Npower has used a document management and archiving system from supplier Macro 4 to standardise customer data after consolidating all its billing and customer service applications onto one platform.
The electricity and gas firm used the Macro 4 Columbus system to make sure its five million historic and new customer records were accessible after consolidating its many billing and customer service systems onto Northern Electric’s bespoke platform, called CIB.
The system will store each customer’s data, in multiple formats from different legacy systems, for seven years. It also compresses the data so Npower can save on storage space.
The programme to rationalise systems onto one central platform was called the Core Consolidation Programme, and had become necessary after a string of acquisitions that made up the current group had led to a range of unrelated systems being in place.
Npower was formed in 2000 following the merger of various utilities and now comprises MEB, Calortex, MEB Powerline, National Power Energy Direct and Independent Energy, Yorkshire Electricity and Northern Electric & Gas.
Trevor Abbott, senior support analyst at Npower, said the company had been operating four core billing systems at different locations, each producing millions of customer documents a year. The company also had 12 smaller systems. Maintaining all of the separate systems demanded “significant IT and administrative effort”, he said.
But one of the challenges of consolidating systems, he said, was “finding a simple way to retain the information held on our original systems and keep it easily accessible”.
“Billing systems contain a wealth of useful information in addition to billing data - including meter readings, customer histories, correspondence and customer service notes, which is essential for customer relationship management. We are also legally obliged to hold on to much of this data for many years.”
The company uses SAP ERP and CRM for its core IT systems, and is also due to go live this month with sales performance management software from Callidus, enabling it to automate compensation management for its thousands of UK sales and service staff.