Morristown, NJ, Aug. 8, 2003 – The latest CIS/CRM report from industry analyst Warren B. Causey, Ltd shows SPL WorldGroup as the largest current provider of customer systems to investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in the U.S.
The Causey survey of U.S. utilities shows SPL with a 10.7 percent market share among IOUs, as measured by the number of utility customers served. The report gauges SPL’s share of the municipal marketplace at 11 percent.
The report also identifies major U.S. market trends–“an assessment that is very similar to SPL’s,” says Dave Mulit, SPL’s General Manager for the Americas. “In essence, the report’s trend analysis helps explain SPL’s outstanding marketplace positioning.”
SPL’s Positioning and Causey Trends
The Causey report indicates, for example, that large utilities “are building out their customer-care capabilities with discrete software additions” (p. 31).
“We’ve seen that trend among our customers,” says Mulit. “In fact, SPL has already successfully implemented two of our discrete components–the rating engine and credit & collections–in the U.S.
“We have additional customers–including TXU and PSE&G,” Mulit continues, “who have implemented a package of customer care and billing services for commercial and industrial customers. Sometimes the C&I package is a prelude to a full system implementation; others use it as a discrete system component.
“In short,” Mulit concludes, “we’re already responding successfully to this trend.”
Integration is also a key to the future, according to the Causey report (Chapter 2).
“The need for integration plays to our strength,” Mulit comments. “Our use of industry standards means we can integrate into and interface with virtually any system out there. We also offer pre-packaged integration for even faster implementation.”
The Causey report sees “international and small utilities a[s] the primary viable markets for CIS vendors for the next couple of years” (p. 32).
Mulit points out that “SPL is already a global company, with customers and offices on six continents.”
Additionally, he says, “while our successes at large utilities tend to get the most media attention, we actually have more customers in the mid-tier and smaller-utility markets. Within North America, for instance, our customer base includes 27 municipally owned utilities, many of them quite small. In fact, our smallest customer–Washington County, Maryland–serves fewer than 6,000 customers.
“And we value them all,” he adds.
When the Causey report takes up the issue of CIS vs. CRM (p. 13), it points out that “there aren’t a lot of differences” between the two.
“We agree,” says Mulit. “In fact, we’ve been using the term Practical CRM to describe a number of CRM functions that our customers address with SPL products–call-center support and interfaces, specialized handling of niche customers, sales and marketing tasks, customer self-service, and many more.”
Because the market has been slow for the past two years and may be slow for the next several, the Causey report spends some time discussing vendor stability–the Number One issue for IOUs when they select a new system (p. 22).
“Stability is a real SPL strength,” says Mulit. “We’ve been in the software business for more than three decades. We have money in the bank. And we have a number of different revenue streams from around the world.
“What’s more,” he continues, “we own the products sold through joint marketing agreements. That means that if a partner chose to exit the business, we could continue to provide service, maintenance, and upgrades to affected customers without missing a beat.
“In short,” he concludes, “our customers know they can count on us.”
Mulit also sees SPL’s assessment of the importance of technology reflected in the Causey report (pp. 22-23).
“Last fall,” he says, “SPL undertook surveys of our own and competitors’ customers to help us better grasp the marketplace. While the sample was by no means ‘scientific,’ we found that 63 percent of SPL’s customers said technology excellence is the most important criterion in system selection. Only 31 percent of our competitors’ customers saw technology as Number One.
“So when the report indicates that technology is the most important issue for municipals and co-ops selecting a system, and that it’s the Number Two issue for IOUs,” Mulit concludes, “I feel more than confident about our ability to compete. Customers look at our product and know it’s the best.”
The Warren B. Causey, Ltd. CIS/CRM Report, Fourth Edition–2003, is available from Warren B. Causey, Ltd. ( http://www.wbcausey.com), a utility information company in Dallas, GA.
Established in 1994, SPL WorldGroup is a provider of customer management solutions. With a 100% record of successful implementations, SPL continues to demonstrate its place as the market leader, providing companies with flexible and scalable customer management solutions that offer a crucial advantage in an increasingly customer-centric environment–the proven ability to attract, nurture and maximize the value of customers through billing excellence and innovation in customer management, sales and marketing. With particular strength in energy sector markets that require multi-language, multi-jurisdiction, multi-currency, and multi-product service lines, SPL has delivered its customer management solutions to financial services, energy, water and waste management customers worldwide. The company employs more than 600 professionals in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.