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Background

Fayetteville is a small Texas town with a population of 261. Background information on the city of Fayetteville can be found at the following address: [1]

The mayor and one of the city council members have expressed a need to further automate the water utility billing system for the city of Fayetteville. Although the process can and is currently done manually, the task is tedious and requires a few days just to get the bills out to all the residences and businesses in the community.

The water bill is sent out monthly on the first of the month. A copy of the form currently used for billing is attached. All information is hand coded into the blank spaces and entered into a spreadsheet. Some of the information on the form needs to be changed and some additional information needs to be added.

Recently, the mayor and LC have been seeking alternatives to the current water billing system. Objectives of the new water billing system include the ability to present more information to the customer and reduce the time and cost of preparing and delivering bills.

After reviewing several systems in surrounding communities, they found one that seemed to fit most of their needs. A copy of the “favorite” billing form is attached. Although some of the information listed on the West End Water Supply Corp. form is not currently desired they were uncertain as to when they might make use of the information.

Procedures for distributing and paying bills:

The current bill is stuffed in a hand addressed envelope and mailed to customers.

Payments are made three different ways. First, most people (estimated at 90%) just bring their bill to the bank in town and their payments are posted to a collection account. The information is later posted into the systems account and the spreadsheet.

Second, a few people bring the bill and payment in person to the city hall and drop it off. No receipt is given at city hall. The final method of payment is via the mail. In this instance, the bill is mailed to the city hall. In both these instances, the bills are forwarded from city hall across the street to the bank and posted to the collection account.

The city council member said the following about the process: “The bank collects the money. They write each payment on a deposit slip and give the deposit slip and the statement to the Clerk. He picks it up daily. The City writes the collection onto the form and gives to the bookkeeper. Payments directly to the city would be given to the clerk who would complete a deposit slip and one of the forms.”

Detailed forms information:

The details of the “favorite” form (Industry, TX) are presented below:

  • Water billing Entity address and contact information: (phone – email).
  • Postage information: USPS postage information
  • Type of Service: Residential or Commercial (different rates)
  • Meter Reading Present:
  • Meter Reading Previous:
  • Used: *calculated* (present – previous)
  • Charges: *calculated*
  • Meter Read: (Month – Day)
  • Class: Do not anticipate using now – affects rates – type of meter 2”, 3”
  • Route: Do not anticipate using now – affects rates – in, out of town
  • Past Due After this date: (Month, Day, Year)
  • Net Amount to be Paid: (if paid by the 10th (net))
  • Gross Amount to be Paid: (if paid after the 10th (gross))
  • Please show meter reading here: Do not want to use.
  • Net Amount: possibly confusing??
  • Blank space: room for customer address

Back of Form information:

  • Office hours
  • Contact information
  • Directions for payment
  • Due date and penalty information
  • General information

Details of the current form are presented below:

  • Section on the left is for customer use only and is not used by the billing system.
  • Section of the right is returned with payment.
  • Meter reading: 9999999
  • Last Month: previous meter reading 9999999
  • Gallons Used: *calculated*
  • Sewer: currently flat rate sewer usage
  • Identification and billing penalties: (incorrect and need to be changed)
  • Mr.: Name of customer
  • Fayetteville, Texas: remainder of address and date.

No additional information is presented on the back of the form.

Desired Options:

The clients have expressed the desire to have the bill mailed out in a “post card” type format that will enable a lower mailing rate (largest size and still qualify for post card postage). They would like to know what their options are for reducing mailing costs, but are not sure of the USPS requirements/regulations for mass mailings. They thought post cards would be an economical alternative to envelopes but were not aware of other available alternatives.

The desire was also expressed to have the option of adding a “variable” note field to send messages to the customers. “Maybe a pull down menu could have some set options and the ability to enter new messages. Messages would be like… remember, dogs must be kept on leash… spring clean-up starts this month… happy holidays… or be able to enter another phrase.” “This and other information could be posted to the back of the form.” They mentioned that they would like to have the modified cut-off date (if no payment received by the 28th of the month, water will be cut-off) posted also on the back of the form. Neither could remember when water had ever been cut-off but still need to have the regulation stated.

They need to have a late notice mailed on the 15th of the month for those customers who have not yet paid their bill.

Extra charges need to be posted somewhere on the form. Extra charges could include a reconnection fee, fees for repairs made on customer’s side of meter, fees to change out service type meter (residential to commercial / commercial to residential), etc. A brief description of the “extra” charge needs to be stated on the form but they would also like to have the ability to post a more detailed description to the water utility system – just in case someone had specific questions regarding the extra charge.

They also need the ability to post any adjustments to the bill along with a brief explanation of the adjustment. Typically this would be to post some sort of credit to the customer’s account.

Account numbers are currently assigned to property addresses. The customer’s name is tied to the account number. Meter numbers exist but are not currently used. The mayor and LC said they would be willing to change to any new/different account number.

Rate Information and Calculations:

The information below was provided by the mayor.

Rate information and calculations are included below for water, sewer and standard rates. The calculations are different for residential and business customers.

Rates - first 3000 Gallons $17.00 Flat fee Over 3000 - $1.00 @ 1000

Sewer $13.00 Flat fee

We do not collect a "deposit" at this time; however, we may in the future.

Connection fee for new service and, the reconnection fee if cut-off is the same: $50.00.

Late Charge is a flat fee: $5.00


Commercial and residential rates are the same for water. However, for commercial, the sewer rates are adjusted once a year based on average water usage during December, January and February. For new business customers, the minimum flat rate will be charged for sewer services.

CASE ASSIGNMENT

You are a consulting team that performs systems analysis and design of information systems. Your consulting group has been chosen to perform the task of analyzing, recommending, and designing business/information-processing solutions. Use information available from the case description, design techniques you have learned and available tools to prepare your responses to each of the phase requirements.

Writing clarity and accuracy, (grammar and spelling) format, and overall appearance of your work counts!


Continuous Progress Deliverables

1. Memorandum to the principals of the organization. This memo should state the purpose of the report, contain an overview of the contents of the rest of the report, and identify any decisions the principals must make before your consulting group proceeds.

2. Feasibility Analysis of the technical, operational, schedule, legal and contractual, and political feasibility of the proposed system. An economic feasibility of the proposed system should include a discussion of and estimate of tangible and intangible benefits of the proposed system. Estimated costs of the proposed system should include both one-time and recurring items.

3. Summary of “opportunities" (limitations stated in a positive manner)

4. Interview plan identifying the goal of the interview and a list of interview questions and assumed answers. Summarize all information gathered and any assumptions made.

5. Decomposition Diagram of organized processes needed for the proposed system.

6. Data Flow Diagrams (DFDs) for the entire system. Data Flow Diagrams describing flows, processes, stores, agents, etc.

7. Data Repository definitions for all attributes in each entity. Definitions include information describing each attribute (type, size, range (if appropriate), description). Include Entity Layout and Process-Entity Matrix.

8. Entity Relationship Diagram describing entities and their relationships. (3rd normal form).

Final Project Design Deliverable

Design “enough” input/output screens to show how your system functions. The screens should represent the major functional capabilities of your system. (Note: screens are an excellent way to present your system.) Use the Interface Structure Diagram to show screen navigation design. User documentation should accompany your screen designs.

List all of the reports that you believe will be helpful in addressing the information needs for this project. Design two of these reports.

A timeline should be created to show your implementation plan.

The final project design deliverable should include:

If you have questions or need additional clarification, please submit those inquiries electronically so adequate responses may be provided.

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