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Utility Customer Information Systems to grow 8.7 per cent in the next five years

The market for utility Customer Information Systems (CIS) and billing solutions is on the brink of a major transformation as many leading utilities have already started an overhaul of their systems infrastructure.

With a large number of systems that are more than 20 years old and designed for a simpler business model of regulated electricity distribution, utilities’ Smart Grid initiatives are having a heavy influence on the selection of more comprehensive and integrated systems that can handle data feeds from smart meters, time-of-use and real-time pricing, and demand response programs.

The worldwide market for CIS is expected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.7 percent over the next five years. The market was just over $600 million in 2010 and is forecasted to be $911 million in 2015, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

CIS is Customer Care and Billing and/or a form of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that address business-critical utility M2C (meter to cash) and customer care business processes. The CIS products cover two core utility lifecycle processing areas, revenue management and customer management.

The CIS solutions reach into two additional areas, commod-ity management and service delivery management. They go beyond CRM.

“With regionalisation, privatisation, deregulation, and higher customer service expectations, utilities are scrambling to rise to meet today’s challenges through improved customer relationships and enhanced customer options.

"CIS is used to track customer information, generate bills, issue service requests, and manage customer relationships by providing utility representatives information and insight about each customer’s individual needs and preferences,” according to Steve Clouther (, the principal author of ARC’s “Customer Information Systems Worldwide Outlook”.

As a general rule, the utility companies have developed their own in-house CIS, and the stop-and-start deregulation is a catalyst for these systems to now be replaced by the commercial-off-the-shelf CIS that are now available.

This provides the opportunity to bring the latest technologies into play, as the utilities grapple with the Smart Grid and advanced metering infrastructure.

The commercial CIS are delivering systems that are more componentised for easier and quicker implementations.

They are also addressing analytics, so utilities can provide its customer service representatives advanced business intelligence for predicting customers’ concerns and behaviours, thus enabling customer service representatives to more easily and quickly address customer concerns.

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