Melbourne-based water utility scoops award for streamlining operations

Melbourne’s largest water and wastewater utility, Yarra Valley Water, has picked up an award for reducing the approval time for land and water use applications...

Content Dam Ww Online Articles 2015 December Yarra Logo

Content Dam Ww Online Articles 2015 December Yarra Logo

Melbourne’s largest water and wastewater utility, Yarra Valley Water, has picked up an award for reducing the approval time for land and water use applications from several weeks to hours or even minutes.

The project has seen the company win a FICO Decision Management Award for Decision Management Innovation.

The business goal was to automate the development application process.

Yarra Valley Water led the business change program to streamline its self-serve, customer-facing ‘easyACCESS portal’ for the conveyancing, land development and plumbing industries.

The project was directed by Australian consultancy Wise Technology Management.

Using FICO Blaze Advisor decision management system, Yarra Valley Water now fully automates 80% of the 25,000 submissions it receives every year. The business has increased annual revenue to $2.5 million from an original estimate of $1.5 million.

Using the system, applicants can now submit their applications online. Yarra Valley Water employees can change business rules as required without needing to know application development or programming languages.

Sam Austin, general manager for sustainable development services at Yarra Valley Water, said, “Processing new applications had been a labor-intensive process and we felt developers were waiting too long. We have made a significant effort to map our processes and decision-making. Previously, much of this resided in people’s heads or was scattered in documentation. With the new system, this information is built into a robust, rules-based solution, yielding significant rewards for Yarra Valley Water and developers alike.”

John Wise, principal at Wise Technology Management, said: “The new system has produced numerous operational savings, brought consistency to development application decisions and allowed Yarra Valley Water to plan the use of water, recycling and storage up to five years ahead.”

Dan McConaghy, president of FICO Asia Pacific, said: “What Yarra Valley Water and Wise Technology Management have achieved is incredibly innovative. They have managed to combine numerous complex data sets in a way that has modernised the process, increased user satisfaction and delivered a measureable return on investment.”

Michael Wu, chief scientist at Lithium Technologies and one of the award judges, said, “Yarra Valley Water is using analytics and decision management technology in a very unconventional way to improve their complex application process. The judges were impressed by their creative solution.”

The FICO Decision Management Awards honor companies that have achieved outstanding business results using FICO predictive analytics and decision management solutions.

Winners were selected by a panel of esteemed industry leaders, analysts and journalists; Philip Alexander of the Financial Times; Joel Wells from Discover Card, Michael Versace from IDC and Michael Wu of Lithium Technologies.

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