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Paul Hassell: Focusing on Utility Billing Users Long-Term Success


Paul Hasse brings a wealth of knowledge with project management into MuniBilling’s implementation process. Paul began his journey in 2005 focusing on project management in the healthcare industry. Those core skills allow him to lead MuniBilling’s implementation process in an efficient way that sets our clients up for long-term success.


Paul is an avid Georgia sports fan, from the Bulldogs to the Falcons to the Braves, and anything else Georgia – sports based.  Paul loves building model airplanes to relax and keep his mind occupied on the downtime. He frequents outlaw country and heavy metal concerts and has been known to get into a mosh pit or two. Paul has 3 grown kids who his world revolves around.


Q: What are the steps involved in the MuniBilling Implementation process from the user's perspective?

MunBilling takes a specific and unique phased approach to our implementation, which I love. As a project manager at heart, I love going into any kind of relationship with clearly defined plans and processes. I find that helps keep everyone on the same page and understand the full process and where they are.  

We’ve outlined our seven phase implementations process in depth elsewhere, but I will say that we really do strive to make it as straightforward as we can.

Inside of our implementations department, we take the approach that our utility billing implementation is not a “project to get finished” but really more as the beginning of the relationship with MuniBilling, which is an incredibly important distinction.

That viewpoint forces our team to think long-term about the client experience and how the implementation process should create not only immediate adoption of the software, but really a foundation for long-term success with a tool that helps to complete utility billing more efficiently.



Q: How do you think MuniBilling’s implementation approach unique in the industry?    

We REALLY focus on education at the core and setting them up for long-term success.

Our goal in implementation is for our clients to know as much as we do about not only our system but also utility billing best practices.   

We believe that by focusing on education, we’re able to provide a solid foundation of billing best practices and process efficiency so that these clients are setup for long-term success with our product, resulting in long-term satisfaction.

That’s different than most others in the software space, who’s focus is to get them in and out of the implementation as fast as they can.

It’s a lot like buying a super car, like a Lamborghini or a Ferrari, and then just being handed the keys without instructions on how to turn it on or drive it without crashing.



We try and be as helpful as possible so that when we hand over the keys of your utility billing system, you can confidently and safely drive it around the racetrack.


Q: What benefits do you believe individuals or organizations who undergo MuniBilling's long-term problem-solving approach receive in comparison to those who might instead opt for a more short-term solution?


I mean, who doesn’t like more guidance when they’re trying to do something new?

Especially something that could be complex like billing. Then you layer on the fact that you have this new system that changes your process, that’s a recipe for frustration.

I think the main benefit of our education and resource heavy approach is that by the time they go live, they’re subject matter experts in the platform right alongside of us AND have resources they can look back on to help them.  

Too many organizations view the project management implementation as atask oriented tactical exercise to “get the system up and running.”

A Fast implementation doesn’t always mean a successful implementation.

For our department, we really take to heart that implementations is a strategic process to define better business processes and set our client’s up for a long-term success.

Just by taking that approach, you can help organizations be setup for success because they’re not going to be as reliant on your team to actually use this new system they’ve purchased, which leads to more internal adoption, which leads to better long-term problem solving, which leads to ultimately more confidence that you’ve purchased a tool you’re going to get the most out of.

Q:  Do you have an example of an implementation you’ve gone through with a new tool that’s a “get the system up and running” approach?


In a past working life, I purchased a dashboarding solution that we thought was going to be able to really solve all our problems. It had great data reporting functionality, integrated into all the right things, and gave our executive team amazing insights into our platform.  

Unfortunately, though, it didn’t turn out to be the solution we hoped for.

Our implementation was taken in a fast, “get it done” approach. So they helped to to get the integrations connected, but when the data started flowing in, we realized that it wasn’t pulling over the depth of data that we needed.

By that point our implementation was over and we were on our own with this tool.

If we had been able to go through and work with a support team to help us look at the data it was pulling after it was setp, we would have been able to realize much faster that the tool wasn’t a good fit or work with our vendor to get it to work with the depth of data we needed.

That really would have saved that company a lot of time, effort, and heartache.  


Q: What are some things you’d recommend people be thinking about before starting to implement the software? Even maybe if they’re beginning to look for a replacement utility billing solution.


One common problem that we’re seeing has been around data extraction and data integrity or quality.

Before every engagement, we of course talk about process and problems, but we also have to get deep into the legacy system to ensure that the data works.

We always check to make sue that formats match, that we have all of the required fields we have in the system and anything else.

We’re finding that a lot of organizations have struggled with data collection or data retention in the past, which can slow things down during the process.

If you wait until you export out the data (or even worse find out that you can’t export it) to start looking into the quality of your data, that will obviously cause ANY system implementation to come to a screeching halt. 

When we’re thinking of ways to help with long-term software adoption  in the implementation process, data is central.

The system will only ever be as good as data that is in stored in it.

So, if we just were to import the data from the legacy system, full of errors or problems, that’s not going to make the new system work well at all.

If when entities are looking for solutions they can also start cleaning up data, even just correcting name formats and clearing out incomplete emails or phone numbers, that can really shave weeks off of an implementation. 



Q: As someone specializing in MuniBilling implementation, what is one of your favorite tool features that you believe adds significant value for users?


Honestly, I’m always amazed with how robust our billing engine really is.

I’m also really excited knowing some of the features that are coming up soon that will start to solve some real and specific problems for our customers. I’m excited to get my hands on some of that and set it up for clients.  

One other thing I HAVE to include that’s not a traditional feature, is our managed services team. I really think that is a secret weapon for any utility entity to create efficiency.  

There are so many utilities and other multi-fam organizations that just need more manpower and could really use help doing really time-consuming aspects of our business.

When you look at the overhead of hiring someone, paying for benefits, office space, computers AND training them to do it, that can really add up to be a painful hit to an organization who already has to watch margins and dollars spent like a hawk.

I think our managed services team does a great job at supplementing organizations in a logical and scalable way.

So they’re really there to add onto your organizations… And it’s usually cheaper than you think. 


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Paul Hassell is a passionate product manager, overseeing MuniBilling's implementations process. If you're interested in learning more about our product and services, signup for a personalzied demo of the MuniBilling system. 

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