HP, Itron unveil 'meter-to-cash' utility monitoring solution for business process health

HP and Itron Inc., a leading technology provider and critical source of knowledge to the global energy and water industries, today announced a joint solution that provides the utility industry with the power to improve operational efficiency and service levels through real-time insight into the health of critical business processes...

PALO ALTO, CA, Feb. 3, 2006 -- HP and Itron Inc., a leading technology provider and critical source of knowledge to the global energy and water industries, today announced a joint solution that provides the utility industry with the power to improve operational efficiency and service levels through real-time insight into the health of critical business processes.

As leading providers of software and solutions for the utility industry, HP and Itron have collaborated to provide a unique intelligence-based solution for utilities to collect, share, analyze and apply mission-critical data throughout the enterprise in real-time to meet the full spectrum of industry challenges.

The new solution utilizes HP OpenView Business Process Insight software as a key element of Itron's overall metering, data collection, data management and knowledge application suite. As customers expect more from their meter data systems and the data becomes mission-critical to more users, it becomes increasingly important to track and manage data flows to assure the full business value is realized.

The integration of HP OpenView Business Process Insight with Itron's metering technology and industry-leading software enables customers to monitor the exact status of processes that are critical to success within a utility, such as the meter-to-cash process, which is the end-to-end workflow from the point of energy consumption to the receipt of payment.

"In order to achieve their operational excellence goals, utility companies must focus their efforts on improving critical business processes such as meter-to-cash, and should target their technology investments on technologies such as business process intelligence that support these goals," said Rick Nicholson, vice president or research, Energy Insights (an IDC company).

Changing dynamics within the utility industry are forcing executives to rethink their business and IT strategy to remain competitive. In this new, deregulated world, utilities must embrace new, enabling technologies that support better customer service, increased operational efficiency and decreased cost. With more than 3,000 customers worldwide, Itron understands the unique challenges that today's utilities face. This expertise was instrumental in detailing the exact workflow required to complete the meter-to-cash business process.

HP OpenView Business Process Insight then maps each step in the process to the underlying information technology (IT) infrastructure and defines key performance indicators. The flow is easily modified to display more detailed views as needed, or multiple views, with the ability to switch among them. By creating a simplified view of the end-to-end workflow, issues and bottlenecks are quickly diagnosed to keep the system running optimally. The business is also able to react and restore IT services more quickly and prioritizes fixes and resources based on business impact.

Using the information provided by the solution, users can track and measure key business metrics, such as:
• The exact dollar amount or customer impact of IT service failures;
• The amount of kilowatt/hours or customer revenue that is flowing through the process at any given moment;
• The impact of high numbers of bill complaints or high numbers of estimated meter readings in terms of customer dollars or kilowatt hours consumed; and
• The average receivable days or number of invoices processed in a day or given period

Using this new solution, the IT department can gain a competitive edge and the ability to communicate to the business in terms it understands. In addition, the Itron systems become easier to maintain by IT, while the increased insight translates into improved operational efficiency, lower cost and superior service levels for the many business users of the systems.
More information about HP OpenView solutions for the utility industry is available at http://openview.hp.com/solutions/utility/index.html.

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