions for users to understand the system better and familiarize themselves with the usage.
Policy Outcome & Evaluation
The new system provides an optimized support tool; it is also flexible enough to reflect the changes of rates or relevant policies in the future. It is a web-based program equipped with PDA real-time meter reading and checking system, and the information is provided to the public via website on a real-time basis as well.
Such efforts have contributed to enhancing administration efficiency, transparency, and service quality.