Suffolk County Water Authority "springs ahead" with new systems from Answerthink and SAP

Answerthink Inc., a business and technology consulting firm, announced a new customer contract with Suffolk County Water Authority for SAP® solutions and implementation services.

MIAMI, June 3, 2003 -- Answerthink Inc., a business and technology consulting firm, announced a new customer contract with Suffolk County Water Authority for SAP® solutions and implementation services.

The contract, which is valued at nearly $3.5 million, will enable Answerthink to help Suffolk Water implement a comprehensive integrated customer care system as well as migrate its financial systems to SAP® for Utilities, SAP's industry specific solution for the utilities industry. As part of the project, Answerthink will help Suffolk Water streamline its operations and implement proven best practices.

Suffolk Water, an independent public-benefit corporation, is the nation's largest water supplier with a system based entirely on groundwater. The 52-year-old not-for-profit's mission is to provide dependable, high-quality water service to almost 1.2 million New Yorkers living in a 900 square mile area of eastern Long Island. The Authority is recognized for its innovative and aggressive approach to protecting and managing the critical natural resource of Long Island's water supply.

"We've got several important goals that drive our company. We need to protect water quality, provide exceptional customer service, and find innovative ways to keep our rates where they are, among the lowest in the nation. Answerthink and SAP are playing a key role in helping us accomplish all this," said Suffolk Water Chief Executive Officer Stephen Jones. "They bring to the table a unique and impressive combination of assets -- quality technology, deep utility industry expertise, and real-world knowledge of how to implement best practices in finance and customer service. With the help of Answerthink and SAP, we're building world-class capabilities in key operational areas, and simultaneously finding new ways to reduce our costs."

Suffolk Water has evolved over the years from being simply a water provider to taking on a guardianship role protecting the sole-source aquifers from pollution and misuse. To that end, the organization has developed state-of-the-art systems for monitoring more than 500 wells in 220 locations, and is also implementing sophisticated customer service and financial applications with the help of Answerthink and SAP. Suffolk Water's goal is to create an innovative IT GIS-Networked platform that will allow the company to access and integrate financial, customer and scientific data across the broad range of its business, maximizing its fiscal and research strengths.

When the first phase of Answerthink's SAP for Utilities implementation is complete, it will provide Suffolk Water with a single, integrated customer care system to coordinate the activities of telephone support staff and field workers based in three regional service centers. Each week telephone support staff in these centers respond to thousands of customer inquiries on a wide range of topics, including billing issues and requests for new service. The centers also dispatch field workers to do repairs, read meters, and perform a wide range of other field service work.

The new system will enable Suffolk Water to automatically track all work orders and customer inquiries. It will enhance service in many different areas and put more information in the hands of customer service representatives and field technicians. It is also expected to allow customer care center staff to make real-time decisions on a variety of billing-related questions and to have better information about any factors influencing the water supply across the county-wide network.

In Phase 2 of the implementation, Answerthink will help Suffolk Water migrate its core financials to SAP for Utilities, including general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, purchasing, and inventory. Process improvement will also be an important part of the overall Answerthink implementation effort. By utilizing proven best practices from The Hackett Group, an Answerthink company, and also best practices that are an integrated part of SAP for Utilities, Answerthink will help Suffolk Water improve efficiency.

"Suffolk Water's commitment to improvement is impressive," said Allen Frank, President, Answerthink, Inc. "This is a company that is all about customer service, and by becoming more efficient they'll be able to take better care of the vital natural resource they protect, and keep their customers happier. We're happy that they've chosen Answerthink to help them accomplish all this."

About the Suffolk County Water Authority

The Suffolk County Water Authority (http://www.swca.com) is an independent public-benefit corporation operating by virtue of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York. Serving over 80 percent of Suffolk's residents, it operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.

About Answerthink

Answerthink, Inc. (http://www.answerthink.com) is a business and technology consulting firm that enables companies to achieve world-class business performance. By leveraging the comprehensive database of The Hackett Group, the world's leading repository of enterprise best practice metrics and business process knowledge, Answerthink's business and technology solutions help clients significantly improve performance and maximize returns on technology investments. Answerthink's capabilities include benchmarking, business transformation, business applications, technology integration, and offshore application maintenance and support. Founded in 1997, Answerthink has offices in 10 cities throughout the United States and in Europe.

About The Hackett Group

The Hackett Group, an Answerthink company, (http://www.thehackettgroup.com) provides fact-based, objective insights that help clients optimize processes, organization, technology and information in key corporate functions such as finance, IT, human resources, and procurement. Hackett's research-derived guidance is backed by its continuously updated database of benchmark metrics and best practices in use at nearly 2,000 client organizations, including 97 percent of the Dow Jones Industrials, 81 percent of the Fortune 100, and 88 percent of the Dow Jones Global Titans Index. In addition to benchmark studies of finance, IT, SG&A (sales, general, and administrative), human resources, and related areas, Hackett offers management research services and subscription-based collaborative learning programs in shared services and other administrative support processes.

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