Southern Rural Water connects staff with DataWorks

Victorian government authority Southern Rural Water (SRW) was looking for ways to improve staff efficiency and communications, and to provide a consistent method of capturing and distributing information across the organization.

With field officers spread across that state, from SRW'S head office in Maffra, Gippsland to Werribee and Warrnambool, the organization needed to connect its staff to a central repository of information and correspondence.

According to SRW authority secretary and executive assistant Vere Gray, the main challenge for SRW was to improve staff communication irrespective of their physical location.

"To do so we were upgrading our communication links and went to tender for a robust EDMS that would integrate with our existing communications and business applications," Gray said.

After short-listing two solutions from the tender submissions, SRW chose electronic document management system DataWorks from Advanced Data Integration (ADI).

DataWorks promises a total solution for document management, workflow, customer contacts and data storage to a variety of media, without sacrificing the functionality of traditional records management.

It functions as an integrated system that controls all information regardless of its format, location, or creator, creating a central repository of electronic information that can be made available to all staff in an organization.

In this way business communications can be channelled and stored, with follow-on benefits such as risk mitigation, information security, simplified indexing, and anytime-anywhere access to critical information.

With more than 10,000 customers, including farmers, graziers and growers, generating $16 million in turnover each year, SRW needed a system that would work across its three operational businesses of headworks, licensing and irrigation, as well as its corporate division.

"Because of our complex and distributed business environment, we needed a software solution that seamlessly handled our communications out to staff regardless of format or location," Gray said.

"We particularly liked DataWorks' flexibility which will suit the various types of users we employ, its integration with our core office and business applications, its customization, and the high level of R&D commitment and support."

Talks between ADI and SRW commenced in November 2004, with plans for the project to go live in the second half of this year.

"We will roll out the system to all staff, and then look at future budget requirements to integrate DataWorks with third-party software products such as GIS (geographical information systems) and take functionality options applicable to our business," Gray said.

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