More utilities integrate essential information systems with customer service, report shows

ATLANTA, Oct. 9, 2002 — As a result of ongoing systems integration efforts, customer service representatives at an increasing number of utilities are able to access vital data from outage management, geographical information and other essential systems. And this may very well translate into improved customer satisfaction.

This is among the Chartwell research findings reported in Systems Integration in the Utility Industry, a new report from Chartwell that focuses on utilities’ efforts to tie their information systems together to improve service levels. Recent Chartwell data shows the number of utilities integrating their geographical information systems (GIS) with customer information systems (CIS) increased 12% from 1999 to 2001, while the number of utilities integrating their CIS with outage management capabilities grew 6% in the same period.

This indicates that more utilities are taking steps to effectively communicate with customers by providing a means to report desired and accurate information through various customer contact channels. For example, as Chartwell’s research has shown, communicating with customers during a power outage can be just as important as timely restoration.

Utilities see the need to integrate a wide variety of technologies and processes — from call center interactive voice response units to outage management systems, GIS, computer-aided dispatch and workforce management. But this process is challenging — and costly.

Systems Integration in the Utility Industry, a part of the ongoing Chartwell CIS and Customer Service Research Series, offers examples of utility systems integration efforts and reports on the challenges behind those efforts, the approaches taken, and the benefits achieved. This report includes an analysis of the industry and three case studies — Dalton (Ga.) Utilities, FirstEnergy and Knoxville (Tenn.) Utilities Board.

Systems Integration in the Utility Industry is available from Chartwell. Membership subscriptions to the ongoing Chartwell CIS and Customer Service Research Series, which includes Systems Integration in the Utility Industry, comparable research reports each month, a monthly electronic newsletter and access to Chartwell’s exclusive industry research, is also available. For information, call Juli Collins 800.432.5879 or 404.237.9099, or visit www.chartwellinc.com .

Source: Chartwell Inc.

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