Vertex Business Services has released CIS Ecosystem Solutions, its new customer management solution for electric, gas, and water utility companies in North America. The solution enables utilities to meet the needs of a rapidly changing customer management landscape without the need for a full-scale CIS replacement and is available as a project, managed service, or software-as-a-service (SaaS) in the cloud.
Vertex's CIS Ecosystem applications extend both the front-office and back-office capabilities of legacy CIS systems. All applications are modular by design and adhere to service oriented architecture (SOA) principles. Vertex CIS Ecosystem applications include:
- Vertex Advanced Rating Suite – Extends back-office capabilities and performs near-real-time calculations needed to support usage thresholds, demand management programs, and other non-billing needs. It also enables rates and programs not supported by legacy CIS systems.
- Vertex Self-Service Suite – Extends front office systems and provides a convenient way for end-use customers to contact their utility and securely manage their accounts.
Vertex's new Silver Cloud Architectural Framework is the foundation of CIS Ecosystem Solutions. The SOA framework is designed to allow retention of a core legacy CIS while enhancing the system's capabilities through Vertex and third-party applications.
The Silver Cloud Architectural Framework also serves as a gateway to advanced delivery options, including:
- Client hosted – Vertex offers CIS Ecosystem solutions in a licensed delivery model or as a managed service in partnership with utilities.
- Vertex hosted - For utilities seeking an outsourced solution, Vertex supports the CIS Ecosystem solutions as a managed service within a Vertex data center, as well as SaaS in the cloud for more flexible and cost-effective outsourcing. SaaS allows utilities to pay for CIS functionality on a recurring services fee basis without managing a static and dedicated infrastructure.
"How utilities manage customer experience is beginning to change rapidly," said Dan Sullivan, managing director of Vertex Business Services. "This will require dramatic new capabilities from CIS and related systems. However, wholesale replacement of the CIS is often not an option given the cost, complexity, and high risk of implementation failure. The Vertex CIS Ecosystem offers a viable and cost-effective CIS solution for today's utility delivered in a model that meets the needs of each utility and spans a range of customer management functions."