Common sense vs technology
If the job of a teacher is to teach her students and the recommended technology s/he needs is not available, then does s/he still have to teach the students? And how pray tell does s/ he do it? She does it the old fashioned way.
If a computer does not work, then chalk and a blackboard will certainly get the job done. If the students don’t have tablets or I pads, paper and pencil works. So with that said, what exactly is my point?
I am responding to an article in The Progress-Index, published on August 12, 2017, written by Jon Adams. The name of the article is “Search continues for utility software solutions.”
The article suggests that our water billing system just can’t get right without the help of technology. Just like the teacher can’t teach without the help of the same. Although technology is great, a wonderful time saver and an excellent tool, like the teacher who is responsible for teaching her class, the city is still responsible for accurate water billing and we should be able to achieve the same without technology.
The article states, “For reasons unclear, in the contract that the city signed with Johnson Controls in 2015 for new water meters, the software Johnson Controls provided did not match up with the software the city had. This major deficiency has been a driving force behind many of the billing problems.”
Yet, the report given on 7/31/17, by the RBG states, “Investigate the options for upgrading or completely replacing the existing billing and collection software, including cloud based solutions, ensuring compatibility with current financial/accounting system.”
The article is stating that the software needs to be compatible to Johnson Controls new water meters and the other report states that we need to have a system compatible with current financial accounting systems. This appears to be contradictory. Are we upgrading to be compatible to the meters or to the billing and software system?
The report states “Implement procedures to document connection charges and ensure that accounts are established for new customers.” We don’t need a computer to do that.
The report states, “Improve accounting information systems to maximize full functionality … and ensure that customer accounting information is readily available.” Don’t need a new computer system to do that either.
The report states, “Undertake an audit of every meter and every account to ensure that the correct meter is attached to the correct account and that the meter size, measurement type, and ERT are correctly configured.” This has already been done, and done twice, prior to the RBG coming here, yet, it is not known, information apparently has not been obtained and we are focusing on this now? So sad.
Lastly, the article states, Rajun and VanVoorhees are currently mulling over several options as to how to best replace the software, although the uncertainty with the water system makes the process tricky. The city planned on outsourcing the billing department to a private company, which would change the software needs.
“Until that is concluded, or we make that decision, it wouldn’t be prudent for us to search for anything else,” said Rajun. What? We can’t move forward until a decision is made about the outsourcing? So, if it takes us five years to come to the conclusion to outsource, we actually will sit on our loins and continue to send out the same incorrect water bills until we do outsource?
Technology is wonderful. It has taken this world and businesses to new heights. I love it, and use it every day. However, I believe that we must also rely on our man power, our brains and our know how. This article, makes excuses for us. It does not tell why we are not able to calculate or decipher what is going on.
I for one am just totally disgusted and fed up with the excuses that are constantly given and accepted. Surely if a water bill shows that a customer owes $1,000 and last month their bill was $114, surely someone must be able to look at that bill and know that there is a problem.
Why do we need an upgraded system to do that. A blind man could look at that bill and know that it is not right.
We as a city need to stop hiding behind the excuses of “we can’t find the right technology/utility billing contractor/software” and “we can’t afford it” and work with what we have – our brains and our commitment to improvement – to both provide excellent customer service and strengthen our utilities billing and revenue collections.