Tapping into the Full Potential of Your CIS & MDMS

CIS, MDMS, Red Clay

Continuous innovation is the name of the game among today’s utilities. To provide better service, which will help build stronger relationships with customers, companies are embracing brand new technologies to:

  • Pursue new lines of business
  • Expand partnerships
  • Improve overall customer experience (CX)

While there is room for “brand new” in the CX space, utilities must focus on getting the most out of their modern enterprise IT systems, specifically the Customer Information System (CIS) and Meter Data Management System (MDMS). Compared to their legacy counterparts, modern options have a significantly heightened ability to help utilities meet and exceed customer expectations. This we know.

But a modern system alone won’t help utilities reach their customer experience goals. Knowing how to best leverage these systems to deliver a better customer experience is critical. This is where skilled and experienced, third-party utility system integration (SI) providers come into the picture.

Breaking Down Internal Silos

SI’s can bring stakeholders together, from traditionally siloed IT and business functions, towards a common purpose. This is important because managing the CIS and MDMS in silos leads to a lack of cross-departmental communication and data leaks. Sharing data among systems is critical to successful CX projects.  Workflows are negatively impacted when information is not passed freely across the organization.

Siloed teams also traditionally struggle with cross-functional problem resolution, which leads to confusion around priorities and expectations. The visibility created by updated IT systems creates cross-functional teams with clear roles and responsibilities.

Moreover, SI’s can:

  • Enrich meter-to-cash features
  • Provide bump up support for system integration
  • Optimize the CIS to track customer preferences
  • Provide a single view of all customers across all channels in their system

Focusing on System Data

A key strategy for breaking down silos isn’t just about departments and people. It’s also about sharing data. Leveraging data analytics to get a clear understanding of what really matters to your customers is extremely valuable and possible with data generated from the CIS and MDMS. This can also enable you to forecast asset costs, perform predictive maintenance before failures occur, and ultimately extend the life of assets. Data can help identify potential areas of weakness in the grid, and measure customers’ tolerance for minor outages.

Utility Snapshot

Red Clay Consulting partnered with a large, regulated utility to help them adopt Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and prepaid meters. The utility, that serves over 1 million customers, was looking for new revenue streams to mitigate flat and declining revenue. It needed a scalable solution that would be able to support their upcoming initiatives, meet evolving customer demands, and offer a 360-degree view of their customers to improve overall customer satisfaction.

The project, which won the “Implementation Project of the Year” award at the 2020 Oracle Utilities User Group conference, included the implementation of:

  • CIS (within Oracle’s C2M solution) in a PaaS environment
  • Oracle Cloud Service (Eloqua)
  • Oracle Customer Self Service (CSS)
  • Oracle Analytics
  • Oracle Golden Gate (OGG)
  • Oracle Data Integrator (ODI)-based Oracle Utilities Analytics
  • Primary site and disaster recovery hosted on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI)

Below is a snapshot of the challenges they faced and what they needed in a technology platform.

Business Challenge

Platform Needs

Extremely diverse portfolio of products and services (electricity supply, maintenance of all electrical equipment and lights, internet, EVs, Charging Stations, bicycles, TVs, appliances, etc.)

  • Present and promote all products and services
  • Allow utility to develop creative offers (does not limit Celsia on what they sell)

Portfolio constantly changing

  • Introduce and/or change products and services quickly
  • Market new offers

Conducts business in B2B and B2C environments

  • Can tailor products and services for both B2B and B2C environments
  • Allows utility to create different packages for both groups

Offers & service packages can be negotiated before contracting

  • Allows and manages interactive negotiation, and modifications of an offer or package before contracting
  • Orchestrates and enforces required approvals of changes to the offers (especially lowering of prices) according to Celsia’s business rules

Bureaucratic organization

Contracting of any product or service requires the completion of several forms

  • Issues forms in digital format
  • Automates process of requesting and completing forms

Some contracts can’t be closed until fieldwork activities and verifications are completed

  • Integrates with other fieldwork applications
  • Manages contracting process (contract for internet service requires physical verification of location eligibility before contract can be “closed” and billing can commence)

The project included a single-instance implementation of C2M, Analytics, and Customer Self Service in an IaaS/PaaS infrastructure that interfaces with the entire suite of customer experience applications. The implementation included fifteen different integrations using Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC) which allows them to manage all their customers and products under one unified platform.

Today the utility has the capacity to setup a new, simple product within the solution, and offer it to the customers in a matter of hours, with only minor adjustments to OIC (when additional data is required for the new product). They are leveraging Oracle CX to identify customer prospects and market their extensive portfolio to potential clients, producing new revenue streams to augment declining revenue.

While there are several new and emerging technology solutions helping utilities offer a better customer experience (CX), companies should consider the utility project mentioned above and remember to tap further into the CIS and MDMS. By engaging with a third-party system expert, it’s possible to make sure you’re getting the most out of your solutions, which includes breaking down silos between departs, employees, and data.

In The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers, the book’s author writes, “Breaking down silos can spark innovation in unexpected ways.” Because continuous innovation in CX is what is expected of today’s utilities, breaking down silos to share system data is a good avenue to pursue. 

Mike Cocroft

Mike Cocroft

Chief Strategy Officer, Red Clay Consulting

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