Incentives, staffing, and benchmarking in a tight economy.
David W. Sosa, Ph.D., and Virginia Perry-Failor
In several recent utility rate cases, regulators have disallowed portions of utility compensation expenses, on the basis that difficult local economic conditions justify pay cuts. However, when utilities begin squeezing their uniquely qualified technical and management staffs, performance can suffer. Analysis Group authors David W. Sosa and Virginia Perry-Failor review experiences at several companies to show how an evidentiary approach will help utilities avoid disallowances of critical compensation for valued employees.
Employees will account for up to 80 percent of contact center budgets in the increasingly demanding world of customer interaction. Such a substantial investment cannot be left to chance, yet, it is often overlooked and rarely reviewed by managers.
"Beyond lowering operating costs, workforce optimization solutions allow for quick decision making, which helps resolve customer issues.”
Like many other industries in which employee performance is crucial to the customer experience, the utility industry provides an essential commodity to the public. As they are often under intense scrutiny, utility companies must also take steps to minimize their exposure to liability issues.
Past accomplishments and future plans.
Policy makers in the E.U. and the United States are taking different approaches to facilitating smart grid development. While both regions are setting standards that the rest of the world likely will follow, they also face difficult challenges in resolving issues around cost recovery, customer engagement and workforce preparedness.
Building a workforce for today’s utility landscape.
Victor Synylo and Philip McLemore
Utilities can attract a new generation of employees by emphasizing the transformation the industry now faces, and the immense opportunity it creates. Matching mature workers’ vast experience with new technologies can provide unique perspectives that knowledge of new technologies alone can’t provide.
Ad hoc approaches will fall short when the workforce crisis strikes.
Utilities are headed for trouble. A critical shortage of skilled employees likely will worsen. And overcoming the workforce gap will require viewing it as a strategic issue, and taking a comprehensive, fact-based approach.
Strategic pain points require an artful approach.
Monica Benner and Mani Vadari
Utilities are at the threshold of some of the most significant changes they have faced in their history, rivaling the passage of PUHCA in 1935. This change emanates primarily from a handful of key business drivers associated with major technological improvements (i.e., AMI, smart grid), the need for increased customer focus, increased regulatory mandates, and a changing workforce.
Increasing prices for materials, equipment and services are driving utility infrastructure costs into uncharted territory.
Greg Basheda and Marc Chupka
The evidence is overwhelming: After a decade of relatively stable, or even declining, construction costs, the industry is now facing a prolonged period of elevated construction price tags. What are the causes behind this trend, and how might the cost increases translate into higher rates?
Lessons from the top 40 utilities.
(September 2007) A senior executive at Accenture broadens the financial metrics behind the Fortnightly 40 to expound on the high performance behind this year’s ratings—and show the way for utilities aspiring to make the list in future years.
Utilities are learning how smart-grid data will interface with CIS and other back-office systems. Meters and middleware are rapidly evolving in this brave new world.
The manager of technology services for Phoenix-based Salt River Project (SRP) is tasked with implementing a revolutionary process for one of the most progressive public power utilities in the country. Specifically, he is working to integrate data from SRP’s smart meters (140,000 and counting) into the utility’s back-office processes—particularly customer service and billing.
Where should outsourcing end—and the real utility begin?
When utilities evaluate business process outsourcing, they need to determine which processes are most advantageous to outsource—core or non-core? Rather than debating the merits of core or non-core, perhaps the more critical questions utilities should ask are: How are our key processes performing? Are they cost-efficient and effective? Do they enhance or inhibit our corporate performance?