US software provider Infor has been selected to supply systems for the ten water services entities created under the government’s water reforms.
Heather Shotter, executive director of the programme's National Transition Unit (NTU), said today the "systems of record" project was critical to achieving the reform objectives of ensuring all New Zealanders had access to safe, affordable and reliable water services.
The software will be used by ten water service entities (WSEs) to support their business and operational processes and deliver the so-called "Three Waters" reforms.
The expected total cost of developing and implementing the systems is $532 million, including a $147.7 million contingency.
Infor, which was selected for a six week "platform discovery" last October, can expect to receive $107.5 million of the total project cost.
"For the water services entities this will include financial and supply chain management systems, asset planning and construction, asset operations and work management, people systems, customer management and billing, data analytics, and visualisation," Shotter said.
"The water services entities will not be able to operate water services without these systems.”
Shifting the management and delivery of water services from 67 councils now to ten larger water services entities provided the opportunity to standardise ICT systems, Shotter said.
“The change from multiple existing IT systems to a single platform will be a key enabler for the successful transition of water services management and delivery and is critical for ensuring longer-term transformational benefits are realised," she said.
For instance, Shotter said, the standardised IT platform will deliver richer and more consistent data to enable more proactive water asset management.
"This means the ability to address issues before there is an asset failure that adversely affects customers," she said.
"It will also support strategic investment in response to new demands from population growth and climate adaptation."
Work was now underway to migrate data from existing IT systems to support the transition of water services management and delivery to the newWSEs starting from July 2024.
The selection of Infor followed a closed tender process and Cabinet’s approval of an implementation business case.
Various software deployment options appear to have been considered as part of that business case, according to documents released today.
Broadly they included using Infor's software for the entire project, using SAP's and various combinations of both. Infor recently delivered systems for Auckland-based Watercare while SAP has been the incumbent at Christchurch City Council since 2018.
In the end, Infor was selected to serve all of the ten WSEs.
Infor senior vice president and general manager, Asia Pacific and Japan, Terry Smagh said the company was honoured to selected for the systems of record project.
“Infor already has a proven track record in New Zealand and overseas in delivering critical infrastructure projects across both the public and private sectors," he said.
"This includes successfully integrating multiple pre-existing water systems for Watercare and more recently extending this to cover several other councils across the country.”
Shotter said the need to work with a proven solution to manage technical migration of data and delivery risk was critical to the selection decision.
“It is inherently more efficient to scale a proven existing system than to build a new one," she said. "Infor has a clear roadmap for delivery to day one of the new WSEs and work is in progress to deliver this.
"We are confident it is the right system for the future where bigger transformational opportunities lie beyond day one transition."
Apart from the cost of Infor, other costs include Department of Internal Affairs’ resourcing to support the project, support services for non-Infor software, and other support, advice and expenses including legal, procurement and travel.
It is expected the cost of the project would be reimbursed by the WSEs over time.
Several local companies have also been awarded contracts relating to the project including Ghost (data migration portal), Harmonic (analytics), Integration Works (data integration) and Cyma (systems architecture) with more opportunities expected as the project develops.