Solution Overview Channel Management in Utilities

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1 Utilities Sector Solution Overview Channel Management in Utilities Better Results

2 Market Influences and Challenges The utilties industry has faced dramatic change and numerous challenges in recent years Hitachi Consulting has extensive experience working with power, natural gas and water companies across the globe. From generation asset management to smarter grid to addressing the needs of the new energy consumer, Hitachi Consulting provides global services spanning the entire value chain. We help clients to achieve sustainable results through our deep industry knowledge, innovation and leading technology. As part of Hitachi, Ltd., our heritage is founded on delivering innovation that will improve the operations of our customers, which will have a positive impact on peoples everyday lives. Since its early beginnings over 100 years ago, the corporate credo has been to contribute to society through the development of superior, original technology and products. Over the years, that mission has led Hitachi to develop a host of products, services and solutions that address a wide range of infrastructure challenges. Society s need for advanced technologies is constantly evolving; in turn, so is Hitachi. With its determination to improve the quality of life for the global community, Hitachi made the decision to focus on Social Innovation. We believe that the utilities industry is one of the current key opportunities that will improve the quality of life for the global community. Market Demand Management PUC/Rate Case Pressures Regulated/Deregulated Businesses Industry Consolidation Customer Demands and Profitability Demand Side Management Current Industry Challenges Growth Strategy Public Perception Offering Alternatives Serving New and Existing Markets Changing Customer Requirements Supply Chain Integration New Needs and Capacity Social Demographic changes Concern and knowledge of pricing and services Evolution comfort levels Sustainability Commitment Accelerating Technology Mandatory Customization / Individualization Financial Volatile Price and Cost Swings Managing Margins Increasing Capital Investment Returns from M&I Stakeholder Accountability Optimal Channel Management Technology SMART Technologies Real time Visibility / Transparency Needs Data Management (consolidation, visibility and accuracy) Integration of Systems Business Decision Analysis & Tools Customer Integration Self Service Demands PUC Reporting Operational Rate Case Management Customer Service Demand Visibility Demand and Supply Alignment Decreasing Cycle Time Asset Management Leveraging Technology Union Work Rules 01

3 Competition Competition introduced in the retail market is changing the way companies compete, impacting their market shares and eroding their retail margins. Incumbent Suppliers Marketshare Churn in domestic retail markets has increased primarily due to new entrants, although there is little change in the market share of incumbent suppliers some incumbent suppliers have performed better than others. Price continues to be the main driver for consumers changing suppliers Brand and added value services are other drivers for switching. Companies have developed new products with aggressive marketing campaigns in order to increase retail market share and profitability per account. New regulatory developments are expected in the short-term in order to increase competitiveness. Retail Margin Reduction Regulation is developing new proposals, the impact of which will be a reduction in the final electricity price. Government programs to promote energy savings in households are an extra cost which companies have to deal with while making a profit. Costs to serve customers have increased during recent years due to increased efforts to attract new customers and provide high customer care and loyalty costs. Customer lifecycle within a company has been reduced due to the ease of switching suppliers. As a result, the cost to acquire is more difficult to recoup. Tough market conditions have meant that more than one third of the retail operating profit comes from energy-related services. 02

4 New Utilities Strategies The modern retail environment has changed the way companies operate, causing them to implement new strategies, including: The development of commercialization strategies focused on; Customer segmentation adequacy that will allow companies to identify more profitable clients Adjusting efforts to each customer segment. New processes and IT systems definition in order to achieve customer self service and reduce costs by increasing operational efficiency. Adjustment of the sales channel mix to align with retail business strategy: Share attraction: enables growth at a minimum cost by employing resources in an efficient and co-ordinated way Retention, care and selective attraction: launching of new sales campaigns in order to retain more profitable customers. New products and services being defined in order to increase customers portfolio and profits per customer. This also creates exit barriers for customers. Channel as a Source of Competitive Advantage The need for utilities companies to reduce their costs has led them to outsource the management of their customers, resulting in a dependence on external channels for the development of their activities. When these channels are not operating effectively the complexity of the development, evolution and management increases. The channel decisions generally involve long-term commitments and have important implications for other elements of the marketing mix. The choice of channel can provide a real source of competitive advantage, by providing an optimum level of service, balancing both customer value with the satisfaction of customer needs with the cost of the channel. The appropriate use of a combination of different channels for managing utilities companies business strategies (with more emphasis on efficiency at the stages of capturing market share, achieving customer loyalty, or searching selectively for customers) is key to successfully competing in a market that is under ever increasing pressure for market share and business margins. Each customer interaction is a key event, as they can be great opportunities to increase customer loyalty (through providing good service) and to increase the intensity of the relationship with the customer (through cross and up selling). I ve worked with Hitachi Consulting on multiple projects and know I can rely on them to deliver great insights and results. They understand a lot of business topics on the fly, work exceptionally well independently, and are very adaptable to different personalities. They have the expertise and capabilities to work with us and the community seamlessly. - Ruben Lobera, Head of Business Process, E.ON 03

5 The Four Pillars of Channel Management For organizations to leverage these competitive advantages, optimum channel management and an effective outsourcing channel strategy is invaluable. An outsourcing channel strategy requires that each channel is evaluated against the companies strategy and needs of customers. Based on Hitachi Consulting s experience, we have identified key attributes shared by successful utilities companies. The drivers of success can be grouped into what we call the Four Pillars of Channel Management. They are: Positioning Partner Selection Value Proposition Governance & Control The model is designed to respond to a multi-channel business environment to meet evermore sophisticated business demands in terms of client search and is structured around a solid governing scheme. Positioning Partner Selection Value Proposition Governance & Control 04

6 1. Positioning Having a channel strategy that is aligned with business objectives involves making a selection to ensure a balance between optimizing effort to attract and retain customers and maintaining an adequate cost structure. At this point it is vital to understand the dynamics of the market and competitors as well as your own customer base, both existing and potential. The channel strategy should be aligned with the company, but also with the market, customer and product portfolio and services. The channels should be designed and sized according to the corporate strategy and markets in which a company wants to have a presence in the medium and long term. Although the current trend is to drive customers to lower cost channels, traditional voice and face-to-face channels still have a part to play, particularly for high touch contacts such as complaints. In addition, a personal contact is often critical to closing the sale. 2. Partner Selection There are many interactions between the client and the external channel during which the client often assumes that they are dealing directly with the company that produces the products and services. The channel has to perform the functions required whilst at the same time delivering a service that supports the right brand experience. Here the partner plays a major role. They will need to share the company s values in terms of operations and execution in order to ensure consistency in the customer experience as well as the correct ethical work practices. The channel must become, therefore, a true extension of the capabilities of the organization. This means that making a good choice when selecting the channel partner is a critical part of an integrated channel management model. There are a number of issues that companies should consider when selecting channel partners. What is their capacity? How easy is it to reach the audience? Does the channel offer complementary products or services? Is there sufficient capital to support their cash-flow needs? Does the channel consider customer service and delivering the correct brand experience important? What is the cost and the expected return? Developing a structured channel partner selection and evaluation programme is crucial to identify the partners that will support the brand, culture, and business performance desired for the company. 3. Value Proposition Components of the Value Proposition to the Partner Channel Competitive and attractive offer of P&S in continuous evolution Relationship as longterm partner and joint business development under a win to win model Remuneration & commissioning scheme Fixed vs. variable Link up Protection Image Support and assistance in commercial, technical and operational level Developing a long-term, mutually attractive value proposition is required, for both the utility company and the channel. A compelling business case for the partnership must first be developed. The company should recognize that this partnership offer is just the beginning of a long journey, and it should be the basis for the development of the value proposition to the channel. The value proposition to the channel must seek to align the channel expectation with the objectives of the company, within the context of competition for channel acquisition. The overall objective is to present a compelling channel offering which provides the requisite value to the customer and is supported by standards, processes, and tools. 4. Governance and Control The fourth pillar of channel management looks at the structure in terms of organization, processes and tools in order to optimize the channel and to deliver a sustainable relationship over time. An appropriate governance and control structure helps companies to identify potential red flags such as incomplete reporting, results lower than expected, inefficient support, poor quality in sales etc. The overall objective is to monitor the performance of the channel, identifying areas for improvement and providing support with the implementation or dealing with other issues as required. The governance and control structure must include a monitoring system to assess the quality of the customer experience and address any shortfalls. Monitoring tools include customer satisfaction surveys (e.g. NPS methodology) and mystery-shopper programs. The key priority of governance and control activities is to improve channel performance for evaluation and comparison with other partners. Implementing specific incentives that reward the best partner and having priorities clearly established with all partners is also important. 05

7 Case Study Development and Implementation of the Channel Strategy Situation Our client is one of the world s largest investor-owned power and gas companies and handles the company s commercial marketing, offering electric and gas supply contracts across Spain. Channel strategy was a major competitive advantage, particularly in those areas where the competitors didn t have a view of previous customers or contact with new clients. Regulatory changes and increasing competitive pressure was forcing them to look at implementing new models for face to face channels in order to align the channels with the retail business strategy. Business Challenges To implement a new model of the face to face channel that responds to new market conditions with a high degree of commercial capacity both in terms of acquiring new customers and providing customer care. To develop a compelling value proposition for the channel in terms of business development, growth and brand, balanced with financial constraints. To identify, evaluate and select partners with the right skills and competencies for the provision of the services to support the customer s policies. Solution The development of the relationship model (remuneration, functions, monitoring plan, goals etc.) and deployment with targeted identified partners. The development and sale of the value proposition for the channel, covering all elements including the economic model, brand image, tools, support etc. Conducting more than 250 interviews with over 80 potential channel candidates. The analysis, evaluation and selection of partners based on more than 30 criteria. The definition and implementation of the Channel Operating Model, adopting and implementing improved operational and commercial processes and procedures. Providing key competencies in training and the support tools necessary for optimal performance of the functions provided by the channel. Results Optimized and standardized service levels delivered to customers across the channel. Increased customer acquisition ratios between 60% and 120%. Aligned and consistent processes across the sales channel. Rationalization of the channel s network and improving the brand image. 06

8 About the Authors Mariola Pina Vice President, Head of EMEA Power & Utilities Smart Cities Leader Fernando Redondo Director, EMEA Power & Utilities Smart Cities Mariola has more than twenty years experience working in the European Energy, Power and Utility industries. She provides strategic, operational and financial advice to leading European companies. She also assists regulators and government entities on energy policies. Areas of focus include strategy, regulation, management and operational consulting, channel restructuring and enterprise risk management as well as strategic and financial advice on transactions. Fernando has more than fifteen years experience advising Energy and Utility companies, governments and regulatory bodies, focusing on areas such as regulation, project management, operational efficiency and channel restructuring. He leads projects on business and feasibility plans, cost reduction and process restructuring, retail strategy, governance, energy efficiency & services portfolio, operational efficiency and transaction support. Hitachi Consulting is the global management consulting and IT services business of Hitachi Ltd., a global technology leader and a catalyst of sustainable societal change. In that same spirit and building on its technology heritage Hitachi Consulting is a catalyst of positive business change, propelling companies ahead by enabling superior operational performance. Working within their existing processes and focusing on targeted functional challenges, we help our clients respond to dynamic global change with insight and agility. Our unique approach delivers measurable, sustainable business results and a better consulting experience.

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