Vic utility bets on CRM for free-market share

To prepare for the deregulation of Victoria's multibillion electricity market later this year, energy operator Utili-Mode, has implemented a customer relationship management (CRM) package to maximise its marketing and sales operations.

To win market share Utili-Mode, which is a subsidiary of United Energy and is a back-office service provider in the energy market, has introduced Prime@Vantage software to plan, execute, track and analyse personalised sales campaigns across all marketing channels.

United Energy information services CIO Ron Hinsley said the energy market is opening up to full retail contestability and the company is positioning itself to make the most of that open market ahead of the competition.

"[The software] also integrates well with our front office solution GTX which was a primary consideration for us; other key architecture considerations were that it should be open, secure and scalable to support Web applications and e-mail integration," Hinsley said.

PrimeResponse Asia Pacific operations general manager Ricky Kapur said that, when consumers are first offered a choice of energy provider, United Energy will need to respond quickly.

"The energy retailer that can respond most quickly and effectively to counter competitors' offers and meet market needs will win the day," he said.

Utili-Mode general manager Steve Mitchell said the company went for a solution that specifically focused on campaign management and could pull together all the tools used to date.

He said the company has an Oracle database, which runs on a group of IBM S80 Unix servers, to store customer information and staff have Microsoft Windows on workstations.

In addition to the energy market Utili-Mode also offers support to Internet service providers and has a customer call centre of 160 seats which handles more than two million incoming calls a year.

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