Since selling its first cubic metre of gas in 1959, private utility company Gruppo Società Gas Rimini (SGR) has expanded from natural gas distribution and sales to an established part of the wider energy and utilities market. The company now provides a complete service that offers safe and efficient energy and technical solutions for its clients.
However, SGR has recently faced a complex IT problem, created by the continued use of legacy software across disparate sections of its business. The company was using a customer relationship management solution, a separate billing platform and a custom middle tier to tie them together, with the interaction of these different platforms creating an unmanageable level of complexity and reducing the efficiency of the company’s operation. Therefore, SGR sought a solution to update these legacy applications, with the goal of producing a service which effectively used the expertise of its employees.
“We needed to have a solution that helped us to use the competencies of people in business, not in solving technical problems” says Fabio Brancaleoni, general manager of Utilia at SGR.
Following an extensive engagement process, SGR selected MECOMS 365, a platform developed by Ferranti Computer Systems. Based on Microsoft Dynamics and the Microsoft Power Platform, MECOMS 365 provides an integrated approach to customer engagement, care and billing and meter data management for energy and utility companies. The platform provides the flexibility of a cloud-based solution and can work seamlessly with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365.
“The platform will allow SGR to use and benefit from the latest capabilities, features and functionalities into the future, without the cost of expensive upgrades and integration projects,” says Johan Vandekerckhove, chief commercial officer for MECOMS Ferranti.
MECOMS 365 is used by over 50 utilities around the world. However, Ferranti also extended the platform to meet the specific needs of the Italian market by partnering with IT provider and SGR subsidiary Utilia to develop a new solution called MECOMS4ITA. The solution supports the regulations of the Italian Regulatory Authority for Electricity Gas and Water, enabling a platform adapted to the needs of the country’s utilities industry.
These market specific features have been supported by Ferranti’s partnership with Microsoft’s Business Applications Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Connect programme. The programme provides technical and business support for ISVs to deliver industry specific capabilities on top of a modern modular platform.
“Microsoft is investing so much in cloud, artificial intelligence and data, and it’s moving so fast,” says Vandekerckhove. “The ISV Connect programme allows us to keep up with the pace and then translate that innovation to the customer, so that they can benefit.”
This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issues delivered directly to your inbox.
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