A Comparative Review of Company Services of System Suppliers

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In an extensive report to municipalities and water/wastewater utilities, the nonprofit Water Finance Research Foundation has ranked software suppliers on their ability to provide support services to their customers. The review is designed to help utility professionals choose systems best suited for specific utility applications. 

“The functionality of the core components of a software application is very important, however, the actual success and level of benefit gained is a direct result of the work and support around the planning, implementation, testing and training,” the WFRF explained. “The ability for the software vendor to provide enhanced support and training to ensure the successful implementation is critical.” 

The foundation evaluated the company support levels of 14 different software suppliers (in alphabetic order): Accela, Agile Assets, Azteca System’s Cityworks, Cartegraph, Cityview, EnerGov, IBM’s Maximo, Infor/Hansen, Lucity/GBA, Maintenance Connection, Novotx’s Elements, Oracle, Pubworks and Vueworks. Then, the foundation ranked the systems from 1 to 5 — the highest score — on service and implementation, support and training, and specialization. 

Four companies topped the list of rankings with perfect scores: Cityworks, Cartegraph, Maximo and Oracle. Infor and Lucity ranked next highest, followed by Accela and Energov. 

Support for Cityworks implementations is provided by the Customer Support Representative in a particular geographical area. Support is also available by phone, email, interactive Web meetings and VPN connections. Additional support is available for perusing 24/7 at mycityworks.com. The Update and Support agreement provides subsequent upgrades, enhancements, and bug fixes for future releases of the licensed applications as long as the annual renewal is current.  

Cartegraph employs User Groups and Regional Training Seminars to help customers learn more about system functionality, best practices and regional trends. User groups focus on applying technology to a user’s specific situations. Training sessions include tutorial demonstrations, and the latest tips and techniques. They include two technical tracks and 12 learning sessions. 

Maximo users can receive assistance from IBM Software Services knowledgeable consultants who are prepared to implement solutions, maximize the value of the investment, and address critical needs. A Web-based program gives customers quick access to fixes, personalized product updates, and training documents. Service request and guided support functions facilitate personalized, custom solutions.

Oracle Premier Support provides essential support services including 24/7 technical assistance, proactive support resources, and product updates. My Oracle Support, an online technical support portal, enables customers to search knowledge, participate in communities, log/track service requests, sign up for alerts, view product health recommendations, download product updates/patches, and take advantage of Oracle Maintenance and Upgrade Advisors.

Infor provides a single point of contact to oversee management of customers’ enterprise solutions-including customizations. The program helps users maximize OS and application performance, gain best of breed services, control costs, and plan for future needs. Training is structured into role-based paths across three tiers: fundamental classes that provide product overviews, use classes which cover skills necessary to use the system, and implementation classes which accelerate implementation of the software.

Lucity maintains an online help desk that’s open 24/7 and a full-scale, support staff during business hours. Customers can get answers swiftly from a collaborative support team of experienced staffers who “know our software forwards and backwards,” according to the company. For access to the latest knowledge and training, the company conducts webinars and reference documentation. A Client Portal announces regional user group meeting, new training guides, new product releases and a blog.

This is the last in a series of articles on the Water Finance Research Foundation’s review of software systems and suppliers to the municipal water and sewer market. Earlier articles covered asset management, work management, and Esri/GIS services.

Check out the other articles in the series:



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