Portsmouth Water in the U.K. has announced that it is moving from a custom mainframe to IFS Application 8 ERP to improve its overall data management system.
"When we undertake a repair we use IFS to collect data," said Portsmouth Water engineering director Rod Porteous. "Work requests are raised through IFS, which also interfaces with the street-works package – this automates requests that involve digging up streets and highways."
The company, according to ComputerWeekly.com, chose IFS because it would allow them to deploy the new system gradually and that IFS and Portsmouth Water could work together. The company plans to complete its transition from the mainframe to IFS in 2016.
The company decided to move away from the mainframe because it was getting too expensive to maintain. The regulator Ofwat is also demanding better reporting from water providers, hence the need to upgrade its systems.
With the new system, around 240 engineers use Samsung (News - Alert) Galaxy smartphones to input data. IFS allows them to work offline using the IFS Mobile Work Order (MWO) app to determine which parts of the company’s 3,500 kilometers of pipes need repair or replacement.
The next phase of the project is to support the IFS Finance module. There are plans to support even more IFS features in the future, including near assets, compatible units and a Geographic Information System. The GIS would allow workers to incorporate their physical locations into things like work orders and see the locations of parts of the water system in real time.
The system also interfaces with capital-works schemes, allowing for greater transparency required by Ofwat.
While mainframe systems are not quite dead even in the face of the growth of cloud computing, they offer extreme reliability, which is why they’re still essential for many enterprises. Solutions like IFS can better support a mobile workforce as companies don’t have to maintain their own systems.
Edited by Alisen Downey