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Austin Energy Adopts SOA Strategy With IBM's Support

Company Aims to Create Self-Healing Enterprise

Austin Energy has selected IBM software, hardware and services to help transform its business into a fully-integrated and self-healing enterprise. It expects to see significant savings and greater customer service ratings by accelerating the deployment of its strategy of running IT as a business. This includes more closely aligning technology with the needs of the business through a Service Oriented Architecture.

The nation's 10th largest public power utility serving over 370,000 meters and a population of more than 800,000 in Central Texas is transforming its operations to be more responsive to customers and improve its own efficiency. The new technology infrastructure will manage over 100 projects and 90 different enterprise software applications, including customer records, call center operations, utility management metering, financial systems and asset management.

Austin Energy's SOA was developed with the help of IBM architecture services and is based on IBM WebSphere and Rational software and System p570 hardware.

The first project application, AECall, went live on May 3rd. The tool, which leverages 5 new web services, combines a utility outage management application with its call center applications to better manage the customer calls into Austin Energy's customer service center. The very next day, a severe rain and hail storm caused over 52,000 customers to temporarily lose service. Thanks to the new solution powered by IBM, Austin Energy was able to process customers' emergency calls more quickly than ever before.

After the storm, AECall processed over 20,000 calls per day for 3 days, while the previous system would have been overloaded at 4,000 calls. IBM is also providing services to train Austin Energy technical staff on the design and testing principles behind the core of its transformation while enabling the utility to use existing applications and resources without having any disruption to ongoing business operations.

"Prior to adopting an SOA strategy, many organizations are challenged by having their critical data located in various applications throughout the enterprise that didn't easily 'talk' to each other," said Mark Trekell, worldwide software sales leader, IBM Energy & Utilities Industry. "With SOA, Austin Energy will have greater flexibility to share data among departments to simplify its own processes and better service its customers."

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