Utility benefits from better billing and IT systems

Client Results Story

Our client, a leading gas and electricity retailer in a major national market, had grown in recent years through several acquisitions, the most recent of which increased the number of customers by 50%. Despite increasing customers, the client had not been able to realize scale economies in its operations, with IT costs and overall operating costs rising steadily on a per customer basis.

A range of IT-related problems suggested an overall misalignment with business priorities:
  • Some 'business critical' capabilities missing or incomplete, resulting in constraints on market strategy, revenue loss, and several slow and expensive manual workarounds
  • Daunting workload for IT/Solutions team, consisting of ~1,600 projects in a 3-5 year program of major work, most of which related to 'business basics' vs. value-added capabilities
  • Weak alignment of IT/project investment with business priorities, and an unclear project prioritization process and criteria
  • Poor record of on-time/on-function delivery of IT projects, and low confidence over future delivery dates
  • Important business risks emerging
The client asked Bain to advise GasCo how to align its IT resources and investments to:
  • Capture the benefits of scale
  • Support and enable the attraction and/or retention of valuable customers
  • Reduce risks to base business performance

View Approach

Bain set up several steps to analyze and identify the best IT effort for the client.


View Recommendations

Bain recommended the following actions:
  • Establish clear decision making processes and accountabilities
  • Rationalize the project slate to focus on a number of potential major projects
  • Implement a range of budgetary controls
  • Define a "target architecture" for processes and IT
Bain also recommended an approach to fundamentally improve the billing architecture, built around 'shared and common' elements. For migration options, Bain recommended system-based migration, which balances the quickest capture of benefits with the level of risk.

The Single Billing System will:


View Results

Bain estimates the benefit for billing migration at more than $130 million in present value.  This estimate is built from a range of reliable sources, including bottom-up work with the client's IT team and external input from Gartner's industry database.

Related consulting services