Special ECM Section
Deregulation, competition, and the back-to-basics utility strategy have created tremendous pressures for utilities to cut operating costs while improving customer service. In this environment, companies are being challenged to build the utility of the future-a lean provider of power generation, transmission, and distribution run tightly and efficiently, creating a low-cost, high-performance business.
This industry evolution is prompting leading utilities to look to specialist providers of outsourced services for their non-core functions. Following a strategy already common in other industries, energy providers have begun to outsource specific functions such as information technology (IT), finance and accounting, and human resources-even entire business processes-to outside providers.
Third-party providers, which often have unique expertise in the utilities industry, create economies of scale and help utilities better control their bottom line. For utilities, the bottom-line potential is electrifying.
In this quarterly ECM section, a series of articles reviews the different outsourcing and IT options that are available and what utilities should consider before adopting outsourcing and IT technologies. The articles address utility functional areas such as:
Human Resources: Accenture's Dan Sullivan and Diane Shelgren address the development in business process outsourcing (BPO) in HR (p. 56). Reliability and IT Security: Wipro's Rajiv Bahl reviews how to make sure outsourcing is compatible with utility reliability and IT initiatives (p. 59). Customer Care: Alliance Data Systems' Stephen Prince discusses how utilities can increase customer satisfaction through outsourcing ( p. 63). Advanced Processes & Metering: PJM offers an overview of how real-time pricing information is the key to utility efficiency, while Elster Electricity's Sharon Allan outlines the technologies needed to get utilities there ( p. 67).
While business process outsourcing is relatively new in the utility field, as compared with manufacturing and the technology industries, the challenges remain the same.
Whether you are a utility looking to outsource or are comparing outsource strategies, we hope you enjoy the magazine's forum.-
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