Customer information systems (CIS) have come a long way in ten years. New software is continually entering the energy market, promising increasingly flexible and affordable solutions to discontented retail power and gas companies. But is the grass always greener when using these new platforms?
Like many industries, retail energy is a race to the bottom for product pricing. Businesses are looking to differentiate their products but are operating under tight margins and must cut costs everywhere they can.
Market change is also adding to this complexity. Retail energy companies are now looking to penetrate new international markets, such as Japan and Mexico, but they are concerned their current CIS are inadequate.
Could more modern CIS, which also offer sophisticated ancillary capabilities such as forecasting, ISO integration and pricing capabilities, be the panacea to all their problems? In speaking to numerous retail suppliers, it would certainly seem as though they could.
So, what CIS should they choose? Many gas and electricity suppliers are grappling with the decision of whether to have multiple ‘best of breed’ solutions or one single system for all market scenarios, which is then customized accordingly.
In my experience, there’s no one-size fits all answer. Constant M&A activity amongst medium-sized suppliers means that many businesses are operating with not just one CIS, but a patchwork quilt of software. This makes evaluating, migrating, or consolidating CIS systems a very complicated process, especially when many of the efficiency and operational gains that suppliers are pursuing come from implementing both a new CIS as well as bolt-on modules from the same vendor.
So, what’s the best way forward? Read the five things retail power and gas companies should consider before moving platform.
For more information on our retail practice contact EnergySolutions@Capco.com.