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Being able to multi-task used to be seen as the apex of human achievement. If you could simultaneously do a bunch of things at once, to a high standard, you were winning at life. Then research flipped the script, with multiple studies finding that multi-tasking was bad for the brain, had a negative impact on productivity and lowered IQ.
Multi-tasking used to be seen as a great thing at Flux too. As a pioneer in the energy retail software space, our focus had to be on doing it all. We were an end-to-end system, a ‘retailer in a box’ that successfully powered challenger brand Powershop in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. With Flux, energy companies could stand up industry-leading retail products that enabled access to wider sources of energy, reduced cost-to-serve and delighted their end users. But just as neuroscientists discovered that texting while watching TV or writing a report while in a meeting was bad for our brains, we figured out that doing it all was fundamentally unsustainable for Flux’s long-term success. It turns out that Flux can do more for our clients by doing less. Here’s how - and why - this works.
Why a tight focus works
To keep disrupting the energy industry, we need to be comfortable disrupting the way we work. We’ve heard from plenty of clients trapped in agreements with expensive and cumbersome legacy systems that can’t evolve to keep pace with their business - and we didn’t want that to be Flux’s future. While Flux’s original offering offered the simplicity of an end-to-end energy retail solution, from prospect to pay and everything in between, we realised this didn’t suit clients who don’t require the full suite. We also knew that refreshing how we did things would enable us to shape the way our clients measure, track and engage with energy consumption. So, we decoupled our app and focused on what we’re good at.
FlexiBill - an incredibly sophisticated product that enables retailers to bill any tariff and price any plan, at speed - is central to our platform. Like all Flux’s offerings, it’s built to seamlessly integrate with other specialist technology companies so we can ensure every client's needs are met.
Crucially, our clients are loving our new direction. At Meridian Energy, for example, moving 350,000 connections to Flux from a legacy platform has already resulted in improved agent productivity and speed to competency. “Customers on the Flux platform require fewer service interventions and have lesser need to contact our Customer Care teams, while our agents are better able to service our customers, more quickly,” says Lisa Hannifin, Meridian Energy’s Chief Customer Officer.
“These improvements help free our people up to spend our time working on high value customer activities – rather than day-to-day servicing – and managing an ever growing customer base, without growing our staffing levels.”
Choosing smart partners
Our clients need the ability to flex, scale and adapt their software systems at pace. We’re good at a lot of things, including being able to identify when it’s time to partner up with people who can co-create benefits for our products, our clients, their customers and our shared future. That’s why we believe strongly in integration.
We pride ourselves on having the best offering in our market - and we love working with other best-of-breed companies like Gorilla, SendGrid and AWS. Integrating with the world's best means we can focus on optimising what we do best. Flux partnered with Gorilla in 2020 to build a billing engine capable of leading utilities into the energy future. Gorilla’s focus on collecting, processing and analysing critical business data makes it a perfect match for Flux’s ambitions to simplify and demystify billing in the energy industry. We’re excited about partnering with more smart partners in the future (if you want to be one of them, hit us up).
Working with great clients
We also put a lot of work into choosing who we take on as clients. We invest heavily in our clients’ successes and want our relationships to be win-win. Flux is more than just a software partner or provider; we work hard to support our clients as trusted advisers. We operate via a high-touch client services model that sees our people become part of our clients’ business, and the results are gratifying. Our service is such that we can do this from a distance - as shown by our work with npower when it was setting up Powershop UK.
“We’ve been closely integrated and it feels like one big team,” says David Winter, managing director of Powershop UK. “Flux people are intelligent, flexible and interested. When there’s a problem, people come up with well thought-out solutions.”
When things are going well for our clients, things are going well for Flux. Luckily, you don’t need to be a neuroscientist or a multi-tasker to figure out that that’s good for everyone.
Simon Pohlen is VP Solutions & Architecture at Flux. Prior to joining Flux, he led the technology practice at an energy retail business. This experience, and a career in data and software management, enables him to effectively guide our team to build solutions that flex to the ever-changing needs of the energy sector.
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