London (PRWEB) March 16, 2007
Electricity 4 Business, Britain's leading independent business electricity supplier to small and mid-sized businesses, has come a very long way in just a short space of time not least because of its wise choice of IT systems.
Anyone who has worked in the industry will be familiar with the one-system-fits-all approach adopted by monopoly suppliers pre- deregulation and with the obstacles that have been so difficult to overcome when designing new systems - not to mention the millions spent on systems which were destined for the scrap heap before seeing the light of day.
From the outset it was absolutely crucial for electricity4business to get it right. A sound IT policy was to provide the competitive advantage necessary in a concentrated market dominated by 6 major players. Only by being more efficient than its competitors would E4B be able to offer cheaper rates to its customers and have a chance of reaching that critical mass necessary for long-term survival.
A major folly of many companies when developing or selecting IT systems is to concentrate on one business area at the expense of others - an efficient billing system, for instance, may indeed be key to major savings but requires an equally efficient CRM system to ensure a seamless process. Its only when all cogs of the wheel are working well together that true efficiencies can emerge.
As Electricity 4 Business was a new company it had a completely clean sheet when it came to choosing IT and Graham Paul, Sales and Marketing Director, was absolutely clear about his priorities:
To take the best energy retail system available and tailor it to E4B's and its targeted customers' specific requirements.
Develop or find an existing CRM system compatible with the retail system and with ample customisation facilities.
Fine tune both systems to provide a seamless process throughout all stages of the business whilst always keeping maximum efficiency at the forefront.
Graham was adamant about replacing paper based tasks with system generated reporting and although sure to encounter some opposition to such change was determined to see it through.
Not one for re-inventing the wheel he trolled the market for a CRM system with a tried and tested track record whilst affording maximum flexibility. Salesforce.com was the one which eventually shone through, ticking most of the boxes in the wish-list.
As in any new business venture time was of the essence. It's no good being a perfectionist when it comes to IT if doing so is going to cause such a delay that you miss the boat.
Surprising everyone, Salesforce.com was up and running within just three weeks of being chosen and from the outset the benefits have far outweighed expectations. 'By integrating Salesforce.com with our back office energy billing system and creating a straight through processing environment, our cost of customer acquisition is 30% lower than the industry average' said Paul. 'The main reason for this is that we have been able to eliminate so many paper-based processes involved in sales management and automate many others. Better still, the 'on cost' involved in switching customers from their incumbent electricity supplier to E4B is now an average of only £4 per customer compared with an industry average of £40.'
And the efficiency savings don't stop there. As all major suppliers will concede, managing the agency and broker channels can be a costly affair. However, Salesforce.com has allowed E4B to automate many of the interaction processes resulting in costs as low as one fifth of those of their competitors.
It's with results such as these that E4B can see a bright future in an industry which is price driven and will always favour the lowest cost supplier. As long as it is possible to maintain these cost advantages and pass them onto the customer in the form of lower prices then it's got to be onwards and upwards for E4B.
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Notes for Editor:
Electricity 4 Business Ltd
E4B provides an alternative to the big 6 by providing cheap electricity for small and medium sized businesses spending less than £100,000 per annum on their electricity supply.
E4B is Britain's independent business electricity retail company specialising in the supply of electricity to small and medium sized businesses.
E4Bs aim is to cut the cost for British business by offering lower electricity prices.
Our business electricity services are for small or medium sized business spending less than £100,000 per year with their current electricity supplier.
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