5 Questions Utilities Must Ask Before Selecting a New CIS

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Written by: Kim Schafer

Choosing a new CIS is a big investment. Nothing is more important than the customer relationship, and with the average lifespan of a CIS being 15 to 20 years, choosing a new solution requires a future-proof approach that ensures you can address your customers’ evolving needs.

Before making a decision, consider these five important questions to identify a system that works today, tomorrow and years down the road.

 

How will you attract and retain employees with the necessary skills to manage and evolve your CIS platform?

Finding IT professionals with the technical and functional experience can be difficult for two reasons. First, the talent pool is limited due to a lack of IT professionals with the experience needed to maintain and support modern CIS platforms. Second, once you find the IT professionals for your team, compensation, location of the office and other incentives need to be considered to ensure employee retention. With a cloud-based CIS platform, utilities will benefit from a reliable, accountable support team that can evolve and manage its platform, eliminating concerns regarding the location and retention of IT talent hire.

 

How much time and effort will be required to sustain day-to-day operations?

Software and hardware need regular maintenance to run smoothly and these updates need to be handled in a timely manner. But who will be able to complete these updates quickly and effectively so that the customers can receive these benefits? Furthermore, will your team members have to de-prioritize other work to focus on these upgrades? With a cloud-based CIS platform, both software and hardware updates will be upgraded accordingly and ready for customers to use immediately, which allows the utility IT team to focus on day-to-day operations. 

Ready to reach your customer experience goals? Download the Ultimate Utility  Customer Information System Guide!

 

How easy will it be to make changes to the platform?

Routine CIS software maintenance is critical, but it often is placed on a long project list that IT teams must review, then decide how best to allocate resources. Balancing the many demands across a utility, IT teams are not always able to prioritize CIS maintenance, which can result in lower customer satisfaction and negatively impact the bottom line. A fully hosted and managed CIS means that IT teams can focus on other projects and leave the maintenance to outside experts. With a dedicated team of experts maintaining and updating your CIS, improvements and changes are made easily and in a timely manner.

 

How scalable will the platform be in response to growing data in volumes or growth in customer numbers?

Utilities should consider how accommodating data volume and population growth could affect expenses. Often utilities purchase additional hardware and add new IT team members during an influx in customer load or data. But when things change again, utilities can be left with more than needed. However, with a cloud-based system, utilities can easily scale based on changes in population or data volumes, ensuring that they are never paying for more than they need or are able to use.

 

How can you get a predictable total cost of ownership (TCO) and provide your business with guaranteed service levels?

A fully hosted and managed CIS allows the utility to take advantage of the “as a Service” subscription-based pricing, which provides a predictable cost of ownership, and avoid the expenses of hiring additional talent and upgrading aging software and hardware. 

By moving your CIS to the cloud you can:

  • Have peace of mind knowing you will have a team of software experts who can manage and evolve your platform
  • Know that both CIS software and hardware are always up to date
  • Scale your platform easily to meet ever-changing demands
  • Run your business knowing your IT costs are predictable and service levels are guaranteed

 

If you’re a utility considering these questions, learn more about how to make the right decision in our new eBook, Future-Proofing Your CIS: How to Choose a CIS for the Next 15 to 20 years.

 

Download the eBook >

 

Download the Ultimate Customer Information System Guide to reach your utility's customer experience goals

Kim Schafer is a former employee of VertexOne, a SaaS provider of customer technology solutions purpose built for utilities.

Cloud CIS Utility Customer Experience

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