A new billing system is making a splash in the Australian water sector

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Aptumo, the cloud-based water customer billing solution powered by Echo Managed Services in the UK, is making positive in-roads into the Australian water sector.

Coliban Water has successfully transitioned its billing and customer support software to Aptumo to benefit its customers, and North East Water has also chosen Aptumo to support its team to deliver an enhanced experience for its 55,000 customers across 39 towns in the area.

In response, Aptumo has established an Australian company based in Melbourne to attend to the existing requirements of Coliban Water and North East Water and to service the needs of future Australian water utility clients.

Aptumo Pty Ltd has appointed two significant personnel to its new Australian operations - Tony Kelly AM as a new non-executive director and Richard Harris as general manager.

Tony-Kelly

Tony Kelly is a former long-term managing director at Yarra Valley Water and current non-executive director of TasWater. Tony has more than 30 years’ experience in the water industry, with a deep understanding of the operations and requirements of the Australian water sector.

Richard-Harris

Richard Harris has 30 years’ experience working in a variety of software and technology related roles and most recently was the chief information and technology officer at Hunter Water in New South Wales. Richard has extensive experience in overseeing significant technology improvements and implementations in the water sector.

Tony Kelly said “Our team on the ground in Australia allows us to provide the necessary local context to create successful billing solutions for the Australian water sector. This is complimented by the global expertise of the 120-strong team from Echo Managed Services.

“Richard and I are water people - we understand the meter to cash process."

"The creation of a local Aptumo office cements our commitment to assist Australian water utilities and their customers for the long haul."

“We are aware that a new billing system is often a daunting prospect for many local water utilities, but we want to give them support and confidence, when they feel that the timing is right, to examine what’s available in the billing solutions market.”

Aptumo, whose pioneering billing software is built on the Salesforce platform, is building the foundations for further expansion in the Australian market, to help more water companies transform their customer and stakeholder experiences and lower their billing costs.

The company behind Aptumo, Echo Managed Services, is part of a much larger company that owns two British water utilities. Echo see themselves as part of the water industry and Aptumo is a billing system built by the water industry for the water industry. Echo currently provides billing services to about one third of the British water utilities.

Richard Harris said “Aptumo is a very exciting product, built by water market experts specifically for the water sector and its customers. Being built on the Salesforce platform it offers rich out-of-the-box functionality and helps water companies improve productivity and offers their customers much more choice and better service. Aptumo provides enhanced data security, decreased manual work for staff to integrate with other in-house systems, reduced time to resolve enquiries, increased data quality through data validation at time of input, reduced costs of mail and printing, and fully customisable dashboard reporting.

“Aptumo also allows in-house design of bill formats and customer messaging on water bills.

“Coliban Water’s successful implementation of Aptumo and the subsequent roll-out to North East Water means we now have an Australian version of Aptumo that provides other water utilities in Victoria and across Australia with significant start-up benefits and lower risks.

“Coliban Water has already agreed to share its ‘Use Cases’, business processes, testing regimes and functionality with other Victorian water utilities to reduce their risk and accelerate their implementation.

“Being cloud based, Aptumo is seamlessly upgraded regularly with minimal disruption to the organisation, which future-proofs the system by ensuring utilities have access to all the latest features - it basically eliminates obsolescence. No longer will you have a billing system that falls several versions behind.”

Richard Harris concluded, “The bottom line is, compared to other Tier 1 systems, Aptumo is cheaper to own and operate, can be tailored by in-house staff to meet operational needs and comes fully integrated with the Salesforce platform, the world leader in CRM.”

Damian-Wells

Damian Wells, Managing Director at Coliban Water said “We were really excited to be the first adopter of this innovative product in Australia and globally. Aptumo has put us on a path that will enable us to provide an improved customer service experience.

"The team at Echo were great to work with, particularly as we navigated the 'go-live' of Aptumo.

"Now that we are well and truly up and running with Aptumo, we have more work to do, with further improvements being implemented to realise further benefits for our customers and our business".

Rebecca Jhonston, executive planning & infrastructure at North East Water, said, “Aptumo will help us to meet our objective to improve the service we offer to our customers, as well as supporting us to modernise and personalise our systems to better cater for the changing requirements of the people we serve. Aptumo will also help us to provide our team with modern and effective tools, so they can focus on serving our customers. We’re dedicated to making the lives of our customers easier and this will transform the billing process for us, allowing us to improve our customers’ experience.”

Richard Harris, general manager at Aptumo Australia, concluded, “We’re delighted to be currently working with two Victorian-based water companies, and we are looking forward to helping both Coliban Water and North East Water make life easier for their customers now and as their billing needs change over time.

“Salesforce currently has over 2500 apps in their App Exchange and they invest billions of dollars every year in acquisitions and new functionality that guarantees the platform will keep up with customer expectations.

“We are passionate about helping Australian water utilities capitalise on this potential.

“We’re also committed to helping our clients advance their digital strategies, giving them more autonomy over their internal systems, reducing risk and improving the productivity of their billing processes.”

Tony Kelly and Coliban Water MD Damian Wells are scheduled to be joint speakers at the VicWater Annual Conference in February 2022.

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