Changing business needs push customer management technology upgrades in utility industry, study finds

ATLANTA, Jan. 7, 2002 – Volatile retail energy markets and ongoing uncertainty in the utility industry will drive a new wave of customer information system upgrades in the coming years, a new study indicates.

The just-released Chartwell CIS Report 2002 reports that, while current system upgrade projects slowed considerably since the pre-Y2K craze, utility executives need flexibility in their customer service technologies to adapt to increasing consumer expectations, regulatory requirements, competition and the need to reduce operational costs.

In addition, utilities don’t want to be left with obsolete technology shortly after a costly system upgrade, so many are looking at multiple vendors and “best-of-breed” software solutions to meet their future customer care needs, Chartwell researchers found.

Chartwell’s exclusive survey of 100 industry executives from both the customer service and information technology divisions at 100 electric, natural gas and water utility companies reveals that the majority of those plan customer management technology upgrades in the coming years – either system enhancements or replacements of their current technology. Implementation strategies also differ from those of years past, Chartwell researchers found.

The Chartwell CIS Report 2002 relies on both primary and secondary research – including interviews with more than 200 energy industry professionals. The 348-page report is divided into four sections:

* an industry analysis, which includes five chapters and 30 charts and graphs;

* case studies based on exclusive interviews with the utility professionals overseeing CIS and related system upgrades;

* profiles of more than 50 software vendors and systems integrators serving the utility industry; and

* data from the surveys from which this valuable data was gathered.

The report covers a variety of areas, including reasons for system implementation, CRM strategies, the various CIS vendors and solutions, outsourcing, and technology investments. The Chartwell CIS Report 2002 is now available from Chartwell Inc., a market research firm serving utilities and energy industry vendors with unbiased, thorough industry reports and periodicals. For more information about The Chartwell CIS Report 2002 or other Chartwell products and services, please call (800) 432-5879 or (404) 237-9099, or visit www.chartwellinc.com .

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