Every company or organization needs effective strategies that enable data-driven decision-making and it is no different for utility or energy data collection processes.
Adopting advanced technology including automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence provides strategic opportunities for cost-savings and improvement.
Utility data management goes beyond collecting operational and billing data; effective utility management provides accurate data for actionable insights that can be used to drive enterprise success, customer service and operational analytics.
To get the most out of your data, you need to undertake several crucial steps throughout the lifecycle of utility data including efficient data entry and advanced data capture. Collecting data is easy enough; however, what comes after is much more complicated. The assimilated data needs to be organized and sorted sequentially to extract the corresponding data from relevant fields. All this needs to be done with utmost accuracy, speed and care using an amalgamated strategic and technological approach for effective insights, cost-effectiveness and shorter turnaround times,
Here’s how technology and human innovation combine to transform your utility data collection and management process:
Accurate Date Entry
Every utility or energy company compiles large datasets of consumer utility data that have to be sorted and processed with great precision for effective insights. The challenges faced by many utility companies arise from the manual nature of utility bill collection and the effort of entering them into a system. Given that this can be quite a laborious task, not to mention time-consuming, many companies find themselves searching for automated alternatives.
At ARDEM, we make accurate data entry from consumer utility bills much easier. Utility bills are often provided in two ways: electronically through direct mail or downloaded from a website and mailed to an address in paper form.
All you need to do is forward your utility bills to us, whether in electronic or physical form. The moment we receive your bills, we enter them into the processing cycle, all electronic bills are formatted while the physical bills are re-routed to our headquarters in New Jersey and are converted into digital files using our high-speed scanners. In fact, you can also mail us the scanned copies of your consumer utility bills and we will do rest.
Once the formats have been standardized, ARDEM employs a mixture of the best data entry methodology and effort-based data capture to enter and process utility data. We further employ a combination of double-key data entry and multiple validation checks to ensure the highest possible data quality.
Automated Data Capture
As mentioned before, utility data collection and management is no piece of cake. As your business grows and expands, things are only going to get more complicated as the scale of service goes up along with the corresponding paperwork.
The entire process of utility data collection is streamlined using effort-based data capture. Data capture technology enables all of your paper and electronic documents to be transformed into intelligent and usable data. Advanced algorithms create intelligent relationships between data in order to seamlessly map them into the correct corresponding fields for effective utility data management.
ARDEM’s data capture solution employs advanced automation to capture data from different fields in the utility invoices and aggregates it to form relevant data sets that can help you track revenue and gain crucial business insights. Automated data capture using OCR (optical character recognition)and ICR (intelligent character recognition) doesn’t just eliminate manual inaccuracies, it also speeds up your data collection process and also lowers your processing costs by an immediate 30%.
Utility Data Processing and Management
The entire utility billing cycle comprises several important steps that can drive up the cost of processing a single invoice or bill. It all starts with the utility bills being sent out and involves several processes until final payment. Once the bills are sent out, they are received at company mail centers where they need to be sorted. The bills are then scanned to create digital copies and sent to different departments for processing. Relevant data from different fields is then manually copied into spreadsheets or applications. Finally, analysts are allocated to analyze the aggregated data and map out trends and business insights.
The entire process is both time and labour-intensive; an automated workflow can help streamline the entire process for higher ROI. We first study your existing process and then propose an updated workflow backed by automation. We further build and train a remote team for your utility processing needs. Our team works in 3 round-the-clock shifts to ensure that your processing never stops and when your processing needs increase, we can scale up our services within 10 days to match your fluctuating needs.
Remote Working Solutions
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of building resilient systems to ensure continuity of services despite disruptions. An important step towards building such resilience is creating robust systems for remote working. ARDEM offers you one such digital platform that enables remote working and connectivity.
The ARDEM Collaboration Platform is a digital workplace that can be easily accessed via any web browser. We also have a specific platform for utility management, the ARDEM Utility Manager. Unique login credentials enable you to access a private dashboard that empowers remote collaboration. Raw files can be shared by simply uploading them into specific folders or even with a simple drag and drop. These files can then be easily accessed by your remote ARDEM team and downloaded for processing.
The dashboard then enables you to see the progress of your project in real-time, and also allows you to leave updated work instructions on the file itself. As your project progresses, you can customize your dashboard view to review the metrics of your choice and see the total number of bills sent in a week, a month, a year and more. The final output is shared in a flat file that can be easily ingested into your system. The output files can be downloaded with a simple click from the output folder.
The Benefits of Utility Data Collection Outsourcing
- Poor data quality can result in costly mistakes, i.e., loss of revenue. ARDEM helps you enhance both revenue and efficiency by eliminating manual errors and eliminating any redundancies in your processing cycle.
- Manual processing can result in precious time and resources being wasted on repetitive, monotonous tasks and also results in delayed information that can cost your company a considerable amount due to delayed response.
- The cost of an in-house data entry team and highly-skilled software professionals can be quite an expensive undertaking. Additionally, hiring and training new team members can be quite a long, drawn-out process and is not a very practical solution for immediate scalability. ARDEM offers you the benefit of an experienced team and the requisite number of FTEs. Any hiring and training are managed at our end, we mirror your system on our own platform to provide virtual training for your remote teams.
- Data security and confidentiality are at the forefront of every ARDEM contract. Our security is built on an ISO27001 foundation and standard practices for us include VPNs, SSLs, encryption protocols during file transfer and at rest alongside biometric security protocols, as well as HIPAA, PCI, PII and GDPR compliance.
- Outsourcing your utility bill collection process can further help improve the quality of your customer service with accelerated processing, reduce bad debt and even reduce your service costs.
Intrigued? ARDEM can help you streamline your data collection process from utility bills and help you expand operations backed by robotic process automation and robust processes that you can trust.
We are a family-based outsourcing company that specializes in B2B management services that can help you improve operational efficiency in your company. We can help you increase your revenue by helping you process a high volume of customer utility bills and streamline internal operations. Our services will further assist you in lowering your costs with technology-driven utility bill capture and processing that increase your competitive agility and improve customer satisfaction.