All utilities have a CIS, and most use the same one for as long as possible, which can be 10-20 years.
This means that at least 5 percent of the installed CIS base is up for replacement each year. Homegrown and legacy systems are aging, along with the people who know how to maintain and modify them. Upgrades are cumbersome and expensive, and many older systems are not set up to handle new technology that enhances the customer experience.
Advancements in cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) are changing the dynamic and decision set for utilities, making it cost-effective for CIS providers to offer their products to all sizes of utilities. Tier 1 players like Oracle can compete for smaller utilities that utilize less than 100,000 meters, which wasn’t considered a priority a few years ago. Meanwhile, smaller players and new entrants can scale to better serve larger utilities.
Utilities are also increasingly focusing on customer engagement, and there is a wide range of products and solutions included in many current CIS offerings.
Considering how rapidly technology has evolved this century, where will your CIS be 10 years from now? How about 20? Rather than having the freedom to focus on forecasting and future initiatives, utilities are forced to spend valuable time and resources repairing their current systems.
Unlike the private sector, most utilities aren’t in direct competition with one another. Nonetheless, more regulations are factored into a utility’s customer service standards during rate cases, so the quality of your CIS directly impacts your bottom line.