July 21, 2021

CIS Replacement at EPCOR: From Legacy to Unity

In early 2020, EPCOR was undergoing a major, highly complex CIS implementation as part of a major business transformation. They were replacing an obsolete custom-built billing solution implemented in 1994 that was getting harder and more expensive to maintain, and a CRM solution installed in 2001 that could not be fully integrated with the billing solution.

On paper, this project may sound like many other end-of-life CIS replacements, but the complex nature of EPCOR’s business made this project especially challenging…and that was before the global pandemic!

EPCOR operates in a deregulated market—which results in numerous province-specific policies and rules—but also provides customer care and billing for a number of different commodities or functions including Regulated and Deregulated Electric, Wastewater, Stormwater, Waste, and Deregulated Gas as well as a number of other minor services (fire lines, hydrants, etc.). Any given customer can have one, some or all of the services and can only receive one invoice per month. In all, EPCOR bills for nearly 1.3 million services on 650,000 customer accounts each month.

So, you can imagine the data migration effort and significant process changes required for business users and IT support staff.

In addition, regulatory requirements have a significant impact on the businesses. The breadth of the Alberta Utility Commission (AUC) market and its numerous transaction types and variations presented one of the most complex deregulated market environments in the world to be addressed. Finally, EPCOR’s “water division” has multiple sub-services (such as drainage, etc.) which operate as separate business units and have separate revenue reporting requirements.

At the outset of the project, EPCOR set their vision and stayed focused throughout:

  • A seamless implementation from the customers’ perspective
  • Eliminating customizations to reduce costs and complexity
  • Innovating in delivery and people preparation

To ensure success, the company instituted a variety of innovations, covering the solution, delivery, and toward the end, their response to COVID. In what was likely the first 100% remote Go-Live in North America of this magnitude and complexity, EPCOR went live in November 2020.

EPCOR deems the project a complete success, reflecting achievement of their initial goals, new customer capabilities and improved metrics, including:

  • Seamless Customer Transition
  • Improved Average Handle Time (AHT)
  • Improved Billing Accuracy
  • Improved Billing Timeliness
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction

The CIS implementation sets the stage for even more customer service improvements in the future such as increased customer self-service, self-healing exceptions/errors, and automated customer care (e.g. chat bots).

The project was recently recognized as the finalist for Best CIS Implementation in CS Week's annual Expanding Excellence Awards.

The full story is chock-full of great tips on change management and implementation excellence. You can hear it directly from EPCOR when you view the webinar on-demand.