She continues, “These factors are pushing retailers and utilities outside of a standard two-line fixed price bill to a competitive land of new offerings that recognizes and incentivizes conservation efforts.” This trend in turn has compelled software companies to provide innovative and competitive technology for the incumbent utilities in order to minimize their risk of losing significant load.
Headquartered in Norcross, GA, iSIGMA is an able torchbearer, helping players in the energy and utilities market take advantage of this transformation. “Being an innovative company in a technology environment, we have the upper hand in providing cutting edge solutions, which meet energy retailers’ operational needs,” states Tarafanyuk.
iSIGMA has the advantage for growth in this technology oriented and rapidly changing environment. The company offers a complete suite of products–from prospect and campaign management, pricing, and deal capture to enrollment, customer care and billing, financials, self-service portals, third party interfaces, reporting, and business intelligence not only to the utilities and retailers, but also to brokers, property managers, and consumers.
The company's SaaS-based customer information and billing solution, SIGMA Customer Care and Billing (CC&B) is playing the role of a transformative agent for enterprises in the regulated and deregulated energy markets. “iSIGMA stands behind Retail Energy Providers (REP) and utilities providing solutions where a multitude of global, targeted, and individual products can be launched quickly and effortlessly,” states Tarafanyuk. This empowers clients to expand and retain their portfolios by implementing rebates and credits, rewards programs, discounts, promotions, and loyalty programs.
Tackling the Complexity in Regulated and Deregulated Markets
iSIGMA was founded with the vision to serve the investor-owned utilities, and municipals in the regulated market, before plunging into meet the deregulated retail marketing space in 2002.
Being an innovative company in a technology environment, we have the upper hand in providing cutting edge solutions, which meet energy retailers’ operational needs
With deregulation increasingly becoming a norm in the utility market, the retail energy marketers and utilities need to grasp the pulse of the customers, their needs, and what they are willing to pay—both now and in the future. In such a scenario, delivering the bill and getting the cash isn’t the only factor. iSIGMA's CC&B helps energy providers and utilities gain insights into their customer base, and their power usage patterns. The insights derived from these components help providers formulate campaigns, introduce new pricing structures, or provide lucrative offers.
The web-based application is designed in a modular way where additional products and services can be added to the core engine whenever they are requested, and the system’s size can be easily scaled, so it never performs over 85 percent of its capacity. This makes SIGMA CC&B efficient and attractive to large enterprises as well as start-ups in the energy industry. “We not only offer these solutions to the utilities and retailers, but also to brokers, property managers, and consumers,” she adds.
Regardless of each offering’s vast objectives and functionality, all of iSIGMA’s products are bonded by a common denominator—automation, or “cron”—as iSIGMA calls it. Automated processes relieve retailers and utilities from tedious and mundane, yet time-consuming tasks, and allow them to focus on providing better customer service, improving energy infrastructure, lowering costs. It allows clients to select which jobs are to be run automatically and when. “They can decide on the cron’s frequency and notification pattern,” says Tarafanyuk. “The rest is left to our technology.”
Intuitive Interface for Customer Visibility
Today, the company generates over a million customer bills monthly across 16 states, addressing the servicing needs of 19 electric and gas suppliers. While taking care of end-to-end billing processes at one side, CC&B helps clients tackle a major metric in utilities business: customer experience. “We empower the Customer Service Representatives (CSR) by a well-designed, easily accessible drill down screen interface to correctly and speedily answer the customer’s queries,” says Tarafanyuk.
The platform also facilitates self-service portals that allow a prospect to go through the enrollment process and a customer to access their account, view current and previous bills, review usage histories, and make payments. Further, iSIGMA has recently launched the second generation of Deal Capture, a standalone product enabling brokers to manage leads, request and accept quotes, send and receive contracts, submit enrollment requests, and view earned commissions. “We are witnessing year-after-year growth due to increased customer counts of energy providers utilizing SIGMA platform, and many of our clients have quadrupled in digits.
Innovation—Key to Success
iSIGMA continually innovates and enhances its core platform by periodic version upgrades in general, and according to client’s needs. “At iSIGMA, we invest time in getting to know our customer and their business operations, as each one is unique with their approach in the market,” asserts Tarafanyuk.
In one instance, one of iSIGMA’s clients expressed concern that a sizable portion of their customer base could not fully utilize the customized portal due to language proficiency barriers. The retailer had to hire additional customer service representatives to handle payments over the phone, explain billed charges, and answer questions. To overcome this challenge, iSIGMA introduced multi-language support for the portal as well as customer bills and notifications. “Thinking ahead, we took a more comprehensive approach and included additional features that made our system capable of supporting a wide variety of languages by virtue of configuration,” asserts Tarafanyuk. “Delivery of innovative services by itself is a fun engagement. The challenge however is ensuring that the company culture remains sufficiently dynamic and responsive to ever changing customer preferences while satisfying the most critical customer expectations,” she continues.
"We empower the Customer Service Representatives (CSR) by a well-designed, easily accessible drill down screen interface to correctly and speedily answer the customer’s queries"
Implementing the Right Ingredients
The company's motto for success, “We grow as our clients grow” has helped them traverse a long journey. Since iSIGMA’s inception, company leaders were cultivating a commitment to clients’ needs, regardless of their size and financial capabilities. “Today, we are humbled to continue servicing our first customers and excited that our technology and market expertise have helped our clients gain new market share,” says Tarafanyuk. She continues, “We are proud that the energy supplier using our platform had been a winner of JD Power & Associates best customer care award several times. Such dedication by far surpassed the work culture; it formed the system’s core components–flexibility and scalability.”
“We continue seeing consolidation of utilities companies on a global scale, which leads to regulatory reforms and the relative standardization of processes,” says Tarafanyuk. The company recognized this as an opportunity for retailers to improve their operations and released the Multi Market and Commodity in Single Environment support that saves infrastructure costs, reduces time in maintaining user logins and roles in different environments by providing single sign-on capability.
iSIGMA’s vision for the utilities is far more robust. Tarafanyuk foresees incredible growth and opportunity in the solar energy sector. Keeping the future in mind, the company is currently deploying a platform for a leading solar equipment company in the U.S. who builds, installs, and maintains residential solar energy systems. For the days to come, the company will continue to grow, both in horizontal and vertical markets, and enhance its products by implementing innovative technology.