The next Next Big Thing? Customer information systems, says Pike Research

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Quick take: To get the benefits of the smart grid, utilities around the world will be forced to transform the way they engage with customers. And with that, says Pike Research, they will realize that "many legacy billing and CISs are technically unsuited for the emerging smart grid." And here's an interesting angle -- the coming growth in CISs will be worldwide. Different regions have different market drivers, but a new style of customer engagement is essential everywhere. As a result, the billing and customer information systems (CIS) software and services market will nearly double in the next five years, growing from $2.3 billion in 2011 to $4.0 billion by 2017. – Jesse Berst

 

“Large U.S. investor-owned utilities looking to develop new revenue streams, European energy retailers working in a deregulated market, and utilities in the developing world seeking to improve revenue collection and energy auditing are all taking a new look at their requirements for billing and CIS,” says Pike research director Eric Woods.  “This shift requires utilities to master the product development, marketing, and customer relationship skills to ensure competitive success.  In turn, the billing and CIS systems underpinning these business processes will have to step up to the challenge.”

 

The report, “Electric Utility Billing and Customer Information Systems,” also indicates customer and business process analytics will be a significant factor driving billing and CIS change.  

 

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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.

Smart Grid Deployments are Driving a Revolution in Utility Customer Information Systems

 

November 26, 2012

The electric utility industry is engaged in a massive buildout of smart grid infrastructure, but the full benefits of this investment will only be realized if there is a similar transformation in customer engagement. Many utilities have realized that they need to dramatically change the way the way they view and manage customer relationships. According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, the deployment of smart meters is the key driving force in this revolution, enabling new consumer services and providing new insight into customer behavior.

As a result, the study concludes, the electric utility billing and customer information systems (CIS) software and services market will nearly double in the next 5 years, growing from $2.3 billion in 2011 to $4.0 billion by 2017.

“Large U.S. investor-owned utilities looking to develop new revenue streams, European energy retailers working in a deregulated market, and utilities in the developing world seeking to improve revenue collection and energy auditing are all taking a new look at their requirements for billing and CIS,” says research director Eric Woods. “This shift requires utilities to master the product development, marketing, and customer relationship skills to ensure competitive success. In turn, the billing and CIS systems underpinning these business processes will have to step up to the challenge.”

Many legacy billing and CIS are technically unsuited for the emerging smart grid requirements. Another significant factor driving billing and CIS change will be customer and business process analytics. This technology will play an important role in guiding utilities in product development and market execution for the targeted offerings and bundles that will enable competitive differentiation, according to the report. Today, confusion still exists in the market about how and where to apply analytics to improve business outcomes, but the market will mature rapidly as a result of growing commercial pressures.

The report, “Electric Utility Billing and Customer Information Systems”, analyzes the global market opportunity for utility billing and CIS software and services. The report also includes a view of the growth of billing and CIS systems in regulated and deregulated environments. The study provides a comprehensive assessment of the demand drivers, business models, and technology issues associated with this rapidly growing opportunity. Key industry players are profiled in depth and market forecasts for worldwide electric utility billing and CIS software and services revenue, segmented by region, are provided through 2017. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Pike Research website.