The Northern Ireland Water Service has awarded a seven-year, £70m contract to the Xansa-led Crystal Alliance to provide a new customer billing and contacts system.
The water service, an agency within the Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland (DRD), is responsible for the provision of water and sewerage services to over 760,000 domestic, agricultural, commercial and business customers across Northern Ireland.
The Xansa-led Crystal Alliance will deliver front- to back-office customer billing and customer relationship management services to cover all 760,000 customers.
Xansa will be responsible for the client relationship with the Northern Ireland Water Service, and will manage the overall service from implementation to operational delivery, including the provision of back-office billing processes.
Under a sub-contract, alliance member Echo Managed Services will be responsible for customer billing and debt collection, and manage the customer contact centre.
Fellow alliance member AMT-SYBEX Ltd will provide a mobile work management solution.
Starting immediately, the Crystal Alliance will implement a customer billing and collections system, followed by a new customer relations centre in April 2007. The implementation will create 180 new jobs in the Belfast area.
The new service will also be capable of delivering domestic bills under proposed new charging arrangements being introduced by the government.
Katharine Bryan, Northern Ireland Water Service chief executive, said, “The Xansa-led consortium has a wealth of experience in the utilities marketplace. Xansa’s technology and experience will directly benefit our customers through a faster response to call outs and a seven-day-a-week personalised customer service, which will greatly enhance our capabilities and the service we deliver to our customers.”
Bryan said the new customer management service will also provide a key element of the government strategy for water reform in Northern Ireland. It will support new domestic charges that will provide a reliable source of revenue to sustain major water infrastructure investment in Northern Ireland’s ageing system.
“The cost savings made by outsourcing this part of our business will be re-invested in upgrading the water infrastructure in Northern Ireland to the benefit of all our customers,” she said.