By Staff

As part of its strategy to face competition, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) is promoting an ambitious change of its services and technologies to improve customer service.

The is a program called Plan of Development of Support Systems Business Operations (SSEP), whose implementation is in a race against time.

Pesso, whose first phase should be ready in February, includes seven projects that seek integrated solutions and represents an investment of $150 million.

Leon explained that currently, ICE has a “potpourri” of applications that reflect how the entity has been evolving with respect to technologies.

Such applications were integrated with a high difficulty. However, it did not produce the expected results, and have a huge cost of support.

“This gives us an inadequate response to customers. As we are now, if the competition offers the customer a product and we want to react, ICE can not do in it the time required, sometimes it can take even years. Therefore we need appropriate solutions, “he added.

ICE has lost more than ¢ 1,900 million in the migration of telephony billing systems and Gitel SIMO without positive results.

Among the problems is in the current arrangement the platforms are proprietary or closed (dependent on the manufacturer to be extended or renewed). This prevents developing value-added services on those applications.

In addition, there is no data integrity. This implies that for example, if a customer buys a service it is recorded on that platform, but billed to another.

Ideally, all involved in providing the service should have a single view of the customer.

Customer first. One of the main changes Pesso introduced is that focused on the client and not to services.

Pesso includes seven projects: Managing the Customer Relationship (CRM), Planning and Network Design, Management Resources and Services; Chain Management Input and Income, Vertical Billing and Business Applications.

The first and most urgent is CRM that focuses on knowledge of customer needs, service delivery and customer support. Its implementation began in mid-2009 and must end in February.

Meanwhile, Vertex, which includes the design and configuration of services, resource procurement, shipping and insurance was launched this year and ends in 2011.

Vertical Billing, seeking an integrated solution for billing for services and finishes implemented next year.

While projects of Planning and Network Design and Business Applications are in the process of procurement and design, respectively.

According to Leon this is not a software purchase but rather business solutions.

With these projects ICE seeks a rapid introduction of new services and capabilities to respond effectively and flexibly to market changes, customers and competition.

Time will be the final judge as to whether ICE can upgrade its services and technology or be swept aside but the competition that will soon be pouring into the country.