Federal incentives and market conditions are creating business opportunities for utilities to venture into non-traditional lines of business like broadband and telecommunication services. Open Smartflex helps these companies expand their portfolio at ease to deliver more value to customers using a single holistic solution.
The US federal government has developed several initiatives to accelerate the widespread adoption of broadband across the country, emphasizing the need to make the service accessible in smaller communities and rural areas. Under that premise, utility companies have turned out to be the perfect intermediary, being awarded great financial incentives to make it feasible for them to participate in this non-traditional line of business.
Several experts at the 2021 Cloud for Utilities Summit highlight the central role utilities play in the widespread of broadband internet to help bridge the digital divide across America. 1
However, expanding their portfolio with broadband and telecommunication products and services creates some technological challenges that may be critical for the success of such business ventures. First, the systems used to run critical billing and revenue-generating processes must have the perfect combination of flexibility and reliability to support the configuration of these services while allowing them to be billed along with traditional utilities. Therefore, these companies require a powerful Customer Information System able to carry out robust rate and new billing schemes.
On the customer front, providing these non-traditional products and services on the right channel at the right time is what ultimately secures engagement and brings in new revenue streams. By using digital sales channels, utilities can develop an effective commercial strategy while creating an outstanding customer experience (CX) for customers who like to manage their own accounts and prefer to buy online using self-service features.
Infrastructure, up-and-running customer-facing operations, and brand reputation at the local level give utilities and municipalities the edge to become major players in Biden’s USD$100 billion Digital Divide plan.2
Nonetheless, utilities are having a hard time finding the right technology solution to offer these new lines of business from a seamless end-to-end perspective. For the most part, their primary option is to integrate e-commerce tools with legacy enterprise systems that may not be able to support non-traditional products and services. As a result, they face complex integration requirements and an increased Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), undermining performance and return on investment. Moreover, the gaps in the integration of several systems ultimately harm CX.
With that in mind, Open Smartflex presents a holistic approach that provides utilities with a perfect-at-the-core CIS vested with unparalleled flexibility to create and bill both traditional and non-conventional products and services. The latest version of Open Smartflex also helps utility companies deliver innovative offers to customers following an end-to-end journey that leverages digital sales channels in an e-commerce-like environment included seamlessly in the solution’s customer self-service (CSS) platform.
Open Smartflex’s expanded scope helps utilities increase customers’ purchases of non-traditional products and services while improving engagement and overall experience. The CSS platform performs seamlessly with every domain of the solution, creating a cohesive CX that begins with the online sale of a broadband bundle and continues with the activities carried out in the CIS to handle customer account, product, and billing information, and even the field activities managed in the Mobile Workforce Management (MWM) to deliver the service effectively.
Open Smartflex allows utilities to offer broadband internet and telecommunication services to their customers in a seamless e-commerce journey supported by a powerful CIS. This way, these organizations can accelerate business turnover through innovative products and services, generate new revenue streams, and create outstanding experiences.
Watch our video to learn more about how Open Smartflex can help utilities provide non-traditional products and services in a seamless manner: