Utilities Commission approves finalizing of contract for upgrade to information system
WILLMAR — A 2012 organizational assessment said one of Willmar Municipal Utilities’ major challenges and issues was its outdated and labor-intensive computer information system.
Utility officials met the challenge to upgrade and convert the system by researching new systems that are more efficient and customer-service oriented.
After receiving proposals from six firms, attending day-long demonstrations from three firms and conducting extensive reference checks on two finalists, officials have selected the financial information and customer information systems proposed by National Information Solutions Cooperative. The cooperative, which has offices in four states, is described on its website as a leading provider of information technology products and services to utilities, telecommunications companies and other industries and businesses.
The Municipal Utilities Commission received a recommendation from its Planning Committee and voted Monday to direct utility staff to finalize a contract and implement the upgrades.
Planning Committee Chairman Dan Holtz said the process would begin in late spring or early summer and installation would be completed by the end of 2014.
Holtz said, among other things, that the computer upgrade project team felt that National Information Solutions Cooperative was very strong in meeting all the functional requirements. Holtz said the utility brought in consultant Power System Engineering to assist in developing the request for proposals.
Commission President Steve Salzer said the utility is heading in the right direction with the new system, which will help the utility obtain needed information.