Western Water tackles document management upgrade

Western Water is replacing its existing document management system claiming it hasn't kept pace and is based on old technology.

The organization's IT manager Dave McDonald said the existing InfoVision system falls short of Western Water's requirements and didn't fit the broader knowledge management (KM) strategy the organization wants to implement in coming years.

"Also, it doesn't have APIs into other systems so we can't integrate; it's been in place for 10 years," McDonald said.

"As a result we took stock and decided on a wholesale upgrade as part of a larger KM project.

"Our goal is to convert all our existing documents to electronic format and within three years to be running a fully electronic system." Western Water, in Victoria, services an area of about 3000sq kms.

McDonald selected DataWorks claiming it fits with the organization's highly regulated environment.

"As a water authority we're regulated by governing bodies such as the Environment Protection Authority and Essential Services Commission, to name a few; the onus is on us to store and maintain records," he said.

Phase one of the project which began in May at a cost of $150,000 involves the conversion from its incumbent to DataWorks.

"For now we're sitting with multiple information silos, including private directories and mailboxes, that we need to break down so that vital information holed up in e-mails, Word documents and faxes can be made accessible to all staff," he said.

"We're also sitting with a mountain of paper documents that DataWorks will eliminate over time."

McDonald said he has put aside $250,000 for a number of KM plans over the next four years which is the next phase of the project.

Advanced Data Integration (ADI), which is involved in the project, claims there are plenty of organizations like Western Water which have extensive record repositories and silos that need to be shared by hundreds of users simultaneously.

Chris Gorry, chief executive officer of ADI, said this isn't possible without the right format and tools.

The new document management system is expected to go live before the end of the year.

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