Customer Management System

There are tons of systems out there trying to improve business processes of utility companies in general or electric companies in specific.

The key is still doing the re-engineering process well and the application system will just a tool to follow the processes. I put some of my thoughts about Electric Management System in this blog. Feel free to read and comment.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why External Communication is Needed in Implementing New Billing System (Customer Management System)

Communicating with external audiences is essential for the success of any organization, in businesses, governments or non-profit organizations. Increasingly, companies succeed or fail depending on their public perception.

The main objective of external communication is to inform all organizations about implementation of the new Customer management system within COMPANY. The main objective of the presentation is to improve the external image of the organization. External communication is related mostly to the different types of customers (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural) and/or communication with collection points (banks, on-line and off-line payment points). It is important to inform customers of the new services provided in commercial offices, and of new telephone numbers, etc.

Mission of External communication:

Transferring to different audiences the basic messages, corporate values and the administration style represented in the brand image that COMPANY wants to transmit continuously.

Receivers of the information:

- Customers (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, etc.)
- Suppliers (of equipment, products, services, etc.)
- Public organizations and other institutions

Problems of external communication:

The problems related to external communication can be classified into the following groups:

• Information for customers – customers do not have any information or very limited information about the changes. Customers do not know why the Company is doing the changes and how the changes would affect them.
• Information for collection points – the collection points have not sufficient information on how the changes can affect the collection processes which may lead to problems and misunderstandings.
• The information is not distributed before the implementation – Customers or collection points obtain the information when the system is already implemented.

How to solve the problems:

• Preparing the information campaign related to different types of customers (impacts or changes) and explaining with details or examples what concretely is going to be changed and how a new process should be done.
• Preparing the information for collection points including explanations of the communication changes (collaboration).
• Preparing the campaign or other material before the system implementation.
• These kind of preparations can be sub-contracted to any business consulting companies.

Friday, August 24, 2007

5 Minute Review Before You Sign Off from Work

As a project member, you need to work smart to keep everything under control. Working hard alone is, nowadays, not enough.

More positions and tasks in the project are minimal supervised by our boss. In the end, our boss just needs the end result. He/she does not care how we manage your time to do the task. If you work with each day has been defined what you should do, then, Congratulation! you are a winner.

Planning the things to do is no secret anymore for any time management. One thing that I recommend you to do is to review your things to do 5 minutes before you are heading off from your work. You will not image how this can help you a lot in monitoring your task for the next day.

Ok. To be more specific, just say that it is 5 minutes before going home. Get your things to do list and review one by one which one:

- pending

- finished

- finished but create another item.

For item 1 and 2, there are self explanatory. For point 3, this is the task that you have finished but in the end, it creates another task that you need to do. For example in the list of things to do is: Obtain finance data from John. Once you get the data, the format is not as you expected. Thus, the next day you can not create a report in the time that you have allocated. You need to reformat the data and it will surely take 1/2 day of your time (for example). It means that "Obtain finance data from John" is finished, but "Reformat data from John" is created and will be included in your things to do for tomorrow.

Using this simple review, you will benefit much. You will know where you are now as compared with your goal or achievement for the week. You will also be up to date with all the progress that you have. Imagine if all the sudden your boss call you and asking when you can finish the finance report. You will be able to answer with confidence and explain a delay in reasonable answers.

Once you finish reviewing your shot list, you can include the pending and new items for your things to do for the next day. Giving priority will enhance your time management so that you know what to put down first thing in the morning for the next day. No equal priority should be given. Next day when you come to the office, you just need to tackle down all the things in your list one by one. You will fell well when you see how many tasks you are able to cross out in your list.

I hope that this 5 minute review before signing off from work can be beneficial for you as it is helping me a lot. The key is persistent on doing this. Make it as a habit for you.

Work Environment: Summer Time in Office

When it comes to summer, I usually tell the office boy to check all the air conditioner and window blinds in each room. Aside from many staff filling a vacation during this summer, I can not let my other staffs complaining the work environment because of hot weather.

Talking about the blinds, this might look simple. I remember attending a meeting in a friend’s business consulting office and some of the window blinds are not working properly. Some are only defected in certain area letting sun light passed through. The impact is that we could not work effectively since we could not see clearly our laptop’s monitor. We needed to move around just to avoid sunlight. I image how it will be when somebody is working on PCs and all the furniture is fixed (can’t be moved).

I’d like to see some venetian blinds to get quality blinds. Well, the company has established 35 years in the window blinds industry, so they know what Venetian blinds quality is.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Internal Communication in Implementing Customer Management System (CMS)

The need of internal communication exists in every society or human group. The COMPANY current situation makes it is necessary to set up a program of internal communication that will specify the problems that can occur. Hereafter is a proposal of some measures to be taken.

Mission of internal communication:

To create and to maintain communication channels so that the information about the new business and operative measures, flows easily through the different levels of the organization.

Objectives of internal communication:

To involve people in the integration with the new actions, supporting the communication and motivation inside the Company. The key objective is the total staff commitment in the development of the new strategy.
To transmit Key messages of the Plan of Improvement within COMPANY itself.

Problems of internal communication:

• Information – quantity, quality, content, form, time (sometimes the staff has limited information or the information has not a satisfying content or the information is available very late).

• Communication channels – Companies normally have insufficient communication channels. Not all-possible channels of communication are used. Many times staff itself is not informed, the information does not flow fluently and/or it is blocked between certain levels. (i.e. the superior does not inform subordinates in the organizational unit).

• Human factor – this is the most complicated factor related to internal communication. Some people have problems to accept the changes that are carried out in the company. They try to reject the changes. Our suggestion is to focus on minimizing these aspects.

• Culture and the level of computer literacy – This reflects how deeply-rooted the old system is. With special regard to the aspects of work organization and human factor motivation. This is relevant to assess how possible a change is both in work organization and processes and whether the Company can assume a new organizational structure or a change in job’s functions.

Solution of problems:

• Information – each information item must have its “own adequate quality standard” (representing: information value and guarantee of accuracy) and must be available at the right time. The Company has to explain to its staff the strategy for the coming periods and what goals the Company wants to achieve. And, since one of the Company’s objectives is the CMS implementation, the staff must feel that it is involved in the fulfillment of the goals and must be motivated to participate. It is very important to prepare different ways and details of information depending on the target group of personnel (passing the information to managers might be different than passing it to the personnel who will operate the new system on a daily basis.). Furthermore, there are different levels of details about how to inform the different groups of people (for some groups it is enough to make a presentation of the main subjects and for others it is necessary to go into details). Besides that, the timing for communication is very important. The Company should start with the communication from the beginning of the implementation and do it over all the period of implementation.

• Communication channels – It is necessary to improve existing channels and create new ones. The Company should analyze the possible channels of communication depending on types of audience (using company magazine or newspaper, e-mail, web site of the company, meetings, specific bulletins, video, photos, etc). Suggestions are:
1. To increase the number of internal e-mail users
2. To issue the internal magazine with abundant content, written in an attractive style and high professional standard. The internal magazine should be sent to every employee monthly to the employee’s address. The magazine should feature articles about employees, departments, and future perspectives. Employees should feel in the center of interest of the Company.
3. To install a letterbox in the lobby, where employees have the possibility to drop a letter with questions about the future of the Company.
4. To hold meetings and professional consultation.
5. To establish a telephone service to answer employees’ questions about the changes, the future of the Company future, etc.
6. To create a department for communication and information that should answer employees’ calls, organize issuing and distribution of leaflets, arrange the contacts with personnel. This department would be responsible for internal communication and for transmitting the information to employees.

• Human resources – within this area it is important to establish a positive relationship between the staff and the Company, encouraging a feeling of pride for being part of the organization, and a positive outlook for the future. It is necessary to define clearly when the results will be achieved, to compare used resources and effort done. First, we recommend COMPANY to define the mission and philosophy of the organization. Then, through information channels and with the support of training and of the management, to move the mission forward to employees. Employees can identify themselves with the mission and philosophy of the Company. Motivation of the staff is essential for a better understanding of the changes the Company will carry out (for example to allow personnel to change the qualification for new job positions).

• Culture of organization – This is connected with a good image of the Company. COMPANY is an exceptional organization that started to carry out changes in commercial areas and to offer better service to customers. To achieve all this, it is necessary to define the tasks and to carry out them efficiently and with a high quality standard.
1. At the same time, we cannot forget the employees – to create good conditions and to offer them social advantages. It is important to appropriately motivate the staff, providing ways to improve their qualifications (in accordance with the implementation of CMS). Each employee has to be sure his work is important for the Company.
2. We suggest management sending a birthday card to every employee.

Project Manager LifeStyle

As a project manager, you need to shoulder some expenses in advance. In the end of month, you will reimburse the expenses to the company. I know it is not always the case, but it happens to a friend of mine.

He takes advantage of credit card while paying all the expenses. This way, he can earn points from the credit card and also he does not need to advance the payment using his own money. The credit card holder is usually given a period of time to pay.

One consideration to choose a credit card is when the interest is low. I know that some of you will always pay on time, but in some situation, we might forget to pay and the high interest is killing you. An offer from low rate apr credit card is giving a good deal of interest. So far, this is the lowest I have seen. It also gives no interest for balance transfer for 13 months. You can check other benefits that this credit card offers. It includes online fraud protection and world wide acceptance with Master Card sign.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Communication Strategy in Implementing New System

Implementing a project as large as Customer Management System (CMS), communication becomes a key factor for its success. Thus COMPANY’s customers, suppliers and staff must understand that all the activities of the CMS are focused on achieving the continuity of COMPANY as a company, which is competent, stable and profitable.
To accomplish this, COMPANY staff, customers and suppliers need to be fully aware of the switch from the old systems to the new ones.

Considering the implementation of a new CMS, it is necessary to elaborate material for internal and external communication purposes. This material features some problems that could arise during the transitional change in the Company, as well as offering several solutions. Even though the proposed solutions do not cover the whole spectrum of the problems, these could be regarded as an initial impulse of inspiration.

COMPANY has determined to carry out a change of its internal structures. The implementation of any information system means significant changes in the whole organization or in certain organizational units. The CMS implementation is special because it addresses both internal and external changes. Internal changes refer to the organization’s staff and external changes are related to different types of COMPANY customers.

Basically, the CMS implementation is not free of distrust (internal and external). The reasons could be the following:

• Company’s staff has no information about the implementation of the system or has only limited information that is not enough for a proper understanding.
• Staff dislikes new technologies (this is related to job positions where people are not used to work with computers or where the use of computers is limited
• Customers have no information of what the strategy of the Company is, why the Company is implementing a new system and how this implementation is going to affect them.

Therefore, from the beginning of the implementation of the CMS, it is very important to do activities in order to overcome all these hurdles. The staff has to grasp what the expected changes are about. The most useful way to persuade them is communication, “We can desire and accept only what we understand“.

The staff has no information about “Why” or “Whom” are these changes for? How will the Company be in future? What organization structure will it have? What will be the philosophy of the Company? These are the reasons to create an effective communication plan, focused on an accurate transmission of information to managers and employees. Firstly, it is necessary to communicate the basic ideas of the project, inputs and outputs that are expected to be made straightforwardly and at the appropriate time.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Project Implementation Phases

Each consulting companies or individuals have their own strategies to implement a Customer Management System. Most of the phases can be generalized like below:

Phase 0 – Project Organization

Phase I – Conceptual Design

• Description and analysis of current business processes, organization and systems
• New business processes and organization
• Requests for modifications to new system
• Definition of HW, SW and Communications Architecture
• Data gathering and conversion
• Identification of requirements and sources of information
• Definition of Data Gathering Campaigns Plan

Fase II – Analysis and Design

• Functional Design of modifications to the system
• Technical Design of modifications to the system
• Translation of new system (if needed)

Fase III– Implementation

• Training plan and materials
• Training of users
• Completion of Data Gathering and Conversion
• New System Development and Customization
• New System Testing (unit, integrated, user)
• HW/SW/Communications installation
• User acceptance of New System
• Go-live

Phase IV- Post implementation support.

• User follow through
• System commissioning

Phase V- Warranty Period.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Basic of Data Gathering with GPS

Before you want to use GPS for data gathering, you must know first what is GPS and how it works. This will give you a solid knowledge to avoid problems in the field with regards to GPS.

How GPS work?

Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigational aid originally developed for the military. The system simply receives signals. It is the applied technology that gives the GPS its versatility.

If you have ever used map and compass, you will understand a little about how the GPS
works. In order to find your position on a map, you need to have three points of
reference. The intersecting line from the reference points is where you are. Map and
compass work uses triangulation (bearings), GPS uses trilateration (distances) to calculate location. Satellites orbiting the earth emit unique signals that can be received by a GPS. The GPS software interprets the signal, identifying the satellite that it came from, where it was located, and the time that it took for the signal to reach the system. Once the receiver has both time and distance it begins to determine position.

Three satellites provide the intersection point and the fourth is used to check that the positioning is accurate. Accuracy depends upon the synchronization of atomic clocks in the satellites with the clock in the GPS system. Although the clock in the GPS is not atomic, utilizing the fourth satellite gives it that functionality as the internal clock adjusts itself to correct any discrepancy discovered.

GPS has gone far beyond its initial military application. Drivers can find their way
through city streets, long distance trekkers use the technology to cross unfamiliar terrain, mariners and pilots use GPS enhanced data to cross the seas and skies.

In--vehicle GPS can be integrated into the car entertainment system or can be installed as a removable device. These systems need to tell the driver where he/she is and how to reach their destination. The information includes road directions plus relevant features along the way such as rest stops, gas stations, points of interest, etc. Auto GPS uses voice commands so that the driver can concentrate on the road.

Hikers and trekkers use similar technology, but normally without the inclusion of road systems on their devices. Mapping software defines the territory that the hiker will encounter. The user can enter waypoints (points of reference) so they can return using the same route. They can add points of interest such as water sources, possible campsites, and other items of interest on their trail. However, the portability demanded by hikers will also limit the functionality of the system as small screens mean that some detail will be lost.

It is GPS technology that is used to track individuals on home arrest, to trace missing pets, stolen vehicles, and missing people. Small systems can be incorporated into pet collars and wristwatches. As long as the receiver is active, it can be found.

Marine and aviation GPS units are sophisticated and specialized. The principles involved are the same as any standard system; the software is much more highly developed.

Any fisherman, who is using a fish finder on his boat, is using a GPS that is enhanced by sonar and tracking devices. Units have been developed for use on float tubes also -– as GPS technology advances, the systems become more and more compact and their uses more and more extensive.

If you are considering purchasing a GPS, make sure that it can be updated easily. This is especially true if you buy a multi--function GPS or one that is used where conditions change regularly. An in--vehicle GPS soon loses its usefulness if it is not updated as road systems change.

Updates vary according to the device being used. They can come in CD/DVD packages
or as computer downloads. The user can purchase maps specific to the area in which the GPS will be used or a range of maps and routes. These are available from GPS software companies who will charge proportionally to the sophistication of the software.

GPS units vary in price according to their usefulness. It is possible to buy units for less than one hundred dollars to units costing more than one thousand dollars. What your needs are will be a factor in the cost of your unit. If you are a backpacker then portability is a major consideration. If you are a trucker, you need to be able to find a delivery point as quickly and conveniently as possible. Whatever device you go for, cost is generally related to quality. Buy the best you can afford.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Billing Exception or Anomaly in Customer Management System

a) What is a billing exception?
Billing exceptions are any abnormal situations for a supply detected during the billing process. These abnormal situations may cause improper billing of the supply or no billing at all. Thus, it becomes necessary to analyze and solve these inconsistencies before billing (with actual reading data or estimates) is performed.

b) What is the consequence of the abnormal situation?
Abnormal situations may cause improper billing of a supply.

c) What does the billing team do with the exception?
They have to analyze and solve the exceptions before billing it once and for all.
N.B: It more important to have quality resolution of exception, rather than the number of exceptions solved in a day.

Project Manager’s Sideline

Some of my friends who are project managers are putting their extra money in stocks, options or forex. Why? Because as project managers, there are get used to challenges. Putting their money in stocks is just like an extra game to win for them. They need to analyze, plan, and execute at the right time and strategy.

Being in that game, you need an access to reliable information on the stocks that you are watching. I recommend a new blog called Wizetrade. In this blog, you will find reliable information about stocks. You can learn as well regarding stock research tools that will save a huge amount of time in monitoring your positions or your future trades. The site also provides you with videos and pictures to save time in understanding the concepts or strategies in trading. As you know, this stocks trading is one of sophisticated arena to explain if only by writing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Conversion Process and Procedures: Evaluation of Implementation Alternatives

Aside from the migration of information from the Current Systems into New Systems, the Conversion Process also includes assistance in the identification of a practical and sound division of the Implementation into sub-phases.

It is not always practical and is rarely advisable for a new system to go live using the whole client base of a company. Sometimes for sheer volume of the customers involved, it would be an enormous task to monitor the results as the new system goes into production for the first time.

The subdivision of the entire company client base may be done geographically, by load type, customer type, functional divisions, or in any other way that seems viable, logical and manageable.

In studying different alternatives, it is important to note the following:

1. Possibility of having the most control over commercial operations

Minimizing the area to be converted for each phase facilitates the creation of controls for both the conversion process as well as those mechanisms practiced by the users of the system, making it possible for a swift and safe resolution of incidences that might come about.

2. Risk reduction

The conversion by logical subdivisions guarantees a development involving a concentrated area of operations, therefore making whatever procedures to be carried out over the data less costly.

3. Increase in efficiency and quality of the Conversion Process

The experiences acquired by the users from the first phase could be used in the remaining areas to be converted.

4. Current System setup

It is best to segregate implementation phases based on database independence. Implementing for one region with an independent database minimizes any integrity controls necessary for remaining phases.

For Client, with each branch having a certain degree of operational area and database independence, it is highly recommended that a geographical area or region be chosen as separate Implementation Phases for the New System.

To be able to identify the Pilot Region or Pilot Phase, a comparative analysis of the regions that comprise the geographic area of influence of the company must be undertaken, taking into account the following aspects:

• The volume of clients/services to be converted should be of reasonable quantity but sufficient enough to measure the quality of the actual results

• The possibility of reaching the commercial offices in reasonable time to be able to attend to whatever unforeseen incidents that could arise during the first phase of the implementation

• The communications infrastructure as a fundamental aspect of the implementation

• The commercial activities of the region’s offices to be selected must involve a majority of the commercial functions supported by the new system

• The capability and receptiveness of the personnel in the event of modernization should be taken into account, as well as their ability to pass on acquired experiences and knowledge

• To avoid, as much as possible, carrying out the first implementation in regions with a high concentration of clients (i.e., clients per geographic area)

• It is recommended that the region be as isolated as can be, from a geographic point of view, from the rest of the regions so as to minimize the overlapping of commercial operations between the actual and the new system.

Project Vacation - Canada

In the project implementation, month of July and August are the common months when the resources will be less. Why? Because most of them are asking for a vacation and spend the time with family when the children are having a summer break.

Canada is becoming a place to be for vacation during this time. The weather during this time is perfect to wander around. If you do not have any idea in mind, you can start googling on Banff, Calgary, Niagara, Whistle, etc. These are nice places to visit.

For the airplane, you can have many options nowadays from your country, you can try also Flights to Canada where you can find good offers Flights to Canada. The company also can help you to spend Holidays in Canada. What you need to do is just to contact them by email or phone, and there will be a ready customer service to help you organizing your itineraries plan for holiday. Isn’t wonderful to have a tailor made holidays?

The booking is not only for you airplane trips, you can ask as well to organize your hotel, car rental, and reserve recreation areas like beach, spas, etc.

In the end, why bother to plan yourselves on the places that you never visited. Trust your itineraries on the company that has been working on this for many years.

One thing that you might want to check on the website is the top flight deal. I sometimes find a really good offer on that section.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Steps to Data Gathering Activities

In order to achieve the target of Data Gathering activities, the following objectives and scope should be achieved:

1. Development of tools for field data gathering. First is Data Gathering Management System (DGMS) that will be stationed in each Data Gathering Center. The main purposes of DGMS are to plan, process data, and generate reports. Next is Data Gathering Mobile Application that will be used by surveyor to gather GPS position of the property and also additional data.

2. Development of Methodologies and Manuals. Methodology for each campaign should be defined. Refer to next section regarding various methodologies in DG campaign. The manual for each tool should be prepared for ease use by the surveyor.

3. Define Location of Data Gathering Center (DGC). DGC will be the center of all field data gathering activities where planning, upload data, validation, and report generation will take place with the use of Data Gathering Management System (DGMA). A location of DGC should be carefully selected to ensure productivity and effectiveness of DGC. Good access to readers and stable communication line should be considered.

4. Launch Data Gathering. Once the DGC has been setup up with proper logistics, data gathering can be started.

5. Monitor DGC performance. Reports generated by DGMS could be used to monitor the performance of DGC and its surveyors.

6. Produce quality data. Extensive validation should be performed for gathered data. This is to ensure that the final data that will be passed for conversion has good data quality to avoid future problems.

7. Provide data to Losses Reduction Project. During data gathering, possible fraud process might be detected due to sweeping activities. These services with fraud and direct connections should be transferred to Losses Reduction Project for further actions.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Simple Data Gathering Audit: Using Excel

A good Data Gathering Management System enable the system to track the time when data is gathered in the field. Of course this time stamp is obtained if only the surveyors are using hand held / HHU / PDA / TPA / Pocket PC during data gathering. Based on this information, the supervisor can extract the data together with its time stamp. Daily the supervisor should check the time stamp.

Example of data:
Data Date&Time
1,S:John D:Data1 T:Jul 28 2007 10:10AM
2,S:John D:Data2 T:Jul 28 2007 10:13AM
3,S:John D:Data3 T:Jul 28 2007 10:16AM
4,S:John D:Data4 T:Jul 28 2007 10:18AM
5,S:John D:Data5 T:Jul 28 2007 10:22AM

Supervisor can check the time of first data gathered, last data gathered, and all data in between. This can give better reasons for supervisor to question the surveyors with poor performance. Questions like:
1. Why you reach the first property/data in 2 hours?
2. Why you take a looooooong break during lunch?
3. Why you did not come directly to the office after finishing the last property/data?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Is PayPerPost for me?

I have written my blogs long ago. I started my blog to share my knowledge to the community... hoping that I can review them in future time. One day, one of my friends told me about payperpost.

Well, at the beginning I was reluctant to sign up because my friend has high PR blog, and for him, it is easy to get high offer and earn more than $1000 per month. It even encouraged him to quit him daily job so that he can spend more time with his family.

But after I took a look again on payperpost, I realize that even with a low PR, I can still earn. I finally said to myself ... why I did not take this opportunity? I am writing blog regularly anyway.... why don't I get some extra income? I can also donate this money to some needy near my house. I do not target myself like my friend where he can already resign from his job and do some online business. I just continue writing what I like and look some for offers that is related to my topics.

Here I am.. joining the community and share some of my opinions. Try to look on and see if this suits you. There is nothing to loose in trying. What an opportunity in today's technology. Good Luck!

Hotel Management for Project Managers

One thing that the project managers often do is to travel. Either to attend the business meeting or visit the sites. If you are in a big multinational companies, most likely you do not need to do the hassle to book and look for a place to stay because all have been arranged by your administration personnel.

However, some of project managers do not have this luxury. I, for example, am often asked where I want to stay when I am traveling. To some extend, this is good because I can choose the hotel and location to stay. The company gives me an idea of the budget and I am free to book my hotel.

There are many services in the internet that can help you research, but I like to use Hotel Reservations

I just need to spend 5 minutes to ask myself the following questions before booking:

1. Do I travel to a place that I never visited? If Yes, I try to look a strategic place of the hotel that let me wander around easily after business meeting. If Not, I try to look for farther place quite but good facilities. Usually, farther place offer you a cheaper price with better facilities.

2. Do I have hectic schedule for a meeting in the place I visited? The same strategy I will decide like number 1.

3. Am I going to treat some business partners? If Yes, I try to look for a prestige hotel so that I can treat them with hotel facilities like bars and restaurant. If Not, it is better to look for hotel with more personal facilities like swimming pool, good bathtub inside, etc.

You can add some more criteria if you like, but in general I used those criteria above. Once I have an idea in mind, I search what I want in Hotel Reservations. Most of the time it offers me a good price compared if I need to contact directly the hotel. The available searching criteria gives me better options to choose. The description of hotels is accurate for me to select the one I wanted. Try to not look back to your decision once you book the hotel otherwise you will spend hours and hours wasting your time thinking if you have made the right decision.

This kind of technique only takes me 15 minutes and I can have a business travel at the same time enjoying my stay.

Well, personally I also used Hotel Reservations to book my holidays because it offers a good price and promo and discounted resorts around the world.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Validation during Data Gathering: Meter Duplicate

Before implementing Customer Management System, Data gathering is often used to improve the quality of data that will be used by new billing system.

One of the entity to be improved is Meter information. During data gathering, the meter number should be checked if there are duplicate meters. Ideally, a manufacturer or a utility company will NOT allow meter number duplicate among same brand and type. Thus, the meter duplicate should be checked by using Meter Brand + Meter Type or Model + Meter Number.

Any duplicate meters should be rechecked because most of the time, it is a mistake of surveyors. A list containing two or more meters that are duplicated should be given to a surveyor or supervisors to be checked in the field. This task is recommended to be be done daily by supervisors while he/she is doing the audit to surveyors.

Ensuring no duplicate meters will improve the performance of Customer Management System since it will enable the billing system to search customer by using meter number. Other benefit is that it will enable the company to do good inventory of the meters.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Important of Meter Digit

In Customer Management System for Electric company, it is important that the system records meter digit.
meter digit
Business process personnel from the company should decide whether they are going to tell the readers to read only the real number or until the decimal point. Example in the picture has meter digit 5.1 (5 digit real numbers and 1 decimal digit). This decision will impact on how the meter digit is stored in the system. If reader is going to read only the real number, then in example picture, reader will record only "00001" (without "4"). Also, the customer management system or billing system will only record 5 as meter digit.

Meter digit or sometimes called meter dials could be used by the system to detect meter turn over. Ok... what is meter turn over you may ask. Meter turn over is when the meter reaches its maximum number when registering kWh consumption. Let us say that you have a meter with 5 meter digit, when the previous reading is 99998 and the current reading is 00001, the system should detect that there is meter turnover and the consumption will be calculated as 3 kWh (99998 going to 99999, 99999 going to 00000, 00000 going to 00001) because the system knows that that meter can only reach up to 99999 and will be return back to 00000.

This can be also a good indicator for a company to trigger a service order to calibrate a meter.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Agile Project Management for Utility System

There are quite number of articles or argument on Agile Project Management. One thing that interest me is the discussion whether this Agile Project Management is only applicable on software development project or any other projects?

This summary from could answer our mind bugling:

The best project managers aren’t just organizers – they combine business vision, communication skills, soft management skills and technical savvy with the ability to plan, coordinate, and execute. In essence, they are not just managers – they are leaders. While this has always been the case, agile project management
places a higher premium on the leadership skills than ever before.

For example, XP teams create and monitor their own iteration plans in collaboration with the customers. The customer creates stories (features) and prioritizes them based on business value. The developers divide up the tasks themselves as they work and measures progress for each iteration (time-boxed development cycle), adjusting plans with the customer as necessary. So, if the project no longer needs a detailed master project plan, why does it need a project manager?

Because every project needs a leader. Agile methodologies free the project manager from the drudgery of being a taskmaster thereby enabling the project manager to focus on being a leader – someone who keeps the spotlight on the vision, who inspires the team, who promotes teamwork and collaboration, who champions the project and removes obstacles to progress. Rather than being an operational controller, the project
manager can become an adaptive leader – if she can relinquish her reliance on old style management.

The basic phases of an agile development project are really no different from those of any other project. You still must define and initiate the project, plan for the project, execute the plan, and monitor and control the results. But, the manner in which these steps are accomplished are different and require the project manager to retrofit what they know about traditional management to a new way of thinking – the thinking of complex adaptive systems.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Disclosure Policy

This policy is valid from 23 August 2007

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact Rezza (aschode at yahoo dot com).

This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions
expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content may not always be identified.

To get your own policy, go to

Failing Rate of Project Implementation

Implementing Electric Utility System is quite similar like implementing IT Projects. The rate of failure projects is quite high.

Based on the study done on IT Projects quoted from

n 1994, the researchers found that 31 percent of the IT projects were flat failures. That is, they were abandoned before completion and produced nothing useful. Only about 16 percent of all projects were completely successful: delivering applications on time, within budget and with all the originally specified features.

"As of 2006, the absolute failure rate is down to 19 percent," Johnson says. "The success rate is up to 35 percent." The remaining 46 percent are what the Standish Group calls "challenged": projects that didn't meet the criteria for total success but delivered a useful product.

This rate should aware us everytime we are going to start the project. Typical reasons in implementing the Electric Utility System is lack of knowledge of project scope. Or maybe... misunderstanding of project scope from both parties.

Marketing people at the starts tries to sell the project with no clear definitions of the project. Or the client as well sometimes did not see on the details. Thus, when the project starts it is difficult to implement strict milestones to close some stages. Protocol of acceptance becomes difficult to sign and vendors becomes more lenient to give some modifications. When modifications are given, the client does not stop asking for more modifications.

Thus, before starting the project both parties should know in details and agree upon the scope. When the project starts, many project management tools or methodologies can be use to monitor critical path and problems arises that can hinder the objective of the project.