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, December 17, 2007

Make Use of Internet Calling

Working in the project requires me to travel into some countries. Calling to my family or offices abroad becoming my daily routines. To reduce the cost of calling abroad, I make use of Internet Phone Service. There are many providers out there that can give you good rate for Long Distance Phone Rates. However, make sure that you have good internet connection. Otherwise, your calls will be delayed. It is very disturbing especially when you make a business call.

One thing that put in my mind when choosing a provider for internet phone is the capability to store my phone book online. This way, I can make a phone call from any computers by just signing in into the software and all my phone book are displayed. It is a good back up for my contact numbers online as well. Another aspect for consideration is if the provider has Unlimited Long Distance Calling Plan. I used to call my families often. I might say daily. Thus, an unlimited calling plan helps me a lot in saving my calling costs.

Try to search around regarding providers that suit your needs. If you are using internet phone in the office, try to check out if the software is allowed by your admin. Some softwares will not pass the proxy server set by your admin.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Does your meter readers know meter model and brand?

Recently, I was sending the meter readers to the field to obtain some of the meter brands and model in customers' properties. To my surprise, they returned with different lists on the same area. Even though meter readers always going to the field to read meters, it is NOT necessarily mean that they know the meter brand and models. Why?

1. When they read the meters, they only read the meter number and meter reading. They never care about the brand and models. Only the technicians observe meter brand and model because the need to make a field report after installing or exchanging meters.

2. Even if they see something in meters, they do not know whether it is brand, model, country of manufactures. Especially when your readers do not speak English. It will be difficult when they see S.P.A. Is it a brand or a model? When they see EGYPT, is it a brand, model, or country of manufactures? Some meter brands uses country as the brand. To make the situation worst, some meter manufactures do not put the brand in the meter. They only put type. One example is SUNER meter brand. They only put TPD2 in the meter, which is the type of meter, NOT the brand.

Thus, if you plan to gather information about meter brand and model in some area, try to send your technicians. If you need to deploy your readers because they know the area better, spend few days to train them about the available meter brand and models in your company.

Below are some meter brands that are commonly used in electric company:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Using Website for External Communications In Project Management

As mentioned in my previous post regarding the importance of external communications in implementing new billing system, project management should take the campaigns of external communications seriously.

One way to launch external communication campaigns is through website. Project management should choose the web hosting company to put all web sites files. Sounds difficult to choice a right webhosting company? Not anymore because you can go to to search for available hosting companies with their alternative plans and prices.

You can input the search criteria either by prices, spaces, bandwidth, etc to find the right hosting companies that will fit your needs. If you are still new to web hosting features and capabilities, make sure that you visit FAQ section to understand further about what web hosting are. You can read different types of web hosting with their advantages and disadvantages.

Take note to observe their up time because you want your website for external communications to be up most of the time. However, even though expensive web hosts offer you more functionalities and support, cheaper web host does not necessary offer "cheap" functionalities and supports.

Data in Email Communications

Communication in project management are mostly relied on email exchanges. Data are passed as well trough email communications. Email accounts should be able to be accessed and downloaded using Email application in laptop so that the emails can be read even though the project team members are off line.

To minimize the cost of having reliable email server, project management can look for hosted exchange available online. The cost of having email server will be reduced without sacrificing the quality and the security of our emails data. Make sure you find the service that offer exchange hosting with latest technology like hosted exchange 2007 and provide you money back guarantee to test their services and reliabilities.

Additional features that can synchronize with Blackberry or Windows mobile device can be something to think of if you have your project members always mobile and owning these devices. If data integrity and security are concerning you the most, try to ask them to explain how they secure the data that will not be able to be accessed by unauthorized people. If you do not understand their explanation, post in on IT forum so that other people can verify the security.