Yarra Valley Water Shortens Billing-Application Response from Nine Seconds to a Subsecond
 
 

Yarra Valley Water Shortens Billing-Application Response from Nine Seconds to a Subsecond

  • Oracle Customer:  Yarra Valley Water
    Location:  Melbourne, Australia
    Industry:  Utilities
    Employees:  620
    Annual Revenue:  $500 Million to $1 Billion

Yarra Valley Water (YVW) is the largest of three water corporations in Melbourne, Australia. It provides water supplies and sewerage services to more than 1.7 million people and 50,000 businesses in the northern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne. The organization owns and maintains more than 9,000 kilometers of water mains and nearly 9,000 kilometers of sewer mains, spanning approximately 4,000 square kilometers.

YVW needed to upgrade its IT infrastructure to better support its Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing system and its plans for creating customer-facing Web portals. In mid-2012, the organization developed a private cloud infrastructure, based on Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, and Oracle Enterprise Manager. The infrastructure includes a pair of Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic engineered systems at YVW’s production and disaster recovery centers.

By taking advantage of Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic’s high performance and stability, YVW ensured its Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing applications can reach their full potential. It reduced application response times from up to 9 seconds to a subsecond, lowered average customer call times by 30 seconds, and cut the overnight batch processing time by 71%. It has also reduced the time required for development, testing, and production tasks by 30%.

 
Aging Infrastructure Compromises Performance

YVW provides customers with a variety of services, including managing water supplies, processing meter readings, and repairing leaks and blockages in main water and sewage pipes. The organization also works with the construction, plumbing, engineering, and conveyancing industries on commercial infrastructure and land development projects.

Each year, YVW processes 10,000 development applications and 100,000 property information requests; manages the installation of 14,000 new water meters; helps develop around 23,000 properties; and provides 34,000 other plumbing services.

The organization previously managed customer account details, application, approval, and development data, and all its billing information in 27 separate applications that ran on 17 older T-series and M-series servers, and two Hitachi Data Systems storage area network units. YVW had maintained this infrastructure for more than 15 years, and the servers and storage units had reached end of life.

“The infrastructure was experiencing a number of performance issues and had become inefficient and costly to maintain,” said Ramesh Subramaniam, IT strategy and architecture manager, Yarra Valley Water.

 
The Need for an Upgrade

 
New Infrastructure Ensures Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing Reaches Full Potential

 
Significantly Reduces Batch Processing Window, Cuts Average Call-Center Times

 
Development, Test, and Production Tasks Reduced by 30%

 
New Infrastructure Saves on Costs

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from Yarra Valley Water

  • “We considered a number of other products and vendors, including Wintel and IBM, but realized that Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic were most cost-effective. By taking advantage of the engineered systems’ stability and high performance, we have reduced application response from up to nine seconds to a subsecond, cut overnight billing run time by 71%, and improved staff productivity and customer satisfaction.” – Ramesh Subramaniam, IT Strategy and Architecture Manager, Yarra Valley Water

  • Replace 17 end-of-life servers with a standardized, scalable architecture to better support Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing and developing planned customer-facing Web portals
  • Complete more business processes using less hardware to reduce TCO, while ensuring service-level agreements can still be met
  • Ensure the Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing application can reach its full potential to improve transaction response times and cut the time to complete overnight water billing runs
  • Reduce time needed to complete batch processing tasks and average call times for utilities customers
  • Shorten overnight, regular, and complete data warehouse reindexing times
  • Move from a managed-services structure to in-house system administration and maintenance to save costs
  • Complete the infrastructure upgrade quickly and easily at minimum cost
  • Cut the amount of manual patching and system maintenance required and the time to deploy new applications and upgrades

Solutions

  • Completed overnight water billing runs 71% faster, by enabling Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing to reach its full potential
  • Reduced Utilities Customer Care and Billing response from up to nine seconds to a sub-second, by supporting it on a high-performing, stable infrastructure
  • Lowered the total batch window for batch processing, including generating customer profiling information, which previously took between 21 hours and 24 hours and now takes six hours
  • Cut the time to complete regular and overnight data warehouse reindexing from six to eight hours to two hours
  • Completed data warehouse re-indexing or rebuilding in 3.5 hours, compared to 24 hours, previously
  • Shortened average call times for utilities customers by 30 seconds—from 390 seconds to 360 seconds—by reducing the total batch window and transaction response times
  • Cut infrastructure costs and data center space required by moving from 12 pieces of storage and server hardware to 2
  • Reduced hours required for development, testing, and production by 30%, by reducing provisioning times and the effort required for performance tuning
  • Significantly lowered TCO over five years by moving from a costly managed-service contract to a simpler, more cost-effective in-house management structure
  • Met service level agreements by ensuring seamless, online performance for more than 80 concurrent call center staff, even while the batch processing tasks are running
  • Cut the time to deploy new production and disaster recovery environments from three months to two weeks
  • Reduced skills sets required by staff to monitor and manage hardware infrastructure from 8 to 12, to just 4
  • Shortened testing new environments from six to eight weeks to only two weeks
  • Ensured maintenance work is up-to-date by applying patches and system enhancements as required, rather than waiting for major outage windows, such as the weekend
  • Saved additional labor costs and improved staff working conditions by removing need for overnight operational management staff
  • Increased the business value of mission-critical applications, such as the Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing, by focusing time and resources on enhancements, rather than on supporting infrastructure

Why Oracle

YVW considered a number of other product combinations from other vendors, including Wintel X series and IBM Xiv storage, but realized that combining Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic would be the most cost-effective.

YVW also chose Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic, as they were robust, stable, and would help the organization complete more business processes using less hardware.

Implementation Process

YVW began implementing Oracle Exadata Database Machine Quarter Rack and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Quarter Rack at its production and disaster recovery centers in January 2012.

“We reduced the test time from six to eight weeks, to only two weeks,” said Subramaniam. “We pushed the machines to 300% of their maximum load with no problems, and as performance is quicker on Oracle Exadata, we didn’t really need to tune the stress volume performance.”

YWV worked with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services on the delivery and configuration of the Exadata and Exalogic platforms.

“Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services’ resources and the delivery were well structured and met all our expectations,” said Subramaniam. “The methodical yet flexible manner in which the team worked aligned well with our preferred way of working.”

YVW went live with the upgraded Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing application in its development environment in March 2012. The application went fully live in the production environment in June 2012.