Public utility holding company
Delivering great service to millions of customers even during acquisition integration
Inside view of large pipes in utility company

By working with IBM Services to consolidate the new acquisition onto its Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing system, the company integrated the two companies’ systems rapidly, delivering accurate, on-time billing and total customer satisfaction.

Business challenge

This energy utility sought to integrate a major acquisition onto its main billing system. The objective was to complete a smooth transition, with particular focus on the integration of the two customer billing systems, making every possible effort to ensure its very high customer satisfaction levels.

Transformation

The company successfully migrated the new acquisition to its Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing system, with help from IBM Services, and made enhancements to improve efficiency.

Results Provides
all customers with efficient, accurate billing
Boosts
efficiency by consolidating to a single set of standardized systems
Offers
a strong foundation for driving profitable growth
Business challenge story
Spotlight on service excellence

As competition in the U.S. national energy market heats up, success depends more than ever on offering a responsive service that meets and exceeds customer expectations. To keep customers satisfied, companies manage every aspect of the customer lifecycle—from service connection and billing to payments processing and collections.

This large U.S. company relies on Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing (CC&B) to drive efficient, accurate billing across multiple channels, whether customers choose to pay online, over the phone, by mail or in person.

“Oracle Utilities CC&B is an absolutely mission-critical system; we use it to manage billing for the millions of customers that we serve,” comments the Chief Information Officer. “The solution helps us to ensure that customers are billed accurately and on time, keeping their satisfaction high and maximizing our revenue generation.”

In 2013, the company acquired a natural gas utility, which nearly doubled the total enterprise footprint. To fully capitalize on the opportunities afforded by the acquisition, the company needed to ensure that the acquired systems and processes were seamlessly integrated into existing operations, including customer information systems.

“The acquisition aligns with our strategy for driving growth and increases the value we provide to both shareholders and customers,” explains the Chief Information Officer. “As our companies were brought together, we were committed to making the most of our combined scale and ensuring the highest service levels possible by applying best practices and systems.

“We decided to consolidate the new acquisition onto our existing Oracle Utilities CC&B environment. To minimize disruption to the business and our customers, we knew that we needed to ensure an efficient, seamless migration.”

With help from IBM Global Business Services, we have established a strong foundation that will help us ensure better quality and consistency of service. Chief Information Officer
Transformation story
Calling the experts

The company led the migration project itself, dedicating a skilled team to steer the systems integration work. To augment the capabilities of its internal resources, the company decided to call in assistance from external providers to deliver specialist expertise at key points throughout the project.

“Our teams have built up excellent knowledge of Oracle applications and other enterprise systems over the years, and we knew that they would be the best people to drive this project,” says the Chief Information Officer. 

“At the same time, we recognized that they did not necessarily have the specialist knowledge required to complete some of the more technical aspects of the migration, which led us to seek an external provider who could help fill these skill gaps.”

The company selected IBM Services as one of its key partners: “We established a very flexible contract with IBM Services, which allowed us to fill key roles on our migration project as and when needed. When we identified a need for a certain set of skills, our program manager would contact the IBM project manager to outline our requirements, and they would assign a suitable resource for as long as we required—the process couldn’t have been easier.

“IBM Services ended up filling a number of key roles on the project, including the technical configuration lead, chief architects and programming experts.”

With IBM Services providing expert guidance and support throughout the project, the company was able to steer a successful migration, consolidating its new acquisition on the Oracle Utilities CC&B system.

“This was our first engagement with IBM Services and we have been very impressed with the quality of the resources they have provided,” comments the Chief Information Officer. “Working with IBM has been a great experience—their consultants have excellent knowledge of Oracle applications and took a very professional and disciplined approach to the project.

“With support from IBM Services, we were able to guide a smooth migration and go live without any issues, achieving our goal of a seamless transition. This total system changeover, including helping our acquired customers understand their newly designed bills, was accomplished successfully while maintaining overall customer satisfaction scores.”

Additionally, IBM re-platformed the company’s enterprise integration architecture onto Oracle Fusion Middleware solutions. Once again, the IBM Services team provided key staff augmentation services, re-engineering dozens of integrations between the Oracle Utilities CC&B platform and other enterprise systems—including IBM® Maximo® Asset Management, used to track and manage assets across its vast distribution network.

“We found the IBM team’s expertise around Oracle Fusion Middleware to be a great advantage,” says the Chief Information Officer. “By drawing on their design skills and architecture expertise, we have enhanced our integration layer to build better connections between our enterprise applications. Everything now works together much more reliably, and we can make sure that information on customers, assets and operations flows seamlessly across the organization.”

Results story
Supporting a booming business

By successfully integrating the acquired company’s systems and processes with its own operations, the enlarged utility has realized greater economies of scale, keeping its business on track for profitable growth.

“Moving to one set of standard systems will be a great efficiency driver,” notes the Chief Information Officer. “For example, we have been able to shut down one data center, which has delivered significant cost savings. What’s more, refining our integration layer and Oracle applications means that we benefit from a more stable system and spend less time dealing with interfacing errors, saving valuable time and effort.”

Even more important than these efficiency gains, the company can be sure to deliver consistent, responsive service to customers—even as its business continues to grow.

“The enhancements we have made to our Oracle application landscape gives us the agility we need to ensure stellar customer service and meet the changing demands of our growing business. With help from IBM Services, we have established a strong foundation that will help us ensure better quality and consistency of service to our customers as we move into new geographies and ventures.”

Public utility holding company

This public utility holding company focuses on the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas service to around two million residential, commercial and industrial customers in the U.S.
 

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To learn more about IBM and Oracle solutions, contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/consulting/oracle

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