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5th Annual CIS for Utilities: Refresh, Retire or Replace Your Existing System?

Event Description and Agenda:

Today's utility customers expect similar treatment and choices to what they receive from other non-utility service providers, such as:

  • Mobile applications that allow instant access and analysis of their bill
  • Automatic one-touch transactions for bill payment
  • New customer activities
  • Services selection
  • Energy control choices

As the utility industry evolves and the "millennial generation" become household budget decision-makers, traditional utility customer touch-points will expand and become more important to all stakeholders.

The CIS of both today and the future must be flexible and adaptive to accommodate the habits of these decision-makers, who are often less accepting of traditional CIS methods that worked with prior generations of consumers. Utilities are responding accordingly, as they are seeing an increase in residential and business customers giving steadily improving ratings for customer care functions such as billing, payment and call centers. A big part of this success has been their leveraging of the extensive data that are now available through CIS/CRM systems, which increases the level of self-management information and functionality and correlates with improved customer satisfaction levels for utilities. Even so, utilities need to be able to interact with customers in a manner consistent with fluid regulatory and customer expectations. And, in order to do this, they need to invest in more robust CIS capabilities.

EUCI's 5th annual CIS conference will bring together thought-leaders among utilities, industry experts and solution providers, who will take a deep dive into the issues, pain points and resolutions around CIS. The takeaways will further inform utilities on how to define a CIS strategy that can accommodate the customer of today and the future.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

12:30 - 1:00 p.m. :: Registration

1:00 - 1:10 p.m. :: Conference Overview

1:10 - 1:30 p.m. :: Conference Welcome

On behalf of Entergy — an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations — Lauren Kenney (Vice President, Entergy) will welcome her power industry colleagues. Ms. Kenney will give her perspective on what is necessary to continue to improve ratings for customer care functions in today's rapidly changing world.

Lauren Kenney, Vice President of Regulatory Services, Entergy


1:30 - 2:00 p.m. :: CIS Replacement: A Comprehensive Look at the New Age of Risk Mitigation through the Eyes of Dakota Electric

Because the billing and customer information system (CIS) is the lifeblood of the utility, avoiding project overruns and failures is of primary importance. While the ‘usual suspects' are still very much a threat - insufficient executive support, an inexperienced system integration team and insufficient implementation resources - present-day factors are adding new complexities to traditional risks and presenting all-new roadblocks. These include the economy, evolving energy policy, the proliferation of new technologies and an increasing need for effective customer engagement, among others.

Whether you intend to transform your system during the next 12 months or three years down the road, early-the-better-planning, including fully understanding the risks and how to mitigate them will, will significantly boost your likelihood of delivering a successful project. This session will provide a comprehensive look at modern day CIS replacement and problems that utilities are experiencing stemming from inadequate planning. Primary and secondary research conducted by TMG Consulting and RIM Solutions will be coupled with learnings from an in-progress CIS implementation of UMAX at Dakota Electric through an interview format. Attendees will walk away with a thorough understanding of the risks ahead and actionable insights into how to avoid them through strategic planning.

Sherie Wutschke, CIS/Billing Manager,Dakota Electric Association

Vanessa Edmonds, President, RIM Solutions LLC

2:00 - 2:45 p.m. :: Streamlining Customer Operations When Consolidating Operating Companies

TECO Energy has four different operating systems and the utility found itself relying on disparate customer information systems (CISs). To streamline operations and improve customer service, it wanted to consolidate and support all of its CIS activities and information on one platform. In this session, hear the best practices that TECO used to efficiently and smoothly transition to one CIS platform and streamline customer operations.

Aundrea Jackson, Director of Customer Service, TECO Energy

Tina Mary, Manager of Support Services, TECO Energy

2:45 - 3:15 p.m. :: Networking Break

3:15 - 4:15 p.m. :: Regulatory Treatment of a CIS Replacement

Utilities realize that keeping their customer information system (CIS) responsive to regulatory and business needs is a challenging endeavor, especially in the context of today's operating environment. Utilities must consider the state of the economy, evolving energy policy and the proliferation of new technologies when considering investment options for their CIS. In this session, a regulator a utility executive and an industry expert discuss regulatory considerations when considering replacing a CIS.

The Hon. Lauren ‘Bubba' McDonald Jr., Commissioner, Georgia Public Service Commission

Brian Burns, Director Regulatory Strategy, Entergy

Akbar Jazayeri, Senior Manager, Ernst & Young

4:15 - 5:00 p.m. :: Panel Discussion: Regulatory Treatment

The experts who spelled out their viewpoints in the prior session will discuss how utilities can reliably serve customers by delivering their services at predictable and reasonable rates. A key to accomplishing this is the utility's CIS, which needs to be responsive to the ever-changing regulatory and business needs.

The Hon. Lauren ‘Bubba' McDonald Jr., Commissioner, Georgia Public Service Commission

Jay Lewis, Vice President Regulatory Policy, Entergy

Akbar Jazayeri, Senior Manager, Ernst & Young

5:00 - 6:00 p.m. :: Networking Reception


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

8:00 - 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 - 9:45 a.m. :: Utilities Exploring CIS Replacement

This session will consist of several utility case study overviews of potential CIS replacement. Utility specialists will discuss the nuances of their efforts and what they anticipate will be necessary in future initiatives as they evaluate the upgrading or replacement of their CIS.

Allison Payne, Business Technology Manager, Pacificorp

Steve Demott, Manager Customer Projects and System Support, PECO Energy

Jenifer White, Revenue Billing and Controls Manager, Alabama Power (Southern Company)

10:00 - 10:30 a.m. :: Morning Networking Break

10:30 - 11:30 a.m. :: Panel Discussion - "Where Assumptions End and Utilities Speak Up"

The utility specialists who spelled out their various programs in the prior session will discuss the challenges and opportunities that are driving utility leaders to seek a new CIS and what they need from solution providers to make the best possible decisions. For utilities, this session will provide the opportunity to shape the products and services entering the market, get ahead of solution developments, and save time and increase clarity by influencing the relevancy of marketing efforts. Utilities will address such questions as:

  • What should be valued most — people, technology or price?
  • What marketing materials, product literature or otherwise, would be helpful in the decision-making process?
  • What information is most credible for validating a CIS solution's credibility —
    • Case studies?
    • References?
    • Product materials?
    • Other/what?


Vanessa Edmonds, President, RIM Solutions LLC


Sherie Wutschke, CIS/Billing Manager, Dakota Electric Association

Allison Payne, Business Technology Manager, Pacificorp

Steve Demott, Manager Customer Projects and System Support, PECO Energy

Jenifer White, Revenue Billing and Controls Manager, Alabama Power (Southern Company)

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. :: The Role of CIS Functionality in the Business Case: Breakout Session

What role does specific functionality of the CIS have in providing inputs to the business case? Have requirements for the CIS changed dramatically? Do requirements vary for different types of utilities (IOUs, Munis, Coops)? Do functional requirements provide value in the business case? This interactive session will attempt to answer these questions with help from the audience. Bring along your organizational challenges…

Jon Brock, President, Desert Sky Group LLC

12:30 - 1:30 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:30 - 2:30 p.m. :: The CIS of Today and the Future: A Vendor Panel Discussion

The impacts of integration, data extraction, business process and aging workforce challenges to legacy CIS have resulted in a recognition by many utilities that their existing CIS cannot be made to support their anticipated business requirements without replacement or modification. In this segment, vendors take on audience inquiries as to how their CIS solutions have become more easily scalable and how they can be deployed to mitigate risks inherent in the industry.


Mario Bauer, CEO, TMG Consulting


Dave Ennis, Senior Manager, Oracle Utilities

Steve Wenke, Managing Partner, AAC Utility Partners

Maureen Coveney, Executive Vice President, Vertex

Steve Obosnenko, Director, PwC

Guy Tennant, CTO, Hansen Technologies

2:30 - 3:15 p.m. :: System Conversions to Improve Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Billing

This session will describe one of the largest transformational projects completed in the history of Pepco Holdings, Inc. and its utilities serving customers in four separate regulatory jurisdictions. SolutionOne is a project that successfully replaced two legacy customer information systems (CIS) with a new state-of-the-art customer relationship management (CRM) and billing system, while consolidating multiple customer care activities. It's been called the most complex system implementation ever undertaken in the utility industry. The presentation will include lessons learned from:

  • Accommodating four regulatory jurisdictions, multiple companies, AMI and register read meters, dynamic pricing programs, deregulation, net energy metering programs and more all in one system
  • Developing analysis, design, build, test, deploy and stabilization phases
  • Establishing guiding principles to streamline the implementation process
  • Executing the "go-live" experience
  • Conducting cost benefit and realization of smart grid customer benefits
  • Improving customer service and billing for credit and collections

Hallie Reese, Vice President Customer Care, Pepco Holdings, Inc (PHI)

3:15 - 3:30 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

3:30 - 4:15 p.m. :: The Road Less Traveled - Replacing a CIS, On Schedule and On Budget

This session will provide a case study of a large transformational project completed by Louiville Water. The scope of the project included the full implementation of CIS, mobile workforce, self-service, and productized integrations for the newly implemented systems and existing financial system. The presentation will include lessons learned from:

  • Adopting industry best practices
  • Leveraging Oracle's Express implementation approach, including pre-configuration
  • Use of service-oriented architecture (SOA) integration across the enterprise
  • Testing and roll-out
  • Change management
  • Aligning water and sewer into one system
  • Customer service transition to voice-over IP (VOIP), skill-based routing, and self-service online portal

Brad Kitchin, Vice President Professional Services, Americas ,Oracle Utilities

4:15 - 4:45 p.m. :: Manage the Journey to a New Customer Service System Implementation!

Taking the right approach to implementing a well-functioning system, as well as meeting customer expectations, is easier said than done! The journey starts on day one with commitment from the enterprise to "join up", all the way through the final destination of the budget approval process. Today, the utilities are managing the systems well, working with internal partners to assure that the commitment to customer satisfaction remains constant and successes are celebrated along the way! The session will detail how Avista utilities worked through some of the challenges on their journey to implementing a new customer service system and customer bill, including:

  • The timeline
  • The initial building blocks for success
  • The areas of most impact
  • Lessons learned and successes
  • Development of a new customer bill and launching it in conjunction with "go live" of the new system

Vicki Weber, Director Customer and General Services, Avista Utilities

4:45 - 5:00 p.m. :: Recap and Conference Adjourns

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