Case Studies

Conet-Tech Case Studies

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Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal

Case Overview
Created to resolve disputes between residential landlords and tenants, the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal receives 75,000 applications, conducts 34,000 hearings, produces 78,000 orders, and fields 800,000 calls every year. Wanting to improve customer service by automating its customer application process, ORHT turned to Conet-Tech, Cyberplex and Systemgroup, to assist in the creation of an online e-filing and scheduling system.

Customer Overview
Dealing with a nosy landlord or unruly tenant can be frustrating, particularly if outside help is needed to resolve the situation. In Ontario, landlords and tenants turn to the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal (ORHT) for help.
Designed to resolve disputes between residential landlords and tenants, the ORHT receives 75,000 applications, conducts 34,000 hearings, produces 78,000 orders, and fields 800,000 calls every year. With a staff of 280, the mandate of the ORHT is to provide education, mediation and adjudication services in a fair and timely manner.

Business Challenge
To settle disputes, applications must be filed for a hearing in person, via fax or by mail, which can be time consuming. To fulfill the ORHT’s ongoing mission to provide fast and efficient customer service, IT executives realized that technology could play a primary role by automating the filing and scheduling processes.

The goal is to open the application process to the Internet, so tenants and landlords can save time.
The customer service challenge ORHT faced was changing a complex procedure to a simple, intuitive process that a first-time user could understand without assistance. Technically, the new solution has to integrate with existing case management systems and be built on a scaleable platform for future initiatives.


Results
With the help of Conet-Tech, Cyberplex and Systemgroup, ORHT will be able to deliver a comprehensive e-filing and scheduling solution. ORHT clients will be able to go online 24/7 to file applications, choose a hearing date and have payments processed within minutes. This new solution offers clients a user friendly interface for filing and scheduling hearings – a first for judicial agencies in Canada.

ORHT estimates that the new e-filing system improved the customer service relationship and will lead to an average time savings of 20 minutes per application. Additionally, because the validation of application data occurs in real-time, ORHT employees don’t have to go back to manually verify data, resulting in faster resolutions for the client. Landlords and tenants in remote areas or overseas also benefit by not having to physically travel to an ORHT office.

They take their mission to deliver mediation and adjudication services in a fair and timely manner seriously.

With the success of this project’s use of Microsoft .NET-based Web services, ORHT will be able to extend its services through direct connection with larger clients. This application will eventually allow us to go to a completely business to business system. The XML file we developed for this profiling process will allow our larger customers, such as condominium owners, to file their applications within their own system, without having to go onto the ORHT Web site.

As a result of the power and flexibility of .NET, ORHT will be able to deliver comprehensive e-filing and scheduling, offering clients a user-friendly interface for filing and scheduling hearings online – a first for judicial agencies in Canada, and reducing application process time by approximately 20 minutes.


The technologies
- Visual Studio .NET and Microsoft .NET Framework 1.0, C#, ASP.Net, ADO.Net
- Windows Server and SQL Server Enterprise Manager, IIS
- Microsoft Project, Microsoft MapPoint .NET, Web Services



 

 

Solution
To build an online e-filing and scheduling application, ORHT turned Conet-Tech, Cyberplex and Systemgroup. Together, they helped to consult and mentor ORHT developers throughout the project, and assisted in the development of the architecture and design.

The development team built the new solution on the Microsoft .NET Framework using Visual Studio .NET and ASP.NET for the front end. To connect the front end to the existing Oracle 9i database backend, they are using Web services. Web services also acts as the communicator with the credit card processing application, which was developed internally by the Ontario Government.

We used Web services extensively. In fact it's the underpinning of the whole solution architecture.
The new solution also includes the ability to save a partially completed application, should clients get interrupted in the process of filing. The XML file is saved on their local computer for future use. Additionally, frequent filers such as condominium (apartments) owners have the option of saving an application profile to eliminate entering the same data multiple times.


 



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