Data Mining and Warehousing: Many utilities have no ability to turn raw customer information into significant insights about their business.
Bill Barnett is a development manager for Innoprise Software Inc. He has more than 20 years of experience with customer information systems, utility billing systems, and financial and public-safety applications.
In the utility industry, any discussion of improvements in either customer or revenue management requires consideration of the critical importance of the customer-information system (CIS). Pivotal to effective customer and revenue management, the CIS typically contains the vast majority of information needed to achieve the best possible levels of customer satisfaction. It also houses much data critical to a utility's operational efficiency. The CIS is the system of record for both customer and meter data, and in combination with asset databases, these information repositories comprise the lifeblood of every utility.
Although CIS modules typically are integrated for billing, account management, meter reading, credit and collection, work orders, rate management, and customer contact, they usually are not tuned for analysis or for easy reporting, and while almost all of the utility's customer interaction, revenue, and work order functions are handled through the CIS, a single view of the customer and the business processes surrounding the customer does not exist in most of the systems in use today.