4 ways to ensure a seamless billing migration

Say the words ‘billing system migration’ to almost any old-hand in the energy industry and there’s a good chance you will conjure a look of fear. Stories of migrations going over budget, over time, and causing significant disruption have - until recently - been considered the norm.

In the past, when businesses undertook a migration project, it was common for operations such as customer acquisition to slow down, or even stop entirely. What’s more, businesses were often left with expensive new software and little guidance on how to implement a critical piece of work. In a nutshell, migration meant disruption.

However, with a contemporary approach, and the right people at the helm, migration needn’t be the headache it once was.

Flux has worked closely with energy retailers on all aspects of their business operations over the past 15 years. Having a strong understanding of retail operations means we know what is needed for a successful migration.

Our experience partnering with one of New Zealand’s largest energy retailers - Meridian Energy - to migrate 230,000 connections onto the Flux platform, helped us develop a repeatable, streamlined migration process. 

Meridian Energy’s customer base is expansive and complex, including multinational commercial and industrial (C&I) customers, through to residential and agricultural connections. Connections are both smart metered and non-smart metered, and are offered a range of advanced tariffs such as time-of-use (TOU), spot pricing, and Fixed Price Variable Volume (FPVV).

Doing migrations right

While we provide the software necessary for billing transformation, we also help our partners  get up to speed, rapidly enabling the value the Flux platform offers. With our heritage working in energy retail, we have the technical knowledge to work as integrated advisors alongside our partners to reduce the risks surrounding a billing migration.

This business-led, iterative and agile approach meant we were able to scale to support Meridian Energy in completing its migration project, without impacting the customer experience or growth of the retailer.

During the migration period, Meridian Energy was able to achieve: 

  • An increase in retail sales volumes 
  • No change to customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.

These outcomes demonstrate the quality of the Flux migration model.

4 Steps to achieving success when undertaking a billing migration

There are some key steps that energy retailers need to consider to achieve a successful migration:

1. Start with clean and concise data records

Prior to migration, undertake a data cleansing exercise. Do you need to bring across all of your data? If not, don’t migrate it for the sake of it. You can always store it separately for reporting purposes. For the data records you are moving, make sure you spend some time checking formats and gaps so that it is migrated as cleanly as possible.

2. Settle on your cohorts and migrate them in the safest way 

There are different migration pathways but the most efficient option is to choose one and craft your approach around it. Taking your time to align your implementation programme with your cohort approach ensures business processes and your team are equipped to seamlessly handle the transition.

The “big bang” or hard cutover is not always the best approach. For instance, using contract end dates for different cohorts can remove a lot of migration pain. Flux can advise on the pros and cons of different approaches.

3. Test as you go - fix on failure

Process is key. At Flux, our unique iterative and agile approach allows us to discover any faults quickly and work on a solution before it snowballs into a larger problem that could potentially impact customer connectivity and growth during a migration. Sometimes the lower risk option is to hold back on migrating a particular cohort while the plan is revised. This allows the risks to be understood and addressed during the process.

4. Report back daily

We follow a high-trust, high-touch model with our clients, and during the migration process this is no different. If our key stakeholders know exactly what is happening on a regular basis, they can make the right decisions to drive the work forward.

With these fundamentals in place, the business critical task of a billing platform migration can be effectively managed to be a seamless BAU process.  The default for some energy companies is to do nothing, opting instead to retain a sub-standard status quo, however, as the model of energy generation, distribution and consumption continues to rapidly evolve, doing nothing becomes a far greater risk than making a change.

If you are interested in learning more about how Flux approaches migration projects, get in touch with us today - we'd love to talk.