The Aptumo water billing solution may be a relatively new player in the Australian market, but it has a pedigree that some of the more familiar names on the scene would envy.
“Aptumo is a fresh face on the Australian water scene but it is definitely not new to the water industry” says Richard Harris, GM at Aptumo Australia. “There is a solid water industry heritage powering the Aptumo product through Echo Managed Services, its parent company in the UK.”
Echo Managed Services has over 20 years’ experience providing British water utilities with billing solutions. Currently, it provides billing services to around one third of all British water utilities
“There is a true water industry pedigree about Aptumo” Richard added. “Echo Managed Services and its associated companies have a knowledge of the water industry which is both broad and deep.
“Echo Managed Services is a division of South Staffordshire Plc which also owns South Staffordshire Water and Cambridge Water. Aptumo really is a water billing solution made by the water industry, for the water industry.
“Aptumo is the result of decades of hands-on and strategic planning experience in the UK water industry” Richard continues. “Existing billing systems are proving to be a costly legacy for many utilities as maintenance, updates, and renewals come over the horizon. These costs are exacerbated by the fact that the updates and renewals still fall well short of what modern digital architecture has to offer. Aptumo, by comparison, combines peerless water industry understanding with market leading technology and the global support of the Salesforce network to deliver a product that is, effectively, future proof”.
Monica Mackintosh, MD at Echo Managed Services, said “Echo MS is more than just a billing services provider; we help utilities dramatically improve their end-to-end customer journeys. Our experts understand the challenges faced by utilities, such as higher service expectations and increased levels of customer debt. Aptumo improves customer contact, revenue protection, debt collection and billing processes to drive leading customer experiences whilst minimising cost to serve”.
Almost one in three of the UK’s water utilities currently depend on Echo’s specialist services, drawing confidence from the group’s reputation in the industry. That represents millions of active customer profiles.
Aptumo’s predecessor, RapidXtra, has been widely used across the UK utilities sector for many years. The team behind Aptumo drilled deep into usage data provided by RX users to create the billing system they really need: one that is agile, flexible, customisable, scalable and, above all, future proof.
“We’re keen to introduce Aptumo to Australian water utilities of all sizes” Richard says. “The architecture behind Aptumo has been driven by our experience in the UK; it’s customer centric, based on industry-wide best practice, is highly scalable, and has more than enough power to service even the largest of Australian water utilities.”
Coliban Water was the first adopter of Aptumo in Australia. They deliver drinking water, sewerage, trade waste and recycled water services to around 160,000 people and close to 7,000 businesses in north-central Victoria.
North East Water has also chosen Aptumo to support its team to deliver an enhanced experience for 110,000 people across 39 towns in the area.
The Australia team includes Tony Kelly, former MD at Yarra Valley Water, and is supported by the global expertise of the 120-strong team from Echo Managed Services. Together, they represent learnings from over 20 years’ working in the industry, and a product which is already used by a significant number of UK, and now Australian, water utilities.
“Basically,” Richard continues “there are two main reasons behind utilities choosing to replace their billing systems: either the system fails to keep up with customer expectations, or ownership of the old technology becomes too risky and too expensive. Successful customer engagement is the driving force behind success and reputation so a business must aim to meet or, better yet, exceed, those expectations. Aptumo puts the utilities who use it on to the right track to develop the right customer journey while minimising risk and expense factors for the business.
“The real beauty of Aptumo is that it doesn’t have a maximum capacity; it’s a flexible and highly scalable solution. It can work with large and small utilities, growing as the utility grows and the needs and expectations of their customers change. The system benefits from the buying power of Salesforce and the massive R&D investment it makes in new technologies like IoT, social media, big data analytics and artificial intelligence. What better way to future proof your billing capabilities?
“A new client can start their Aptumo journey with a basic billing system. As their digital strategy develops over time, they can add the rich functionality offered by Salesforce as they navigate their way to a bigger and more responsive ecosystem that is truly customer centric.
“Being cloud-based means that Aptumo seamlessly updates on a regular basis with minimal disruption to the organisation. This future-proofs the system by ensuring utilities have access to all the latest features - it basically eliminates obsolescence. It will no longer be possible for your billing system to fall several versions behind.”
Finally, Richard says “Taking all these benefits together, we believe we have the best-in-class water billing solution available anywhere in the world. And it’s future proof.”