Deregulation and the increasing use of smart meters are leading more utility providers to seek out the right electronic data interchange (EDI) solutions. As consumer expectations and community needs change, utility providers need real-time access to innovative, scalable, and transparent data reporting that supports excellent customer service.
EDI allows one business entity to digitally transmit information and data to another organization (e.g., utility providers to energy suppliers). EDI and SaaS offer many benefits, including convenience for the utility and its customers, less time spent carrying out tasks, and valuable data protection. The right EDI solution also standardizes important information contained in documents through paperless exchange.
The right EDI solution should work with a utility’s CIS, allowing both systems to run back-office operations and handle market demand, ensuring seamless operations and maximum profitability. It should also offer flexibility, allowing utilities to run a cloud-based data storage model or integrated SaaS options.
What Type of EDI Solution Does Your Utility Company Need?
Before you begin your search, it’s important to define what you wish to accomplish when working with an EDI consultant. The following questions can help identify your utility’s current needs:
- What EDI tools are necessary for the success of your utility?
- What type of EDI integration will complement your business?
- Is the EDI solution scalable for future needs and utility demands?
- Do you understand the benefits of EDI for the daily operations of your utility business? It’s crucial that the leadership team, employees, and board of directors recognize these objectives and what they will accomplish.
- When thinking in terms of an EDI solution, what kinds of data might your company be using in the future? In five years? In 10 years?
- Who or what department will lead this ongoing innovation? Who will be working with the EDI consultant?
- What specific problems do you want the EDI consultant to solve?
- How does your company handle change? How do they adapt to new technology or procedures?
- What’s your company’s culture like?
- What’s your current and future budget? Is it expected to increase or decrease?
- What future needs do you foresee your company having?
- How long will you need the assistance and expertise of an EDI consultant or consulting firm? What services are you looking for? Can the work be completed on-site, in the office, or virtually from the consultant’s office?
How Can You Find the Right EDI Solution Consultant for Your Utility?
Now that you’ve clarified your utility’s current and future objectives, it’s time to start your search. There are many ways to find the right EDI solution consultant. Remember to remain patient during this process. Finding the right EDI consultant or consulting firm will take time.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Ask for recommendations using your company’s social media channels (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn). Clearly state the type of EDI solution you’re looking for. Consultant marketplaces like Graphite are also great options.
- Seek out the advice of other utility industry experts. Word-of-mouth suggestions are a great way to find the right EDI consultant. What solutions have been successful with utility providers similar to yours (e.g., size, structure, type of community)? Leveraging your business network and asking for recommendations from someone you know and trust is a great way to find the right consultant for your EDI journey.
Why Innovation Matters for Utility Companies
Relying on outdated technologies can leave your utility company in the dark, especially when providing exceptional customer experiences that contribute to ROI.
Not sure how cloud-based data storage can help your utility? Our eBook, 3 Reasons Why the Cloud Presents a Better Way for Utilities to Improve Customer Experience, explains how cloud migration can provide an economical and easy-to-deploy solution for seamless operations, business growth, and customer service.