Lately, a reoccurring question has been about password expiration. Currently, we have two CIS environments.
The first is a central server architecture in which the CIS Version 2 application is installed on Citrix servers within the LOGIS facility and domain.
The second is a FAT (File Allocation Table) client environment in which CIS Version 3 is installed on remote computers located at client sites with the CIS server component located within the LOGIS facility and domain. This is also known as a “client/server” architecture.
In either environment, individuals are first required to authenticate to the LOGIS domain before they are permitted to log into CIS.
With the Citrix environment, we are able to use an application that manages password expirations. This application will notify individuals of their upcoming password expiration and enable them to set their own new passwords.
In FAT Client environment, the remote computers are not currently configured to utilize the same application as in Citrix environment which can notify individuals of upcoming password expirations and allow them to set their own new passwords. Instead, CIS Version 3 users will see the below error which is the only evidence that their password has expired:
If you receive this message while attempting to log into CIS Version 3, please call the Utility Billing Support Line at (763) 543-2660.
LOGIS staff will be addressing this user authentication process for CIS Version 3 users in the near future. As of July 13th, 2010, LOGIS established a security policy that states passwords will expire after 90 days. If you have any further questions regarding password expirations, please feel free to contact the Utility Billing Support Line.
A Qualification Report is a document that is delivered with each tray of 1st Class, Presorted Utility Bills to the USPS for mailing. It identifies and sorts all active addresses in a billing and notice batch for automation. The automation process consists of sorting the printed utility bills in Postal Code order. The mail pieces are grouped by 5 digit (55422) and 3 digit (554) zip codes and counted. All mail pieces that qualify for this type of automation result in reduced postage fees.
In CIS Infinity version 2, LOGIS staff runs Advanced Reports to identify all active addresses in an updated billing or notice batch. The data is saved as an Excel file, which is then mailed to the City to verify the addresses and confirm that the number of bills printed matches the number of addresses in the file. The spreadsheet is emailed to the Mailing Vendor to create the Qualification Report. One of the enhancements of CIS Infinity version 3 is the ability to generate a USPS Qualification Report for individual billing and notice batches prior to update, thereby a quicker mailing time for Utility Bills.
Mailers +4, a product of Melissa Data Corporation, is an Address Correction Software designed to reduce postage costs of bulk Utility Bill mailings. Within Mailers +4 a Coding Accuracy Support System certification report can be generated. CASS Certification is the process that ensures accurate carrier route, 9-digit ZIP +4 codes and delivery point barcodes are placed on mail pieces. A CASS report must accompany cycle bill and notice mailings to the USPS in order to qualify for postage automation discounts.
Bi-annually, LOGIS downloads all CIS Infinity version 2 addresses into the Mailers +4 software. The addresses are formatted and validated against the USPS table. Along with the CASS Certification report, an Address Error Report is generated. This document will list all addresses in your database that did not match the USPS database. These addresses must be manually corrected in your database for future compliance. Enhancements have been made in CIS Infinity version 3 to allow Utility Billing Cities to resolve addresses within the Mailers +4 software and upload the corrected addresses directly into your database.
The Fall Certification process for Utility Billing is approaching for 2010. This entire process assists cities obtain payments from residents for unpaid Utility Bills. Once the outstanding Utility amounts are not paid by an established date, the charges are certified to the owner’s property.
This entire process involves configuration, reconciliation, sending out letters to owners/tenants, applying a fee, and finally writing off the amounts on Utility Billing.
If you haven’t already, please fill out the pertinent documents and return to UB Support:
2010 Fall Certification Questionnaire
2010 Fall Certification Process
If you have questions or need the documents, please feel free to contact LOGIS Utility Billing Staff, at 763-543-2660.
LOGIS will be soon be upgrading all cities’ versions of CIS Infinity to ensure compliance with the new security standards set by the credit card industry. PCI DSS, which stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, is a set of requirements for enhancing payment data security. This standard helps organizations like LOGIS proactively protect customer account data.
CIS Infinity utilizes functionality to pay bills using credit cards and LOGIS will be upgrading each member to the PCI compliant version that is soon to be available from Advanced Utility Systems. These upgrades to CIS Infinity will need to occur by July 1, 2010.
If you have questions on this, please feel free to contact LOGIS Utility Billing Staff, at 763-543-2660.
In May, LOGIS completed the upgrade to Cisco Emergency Responder Version 7 on our servers for our membership. This upgrade was completed with minimal downtime (1 hour) and was tested at each of our members. This upgrade allows our members to take advantage of the latest phones offered by Cisco along with the enhancements offered in version 7.0.
In May, the Network Services group completed the first migration of our Citrix farms to XenApps version 6 and Windows 2008 with the successful cutover of our GL Inquiry application. Now we are focused on the migration of the Permit and Utility Billing applications. This upgrade allows us to take advantage of the Windows 2008 features of performance and memory allocation along with the XenApps 6 features.
Utility Billing Business Continuity Test
LOGIS completed a very successful business continuity and recovery test in May on our Utility Billing application. This recovery test involved bringing up the Utility Billing application and systems at our Brooklyn Center data center and operating out of this data center for 24 hours before reverting back to our Golden Valley data center.
This yearly recovery test is performed without the loss of data and is an essential part of our business practice to validate the LOGIS recovery plans and application systems, assure successful mirroring of data, and provide detailed cross training of staff.
LOGIS is in the process of upgrading the Advanced Utility Systems CIS Infinity software to Version 3. This is the current version of the software and it offers many functional improvements. The local system tables and free tables have been moved to the backend, which impacts the flow, functionality and performance of procedures and other processes. Below are a few of the enhancements Version 3 has brought to CIS Infinity:
Enhanced security features that protect data, fields and the system integrity.
More flexibility with processing data and using fields, menus, navigation bars and table profiles.
Faster and more accurate searching.
System-wide tracking of control table changes.
Enhanced system maintenance routine.
Enhanced menu features.
Grid settings can be customized per user by saving, restoring or clearing settings.
Crystal Reports upgraded to XI format.
In preparation of the CIS Infinity Version 3 upgrade project, 3 LOGIS representatives visited Advanced Utility Systems’ offices in Toronto, Canada to receive training on bill print, notice print, and control table configuration in Version 3. With this additional training, LOGIS staff has increased their knowledge and can effectively reduce the upgrade project time-line to 3 months. This aggressive schedule consists of 6 weeks of Soft Parallel testing, 4 – 6 weeks of Hard Parallel testing, and go-live.
Of all Utility Billing member cities, 4 were live on Version 3 as of January 11, 2010. Four more members will go live by the end of June, 2010. All of the remaining members will complete the upgrade to Version 3 by the end of June 2011.
The City of Woodbury joined the LOGIS consortium in 2009 for a solution to meet their Utility Billing software needs. After a six month implementation, Woodbury achieved a very successful go-live with CIS Infinity on January 11, 2010. They experienced only one conversion issue which was quickly addressed by Advanced Utility Systems. They went on to apply penalties to a residential and commercial cycle, and bill approximately 90 final bills and three cycles of over 6000 accounts just six days after going live. In addition, Woodbury has implemented functionality including automatic write-off of refunds and small balances and sending an electronic bill print file to their mailing vendor to print and mail their bills.
The Utility Billing Support staff looks forward to working with Woodbury and welcomes them to future UB User Group meetings to network with our other member cities.