Business Case Study: Conversion from Legacy System To harris SmartFusion


Public utility in Eastern Pennsylvania. Revenue: $8.5M. Customers: 10,500


Operational CPA and Internal Project Manager


The Board of Directors was faced with the challenge of upgrading the legacy accounting and billing system to a state-of-the art platform, using limited funds and an overworked staff. Prior attempts to convert the system were unsuccessful. The legacy system was no longer supported by the software provider and the hardware was outdated as well. In addition, the legacy system could not provide the reporting tools needed to optimally run the organization. E-commerce capabilities were not possible. There was a high degree of risk to remain on the existing platform.

Work Performed

We were initially engaged to provide the roadmap from the current state of the organization to the future state. We were subsequently engaged to execute our plan. Our overall approach was to first optimize the existing platform with the existing staff before launching into a full system conversion. Satisfying the needs of the various stakeholders – the customers (rate payers), internal staff, Board of Directors, and the auditors – was important to ensure a successful outcome.

During Phase I, we assessed the current landscape and designed the general roadmap. We developed financial reporting tools to measure performance, including both historical information and forward-looking forecasts. We identified one key cash flow opportunity to fund the conversion to SmartFusion. 

During Phase II, we optimized the existing system with the existing staff. In particular, we executed on the cash flow opportunity identified in Phase I, and as a result, accelerated collections of aged accounts receivable by 15% of annual sales. 

With the cash in hand and all stakeholders in a state of readiness, we launched the SmartFusion conversion. We worked collaboratively with Harris staff and served as internal project managers. To keep control over the process, we separated the conversion into three “go live” dates: general ledger and accounts payable; payroll; billing. All work was completed in Phase III. 


Within a period of 18 months, the organization accelerated collections of $1.275M and redeployed a small portion of the funds to upgrade to a current, state-of-the art system. The public utility is now positioned to further optimize the new system through e-commerce tools and greater visibility, thus satisfying all stakeholders.