Today, utilities are expected to deliver a high level of efficiency in all their business processes if they are to prosper in a sector which is becoming increasingly complex and highly competitive. Utilities need systems that will deliver top results especially when it comes to meter data management and customer information systems.
However, inefficiencies can occur when system implementations are carried out without including best practices and proven implementation methodologies.
Recognising this gap, Ferranti Computer Systems has come up with a tool that will put more control in the hands of utilities when it comes to improving systems implementation.
Best practice templates for greater efficiency
We interviewed Guido Van de Velde, Chief Architecture and Methodology at Ferranti Computer Systems, who says that the new MECOMS™ Implementation Workbench is aimed at making life easier for utilities, as well as providing a greater business value. MECOMS™ is a leading CRM & Billing software solution for the Utility Retail developed by Ferranti. It is available in The Cloud and On-Premise.
The ‘workbench’ is used to set up a new MECOMS™ environment by guiding the users in a structured way through the processes and their setup.
This MECOMS™ Implementation tool guides utilities through the MECOMS™ configuration efficiently by using best practice templates.
A set of best practice based defaulted parameters and templates can be loaded to speed up the implementation and enable MECOMS™ best practices. According to Johnny Vloemans, Project Manager Ferranti, these best practice templates reflect Ferranti’s 40 years of proven experience on how they can optimize utilities’ processes in the most efficient and optimal way.
According to Van de Velde, this library of best practices will help utilities to implement and execute processes in a cost effective, predictive and customer-oriented manner. “The best practices will help utilities avoid misunderstandings in business processes and it will also help to avoid unnecessary customisations which cost valuable time.” The predictive nature of the solution also helps utilities plan ahead financially which will inevitably give utilities a more competitive edge in the market place.
According to Vloemans, when utilities configure MECOMS™ by using Ferranti’s MECOMS™ Implementation Workbench, they can expect to save at least 10% in their total implementation efforts. He adds that when utilities align their operations to Ferranti’s best practice organization charts, they will realize efficiency gains of up to 30%-40%. Added to this is the potential for utilities to serve up to 50% more customers with the same workforce numbers while improving their customer service levels thanks to “clear responsibilities, tasks and role based KPIs.”
Enabling standardisation and maximizing of efficiency
Ferranti’s aim is to improve and automate utility business processes. The MECOMS™ product documentation is aligned with this focus.
The documentation describes how MECOMS™ will help utilities automate their processes and is fully compliant with the Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN)-standard. The descriptions are tailored to be understood by both technical consultants and business staff using MECOMS™ and this reduces the risk of misinterpretations which can create major operational inefficiencies and result in longer and more expensive (re)implementations; explains Van de Velde.
The documentation enables utilities to understand the processes and tasks on a deeper level. The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) will help utilities monitor the progress of a job. The documentation is available within the MECOMS™ Implementation Workbench.
Implementing MECOMS™ is a project that requires minimal customizations and offers maximum configurability.
To ensure that utilities configure as close to the standard and as efficiently as possible, MECOMS™ guides utilities throughout the entire setup through the use of best practice templates for all industry common processes. Without the need for extra knowledge, all key users are involved and will be able to perform validations.
Best practice organization chart
Ferranti, based on its MECOMS™ project implementations over the past decades, have identified how utilities can structure the organization of processes in the most optimal way. They have come up with a best practice organization chart which contains standard roles and tasks assigned per role as reflected in the MECOMS™ Role Centers.
As utilities want insight and a role based process control, Ferranti has enhanced the MECOMS™ Role Centers into a ‘dashboard’ by visualizing job relevant actions and status reporting against predefined key performance indicators (KPIs).
MECOMS™ is flexible and enables utilities to maintain the ability to customize task lists, content, assignments and roles.
Van de Velde concludes: “By using the best practice processes, utilities will be able to innovate instead of focusing on practises or products that can’t be optimised further.”