Utilities Case Studies

Posted on

ProCom’s utility industry experience has involved all business processes and systems from meter/consumption to cash; all related financial systems; and business intelligence reporting systems. ProCom and members of our team have worked with large and small gas, electric, competitive gas, competitive electric, and communications utilities.

Here are just three examples of our numerous projects over the last 20 years. Please contact us for case examples that relate to your particular situation.

Post-Merger Integration: Rescue of a Process Transformation Initiative in Order to Protect Revenue and Customers

This regulated utility was in the midst of a major effort to modernize, transform, and replace all legacy customer-facing business processes and systems following numerous acquisitions, when it realized that it was going to miss the conversion deadline. This very complex and challenging project was already far over budget, with no end in sight. Even more critical, the project’s current trajectory was going to adversely affect over 900,000 customers and potentially fail to deliver the expected synergies. Much of this had occurred, because the current project participants lacked specific utility process consolidation experience and skills in the arcane legacy systems that were involved. ProCom was brought in to take over responsibility for program management, complete the development activity and manage the conversion.

Applying our proprietary conversion methodology, ProCom set up a new Program Management Office (PMO), developed realistic program and project management plans, reorganized the project and reporting relationships, and established a strict governance structure. We implemented new testing and reporting methods, including the ProCom approach to comparative rating and billing for zero-error conversion. We also set up new procedures for quality control and conversion readiness. The conversion and overall consolidation were a success. The project met the new deadlines and budgets, and there was no adverse impact on revenue or customers. The success of this project against all odds resulted in our becoming the involved software vendor’s go-to for saving failing implementations of their product.

Process Standardization: Standardized ERP processes and systems for reduced costs and an improved customer experience

Because of its growth and evolution, this gas utility had come to use a wide variety of ERP processes and systems, including finance and supply chain, to manage its far-reaching operations in multiple states. In addition to missing out on potential efficiencies, the company was relying on legacy software that no longer met its needs and ran the risk of violating regulatory requirements. Beyond just implementing new software, the company realized the value of transforming its processes and standardizing across the company in order to reduce costs, improve supply chain effectiveness and improve customer service. Recognizing the value of ProCom’s expertise on both the new software and the unique quirks of utility legacy processes, the company asked ProCom to lead the effort.

Using the proprietary ProCom conversion methodology, we provided all program management leadership and a new governance process. This transformation effort required coordination across dozens of organizations involving thousands of people being asked to change the way they had always done their jobs. We led the development efforts and managed the initiative to a successful conversion on time and on budget, delivering the expected results. The company had a new, comprehensive and consistent set of processes and systems across operations. It was poised to realize cost savings, improve vendor relations and provide better customer service.

Improving the Customer Experience at a Power Company: Empowering the Work Force to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience through Mobile Technology

Much of a customer’s attitude toward its electric utility is shaped through interactions with the field personnel. Great customer service extends beyond a pleasant demeanor and showing up on time. It also occurs when the field workforce has tools and access to information for repair, establishing new service, or solving a customer problem more quickly. This major provider of electric power felt there could be opportunities to take advantage of mobile technologies in new, innovative ways. Senior management asked ProCom to help it figure out what those were.

Drawing on our mobile technology workforce expertise, we analyzed the current state of the market, where it was going, and what technologies could address the unique needs of a utility in terms of security, functionality, viability, and the capacity to integrate with other processes and systems. We developed a mobile computing strategy for the company. We also developed and conducted an executive workshop to educate company leaders on the potential of these technologies and the realities of implementing them. As a result, the company has been steadily adopting these capabilities to improve operational efficiencies and the customer experience in the field.