CRM and Outsourcing: Inventing the Modern Utility

Developments in IT, outsourcing, customer information and customer relationship systems are challenging long-held notions on essential operations.

New developments in IT, outsourcing, customer information systems, and customer relationship management are challenging long held notions about utilities’ essential operations.

CRM and Outsourcing: Outsourcing Growth?

A behind-the-scenes look at what industry influencers are saying.

Understanding the downstream effects of reading and billing from a customer’s meter in a near real-time scenario will increase significantly the data throughput into current customer information systems. Can current systems handle the volume increase? Will call centers have the capacity to handle increased call volumes once customers have access to smart meters and all that they imply? In this case, would outsourcing certain information technology processes be the answer to reducing a utility’s risk and costs?

Field-Force Management: What's New for the Mobile Workforce?

How the maturation of location tracking can increase efficiency.

To realize the enterprise benefits of field-force management, utility executives and managers should pay keen attention to advancements in real-time location tracking; fully extending mobile workforce management in the enterprise, back-end connectivity with enterprise-wide systems; and security of mobile applications.

Finding the Utility's Core

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?

Outsourcing: All It's Cracked Up to Be?

Despite several high-profile deals, utilities remain cautious about outsourcing their key business processes.

It seems that "outsourcing" has become a dirty word among utility executives. But though left unsaid in polite conversation, the word is still on everybody's mind. They might even be doing it. They just aren't talking about it.

The Bigger CIS Picture

Data Mining and Warehousing: Many utilities have no ability to turn raw customer information into significant insights about their business.

The customer-information system (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. They usually are not tuned for analysis or for easy reporting, so a single view of the customer and the business processes surrounding the customer does not exist in most of the systems in use today. Many utilities, as a result, are data rich but information poor. Enter the Data Warehouse.

Outsourcing, Reliability, and IT: When will the Three Meet?



Outsourcing, Reliability, and IT

When the grid collapses or a hurricane wipes out power to millions of customers, how does a customer information system (CIS) information technology (IT) manager ensure his or her outsourcing partner works as an extension of the IT organization by providing system reliability? When customer privacy of a competitor is questioned, how can the company be certain that the team members of the outsourcing partner have had sufficient background security checks, and that company data is safe?

Power Measurements

Energy trading returns, healthier and wiser.

Power Measurement

Energy trading returns, healthier and wiser.

The recent announcement of a trading joint venture between TXU and Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) is the latest in a series of positive news items supporting the return of energy trading. Wall Street firms continue to expand into the energy-trading sector, with Citigroup as well as CSFB moving into an area already well represented by the likes of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and UBS.

Managing Service Quality: The Customer Is Always Right

Service-quality improvements need to be thought through in advance and managed.

Service-quality improvements need to be thought through in advance and managed.

Customer information systems (CIS) are almost never justified and implemented to realize dramatic gains in quality of service. Revenue improvements? Yes. Rates management flexibility? You bet. Delinquency and write-off improvements? Sure. Statutory pressure, including introduction of deregulation? Maybe not as often these days, but still true. Technology consistency, supportability, and application integration? Absolutely.

CIS: The new Profit Machine

How IT can allow utilities to invest in customers-and even improve returns-without breaking the bank.

How IT can allow utilities to invest in customers-and even improve returns-without breaking the bank.

A high quality customer information system (CIS) at a utility company can build revenue streams and promote customer loyalty. But while those are admirable goals, it is not that simple to wade through all the various CIS systems and figure out what a company needs in order to achieve those benefits.