In today’s technological era, consumers are becoming increasingly tech savvy and customer expectations are higher than ever. In fact, the demand for a customer-centric experience is currently reshaping the utility industry, driving companies to create unique and enhanced engagements for their consumers. However, as utilities look for alternatives to improve their operations and deliver a superior customer experience (CX), they are choosing to integrate legacy systems and modern components, which result in issues such as higher costs, complexity, and lack of flexibility.
Utilities understand that in order to operate effectively, systems that support meter-to-cash processes, field services, meter data, and customer self-service portals, all need to work in harmony. In many cases there is a misconception in the industry that integrating best-of-breed solutions is the best way to enhance CX. These companies have been led to invest in a variety of business applications from multiple providers to fill system gaps. However, a plug-and-play approach requires complex integrations that make it difficult for utilities to a create seamless CX and need to be supported to maintain a healthy environment.
Some utility vendors believe that bolt-on CRM solutions are an attractive alternative to replacing a legacy CIS. However, as utilities are presented with new obstacles in the market, such as competition or disruptive events, they will quickly understand that the lack of a utility specialized CRM and an inflexible CIS will affect their customers. Without flexibility and agility within both front and back-office processes, these systems rarely deliver on the lofty promises of achieving world-class CX.
To deliver a superior customer experience and operate efficiently, utilities should consider an end-to-end cognitive solution that incorporates a flexible and holistic CIS with top-of-class AI capabilities. With a cognitive CIS solution, utility companies can drive their digital transformation, gaining an abundance of benefits, with fewer integration headaches:
- Holistic solution that improves utilities’ customer experience – With a holistic CIS, utilities can avoid maintaining multiple customer driven solutions and rely on a single database that requires no synchronization, no interfaces, and overall real-time information across the board. This homogeneous product platform transforms a siloed transactional ecosystem into one that is customer experience driven.
- Intelligent platform that enhances process automation and proactive actions – With the use of smart workflows, business rules, and AI, utilities can transform their operations by streamlining their processes with ease. By using optimization algorithms, the software compares different solutions and eliminates the least efficient ones, facilitating predictive decision-making and forecasting to maximize efficiencies and personalization of company processes. Other tools such as image recognition can help identify real objects, making it easier for utility companies to execute field activities, report on components that need maintenance, enhance safety, and automate tasks.
- Freedom to choose the best-suited delivery model (cloud or on-premise) with an easy transition – Cloud-based architecture solutions offer cost-effective access to high availability capabilities, ease of scalability, and agility to keep pace with technology evolution. These solutions offer the same range of functionality whether implemented on-premise or on the cloud, giving utilities the freedom to choose the deployment and service model that best suits their business goals.
- Continuous updates that support the evolution of new business models – Utilities are under constant pressure to keep up with ever-changing market trends and customer expectations. A cognitive CIS allows for continuous and non-disruptive updates, giving utilities the agility to evolve at the industry’s pace while guaranteeing availability, performance, usability, and security.
- Seamless integration across all systems – Using embedded processes, customer facing processes will work reliably, allowing utilities to focus on value-added technology.
- Flexibility that accelerates time-to-market and boosts innovation capabilities – A cognitive CIS covers all core customer processes using a flexible and modern platform with out-of-the-box functionality and minimal customization. This solution uses configuration, smart workflows, and business rules to support utilities’ present and future business needs. These best-in-class tools allow utilities to focus on innovations and enables them to execute new, strategic initiatives.