Industry Analysts Predict Where Utilities Go Next For Customer Care and Billing

Analysts Support ORCOM's Vision of a Rise in Outsourced Customer Care and Billing Among Utilities

ORCOM, an outsourced customer care and billing (CC&B) services company for water, gas and electric companies, predicts that at least half of U.S. utilities will outsource their CC&B service by 2012.

Due to market needs, utilities focus and rapid growth through mergers and acquisitions, more utilities will embrace outsourcing to accommodate the scalability and technological functionality needed to match utility company growth.

According to SCIENTECH's 2002 Research & Intelligence Report for Utility-Focused Technology Providers, of the 300 utilities interviewed, 29 percent reported that their company had considered outsourcing IT-related services as a strategic alternative. The report also found that the two most favorable groups for outsourcing are IOUs (45 percent) and electric municipals (50 percent).

According to Chartwell's report entitled Outsourcing: Solutions for the New Utility 2002, the next few years will see an exponential growth in outsourcing customer care services among utilities. One study published in the report notes a steady rise over the past four years in the number of utilities choosing to outsource certain elements of their customer care operations.

The report predicted that 24 percent of utilities surveyed in 2001 chose to outsource, up from 8 percent in 1999. Supporting ORCOM's vision, Chartwell expects that number to nearly double to 40 percent by 2003.

According to ORCOM, utilities are more carefully evaluating their business process efficiency and technology investments. With a focus on cost reduction, operational efficiencies and the demand for increased quality of service, outsourcing provides the rapid ROI necessary for long-term, increased profitability.

"ORCOM provides utilities the CC&B services they need in today's challenging market. Utilities are catching up with other industries and learning that you can get world-class customer care and billing solutions without infrastructure investment and with minimal risk," said Jamie Biddle, CEO of ORCOM. "Today's service level agreements (SLAs) ensure that outsourcers provide the kind of service utilities deserve at the price they can afford."


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