The relationships between utilities and their customers are becoming more complex as a result of the deployment of smart grids. Utilities need billing and customer information systems (CIS) adequate to these more complex relationships, but those systems still face a number of barriers to adoption.
To reap the full benefits of the ongoing smart grid transformation, utilities must overcome those barriers and achieve more widespread, and deeper, adoption of advanced billing and CIS software and services.
“Initial enthusiasm in this market segment has been somewhat dampened by the realities of legacy transformation,” says Eric Woods, research director with Navigant Research. “Utilities face the challenge of justifying a considerable capital investment in a period of continued financial and economic uncertainty. However, new billing and CISs are still seen as an inevitable requirement for utilities — even if they are taking a more prudent approach to the necessary investment.”
Vendors have recognized that a cookie-cutter approach to billing and CIS transformation does not work, according to the report. Vendors need to approach utilities with the intention of becoming their long-term partner, not only for billing and CIS, but also in supporting them in their broader transformation.
This includes helping clients lower their billing and CIS costs across all activities with solutions for web billing, paperless invoicing, and electronic payment.