Utility improves customer experience through billing process automation

Accurate and consistent

Billing via automation

Coordinates data collection

Through end-to-end data flows

COMPANY BACKGROUND

FortisBC is Canada’s largest public utility company delivering natural gas, electricity, and innovative energy solutions in more than 135 communities throughout British Columbia. FortisBC owns and operates approximately 49,000 km of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines and 7,260 km of electric transmission and distribution power lines.

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

The natural gas division of FortisBC wanted to start a new Customer Care Enhancement Project that would bring the Customer Relationship and Billing (CR&B) process back in-house to two new contact centers. The project’s aim was to deliver accurate bills to customers on a consistent basis resulting in substantial improvements to customer service.

Frans Luit, Manager Enterprise Applications for the company, says, “With the criticality and complexity of the new CR&B process, we wanted to optimize the scheduling of our meter-to-cash process chains as well as all other jobs in the environment.”

FortisBC was also seeking to automate and coordinate processes such as updating SAP parameters, incorporating remits, checking bank files, uploading, and downloading meter reads, invoicing, and compiling bills.

Finally, the utility wanted to bring in data from collection agencies, insurance companies, external metering systems and other sources. At the same time, FortisBC brought in new applications for bill rendering, archiving, and data services (SAP Data Quality Management) for address validation. To be successful, this all had to work seamlessly with FortisBC’s existing billing systems.

SOLUTION

FortisBC selected Redwood’s powerful end-to-end automation solution to deliver accurate bills consistently to millions of customers each cycle and ensure excellent customer service. Redwood Professional Services helped FortisBC plan and manage their implementation and employ best practices to speed up their launch.

“After our finance, IT and operations departments met with the Redwood Professional Services Consultants, we realized they had the answers we needed. I requested that we work together to automate whatever we possibly could to support FortisBC’s CR&B processes – and others,” says Luit. “We looked at the process blueprint and recognized the need for enterprise-class automation, so we brought in the Redwood team to do the job.”

FortisBC used Redwood’s hybrid process and data orchestration to seamlessly coordinate and integrate their legacy applications, data, OS activity and web API interactions with all their systems in on-premises and cloud environments. Orchestrating their applications helps the company achieve their goal of providing clear, understandable, and accurate bills and excellent customer service.

Luit adds; “From the beginning, we saw Redwood as the business process automation solution for our 65- plus internal and external interfaces. With Redwood, we had the opportunity to implement a single enterprise solution that would connect and manage the information flow from end-to-end. And the advanced monitoring and notification modules automatically push issues to us so we can act.”

Results

All systems were up and running the day the CR&B project went live. The next morning, FortisBC produced and sent 50,000 bills, each of them accurate and on-time.

Ultimately, FortisBC’s goal of making the customer experience exponentially faster, better and more cost effective was met and then exceeded. “This was an immense effort involving innumerable applications and interfaces, and hundreds of people inside and outside FortisBC, but Redwood definitely played a very important role in enterprise automation,” says Luit.

“Together we’re delivering great value to the business as a whole. All recommendations brought to the table are being considered for the long term. We’ve learned a lot from Redwood and feel that they’re working with us toward a common goal – our success.”

It’s critical for stakeholders to trust that we will consistently meet our commitments. With Redwood we have not missed a single billing deadline. This is a phenomenal record.” Frans Luit, Manager Enterprise Applications, FortisBC

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