Yarra Valley Water CIO tells resellers, 'set expectations'

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This article appeared in the September 2014 issue of CRN magazine.

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Yarra Valley Water CIO tells resellers, 'set expectations'

Tell us about a recent project

Our biggest project right now is the replacement of a legacy asset management system, and we are working steadily towards deploying IBM’s Maximo enterprise asset management later this year. Everything in a water business revolves around the efficient management and maintenance of our infrastructure – we provide the most essential of essential services after all – and we can’t afford to have problems as we transition our workforce from one system to another. 

Who are the suppliers?

We have a diverse team delivering this project with representation from Deloitte, IBM Global Services, RXP Services, Anatas and other specialists, as well as having many Yarra Valley Water staff embedded in the project team. We’ve had our challenges along the way, but the project team culture is excellent and everyone is committed to an outstanding outcome.

What was the input of the suppliers?

Deloitte is providing program governance and architectural support, and has been with us on this journey since day one while Yarra Valley Water mapped out what we needed to achieve with this project. Once the project identified a preferred product, by tender, IBM Global Services was selected to deliver Maximo and the field mobility solution, Anatas was then engaged to integrate the systems into our middleware environment, and RXP came on board to provide the data transformation and migration services.

What does an IT supplier have to do to win your business?

Product and services are only part of any IT solution, and frankly it doesn’t matter how good a product is, poor project delivery will always lead to a poor outcome. I look for commitment to delivery excellence, as well as technical capability. I also favour an organisation that is prepared to take a partnership position, and who will speak their mind at the earliest opportunity should they see things going awry.

Is it all about price?

It is rarely the deciding factor. I look more for the value in a proposal, which considers the quality of the output rather than the cost of the inputs. “Cheap” rarely delivers quality, and in the end you spend more to achieve the outcome you really want.

Can you tell us about the last time an IT service provider impressed you?

In this particular project, IBM have done a great job of holding us to account when we started contemplating customisations; they have protected the integrity of their solution well and forced Yarra Valley Water to be very clear about what we want and why. I’m sure we will be very thankful in the future that we didn’t mess around with the product.

Can you name any mistakes IT service providers make?

They need to clearly establish the expectation of their clients so that they can set up the right terms of the relationship: a long-term partnership requires very different interactions to a short-term transactional exchange. Most providers tend to have a one-size-fits-all approach.

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