How A Digital Foundation Flips The Switch On Utilities’ Customer Relationships

Henry Bailey

Part 6 of the “Intelligent ERP-Driven Industries” series

Utility service providers are moving away from their traditional business model in the wake of new disruptive competitors, new service delivery options, and new consumer behaviors. Whether they operate as a retailer in a competitive market or a traditional vertically integrated utility company, water, and energy retailers are positioning themselves as trusted energy advisors and lifestyle providers that deliver a broader range of products and services.

At the center of all these changes are consumers who are already extremely critical of the products they buy and the experiences they receive. However, according to the IDC Energy Insights white paper “Consumers Buy Experiences. Are Energy Suppliers Delivering Them?” sponsored by SAP Hybris, most utility providers have yet to rise to the challenge. In fact, surveyed consumers scored the overall quality of their energy supplier relationship as a C-.

Why? Utility providers that do not understand the personal preferences of each consumer not provide the personalized experience that the marketplace expects from a commodity business.

It’s time for an entirely different approach to customer centricity

As revenue from traditional operations stagnates and margins on a highly commoditized offering shrinks, utility providers are redesigning their business models. They are considering anything from advice on conservation initiatives to marketing storage batteries, smart home control, and new forms of energy such as solar or geothermal heating.

With a customer experience platform enabled by an intelligent, next-generation ERP, providers can rapidly evolve from monthly transactions to a partnership of simplicity, accessibility, responsiveness, loyalty, and value. One source of information about consumer behavior, preferences, and needs can create unprecedented sales opportunities. Plus, providers can tap into these insights to innovate new service offerings and processes that can strengthen customer relationships as well as top- and bottom-line performance.

For providers such as Regensburger Energie- u. Wasserversorgung (REWAG), automating customer relationship management and tightly integrating it with internal systems can be a genuinely energizing breakthrough. Throughout its 42-year history, REWAG built a reputation for affordability, efficiency, reliability, resiliency, and environmental responsibility. However, maintaining a CRM system disconnected from the rest of its IT landscape proved to be a liability as the water utility’s customer base and workforce grew.

To provide the level attention its customers demand, REWAG implemented a simple-to-deploy, user-friendly solution to structure its CRM and sales data – all in one place. Its salespeople also gained mobile, online, and offline access to this information and can enter updates on the go at customer sites. But ultimately, the most-pivotal advantage came in the form of a clearer, more utility-focused view of customers that helps accelerate sales cycles and improve service.

Utility providers, as proven by REWAG’s story, are on the cusp of a transformation that can energize revenue generation and profitability while reducing costs and simplifying operations. Companies that integrate their solutions and data based on a foundation of an ERP-enabled digital core platform are going beyond just keeping their employees, suppliers, customers, and assets, connected and productive. They are creating differentiating value that its operations need and its customers want.

Check out how utility service providers are deepening their competitive position with a next-generation ERP suite. Access our library of keynote and session replays from the Intelligent ERP Industry Virtual Summit to hear from top customers and experts as they discuss how intelligent ERP, industry roadmaps, and implementation can guide your business throughout its digital journey.

Henry Bailey

About Henry Bailey

Henry Bailey is global vice president of Utilities Industry Business Unit for SAP. He leads a team of customer focused professionals creating end-2-end solutions across the 5 key market categories; Core Applications, Cloud Computing, Mobile Platforms, Business Intelligence and Database Technologies with HANA.