MITEM Case Study - Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE)
more than 180 years, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE),
has supplied power to residents and businesses in Central
Maryland . BGE is the nation's first gas utility and
one of the earliest electric utilities. The company
serves more than one million business and residential
electric customers and 600,000 gas customers.
as part of Constellation Energy, will now focus exclusively
on delivering power to customers, while Constellation
will focus on generating and selling power. This new
corporate mandate led BGE to take a critical look at
its entire customer service operations and reinforce
these vital processes to ensure continued success.
a business perspective, our challenge was to significantly
enhance our customer operations, yet build on the considerable
investment we made in our existing customer information
system,” said Alan Stambaugh, IT consultant for BGE.
on outdated technical underpinnings, BGE's existing
customer information system (CIS) had become a bottleneck
to efficient customer service. Training time for new
call center recruits took 29 weeks because the system
was difficult to learn and time-consuming to use. Customer
inquiries became more complex and the time it took to
access pertinent information to get answers increased.
BGE needed a solution that sp ann ed three critical
areas: cut training time, decrease actual call time
and improve overall processes.
built their CIS in 1989. It was developed with Arthur
Andersen and was the first Customer/1 (C1) prototype.
C1 handles all of BGE's billing, file maintenance and
online access. It runs on an IBM System 390 mainframe
and accesses the company's central data warehouse stored
on an IBM DB2 database that serves as the company's
primary customer information data warehouse.
1989, BGE has made a significant investment in the development
and maintenance of its CIS. The company estimates it
has spent $100 million total on updates and modifications
to meet the continually changing requirements of the
us, CIS is very successful software that has served
us well from its original deployment until now. The
problem is that it is based on outdated technology that
assumes each piece of information exists in isolation.
This architecture now hinders our ability to access
multiple pieces of customer information quickly and
easily,” said Stambaugh.
obtain a complete picture of what was needed to answer
customer inquiries as efficiently as possible, BGE conducted
joint application development sessions that included
call center team members, supervisors and trainers.
They walked through the customer service processes needed
to support every possible call scenario and observed
the steps reps took to answer each call.
found that 75 percent of the time, call center reps
had to access nine to 12 screens of information to get
all the data needed to answer one customer's inquiry.
Not only that, but each screen was accessed sequentially,
that is, it would be called up, the rep would copy some
notes, close that screen and open another, copy down
another piece of information, close that screen, etc.
BGE realized they needed a more efficient method to
access mainframe information.
responded by developing GUIdance, a new application
that would serve as an intuitive, easy-to-use interface
between their legacy CIS and their customer representatives.
GUIdance was built to provide the information call center
reps need as efficiently and easily as possible, so
they can respond to customers' requests and inquiries
more quickly. “GUIdance goes beyond the call center
and embodies the holistic approach of the corporation
in meeting customers' needs and expectations. It's a
strategically essential part of our business moving
forward,” said Stambaugh.
Powers the GUIdance Solution
make GUIdance a reality, BGE needed a product that could
leverage the investment made in their CIS, i.e., reuse
the business rules they already had on mainframe, provide
high data acquisition rates, be able to support new
applications and get up and running quickly. Mitem View
was the only product that met all of these requirements.
BGE understood the pieces of information service reps
required to complete a process, they built Visual Basic
PC screens that use MitemView to make the necessary
calls to the mainframe. MitemView accesses the mainframe
information and sends it to the Visual Basic programs.
MitemView's non-invasive approach means that it easily
communicates with the existing CIS, without requiring
programmers to write extraneous translation code.
has cut training time from 29 weeks to less than 10
reps enter into service sooner and become productive
call handle time has been cut by 7 seconds
ual savings in customer service operations are more
than $1 million
Extends BGE's CIS for Web Access
September of 2004, BGE launched a self-service web application
specifically designed for agency workers administering
programs for the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP).
The web application resides on a MitemView server and
provides agency workers with real time, direct access
to a client's account information and the ability to
commit funds. OHEP helps low-income Maryland citizens
pay their heating bills, minimize heating crises, and
make energy costs more affordable. The new self-service
application will be used by approximately 170 agency
workers. This deployment will be used as a study for
providing other self-service applications for BGE customers.