Sonoma County Water Agency
When a California municipal water agency needed to upgrade its 25-year-old in-house IT systems, it turned to SAP to find providers and solutions to help manage its people and finances. That led them to Secure-24 and a successful new phase of IT operations. The Sonoma County Water Agency is the primary source of drinking water for municipalities representing more than 600,000 residents in Sonoma and Marin counties.
It oversees eight sanitation districts and acts as a local sponsor for federal flood protection and water supply projects.
In 2007, the agency looked at its aging mainframe and saw that it had become a high risk for failure. It was running a critical application developed in-house to do cost accounting and overhead allocation. Additionally, the people who originally developed and maintained the system had retired.
Sonoma County Water Agency faced the choice of assigning employees to learn the systems and improve the software applications, or seek a new hardware-software solution through an outside provider.
“Our employees were overloaded and it was taking increasing amounts of their time for maintenance of that legacy system. Replacing it was the highest priority,” said Spencer Bader, the agency’s Division Manager for Administration. “We had a list of specifications to replace this customized application.”
Finding an IT Solution to Grow
The Water Agency’s administrative team wanted to understand all of its options, so it took some time to look at different ERP systems that would help it manage its payroll and finances. One of the options was SAP, because it offered the best match for what the Water Agency needed for cost accounting and employee time card entries.
“SAP required less customization for what we needed in the software. It offered a logical and easy growth path to address our immediate needs and beyond,” said Bader.
In its bid, the SAP sales team recommended two SAP Partners with the expertise needed for implementation and managed hosting of SAP ECC 6.0 . They were SAP consultant HPC America and SAP Hosting Partner Secure-24.
SAP Hosting Partner Secure-24 is a provider of managed hosting, private cloud computing, disaster recovery and support for business critical IT applications. Secure-24 offered a solution to develop, implement and permanently host the agency’s applications in the SAP environment. Plus, the flexible and scalable hosting solution allowed the water agency to implement new components without significant increases in cost.
The Water Agency found the partners it needed through SAP, and it set itself up to address current organizational IT issues and future growth. With new streamlined systems, the Water Agency is now reviewing other SAP applications for billing water customers. Secure-24 will help provide the SAP support and scalable environments for the Water Agency to add to and expand its systems.
Sonoma Water Agency Results from SAP
The newest version of the SAP software helped the Water Agency consolidate the data extracted from two separate employee time cards into one. The agency had different systems to manage the various time card data. Through the SAP implementation, the agency could eliminate the duplication.
The Water Agency’s software for time reporting and payroll also had to interface with the County of Sonoma’s payroll and ledger systems.
“There was a fair amount of coordination on how these two systems would be in sync. We needed to be in tandem with the County’s records and policies,” said Bader.
Secure-24 applied its SAP hosting for the development, production and implementation stages of the Water Agency’s customized environment. Secure-24 provided the server space to help the Water Agency test the new software installation and then turn it over for “live” use among employees.
Had it not been for the hosted solution, the Water Agency would have had to duplicate the new SAP environments on its own equipment for the different implementation phases. The Water Agency determined that building its own test/development/QA environments would have been too expensive and time consuming for its small IT staff.
Since the implementation, the Water Agency has been able to reallocate resources and reassign people to new duties. Employees have gained more time to focus more on other initiatives, rather than taking more in-house time for administrative tasks.
Employees now find it easier to use a single system for their time card reporting and the cost allocation process has been taken over by SAP, which is hosted by Secure-24. The reliability of two key systems has improved, and the water agency benefits from a savings of up to 6,200 hours a year in just the collection of time information.
“We are happy to help them overcome the IT challenge. They now have an efficient and affordable system that will take them into future years,” said Inga Bredehoeft, Secure-24’s National SAP Alliance Director.
To learn more about Secure-24 SAP Hosting and Technical Services, we invite you to Contact Us or call us at 1-877-5-SAPEXPERTS (877-572-7397).