Itineris and Dakota Electric Association® reached an important milestone, with a successful go-live and first month’s operation on UMAX.
The Go-Live of UMAX and successful operation at Dakota Electric represents another step in Itineris’ growth in the North America market.
UMAX replaces Dakota Electric’s legacy system (eCIS) that had reached the end of its operational life. As part of the decision process to replace eCIS, Dakota Electric had the following primary goals:
- Flexibility – improved handling of rate changes, program promotion and enrollment, and member service management.
- Integration – a CIS that can integrate and communicate more seamlessly with other key systems including customer self-service, GIS and metering systems.
- Control – bringing system configuration capabilities and control to DEA resources to better react and serve its members and internal users.
“It feels great to reach this important milestone with the Go-Live of UMAX,” stated Sherie Wutschke, CIS/Billing Manager and Project Manager for the system changeover. “the commitment of both teams, Dakota Electric and Itineris, working as one was definitely the key to our successful project. We now have a flexible, state-of-the-art CIS that will evolve with our business needs.”
“We are thrilled to have reached this milestone with Dakota Electric,” added Edgard Vermeersch, CEO & Founder Itineris. “The Go-Live and Dakota Electric’s successful operations demonstrate the compelling capabilities of UMAX to support utilities in North America.”
21st Century Customer Service
Superior customer service is at the heart of everything Dakota Electric does, because its customers are also member-owners of Dakota Electric. Having a single view of the truth became a primary goal, so that every interaction was up to the high standards members had come to expect. With over 105,000 members, Dakota Electric is one of the largest cooperative electric utilities in America.
“We’re more of a suburban utility than a traditional rural utility, and that brings a different set of challenges.” said Ms. Wutschke. “The next phase of our modernization project is our planned implementation of AMI, and we wanted a modern CIS that would be the backbone of a richer information experience for our members.”
“We were also looking to empower our Member Service Representatives with more information to be able to resolve customer issues on the first call. We are finding that UMAX is alerting the MSRs to issues in real time, and allowing us to deal with them, as opposed to having the data get lost and leading to forensic accounting months later, as happened in the past.”
A Modern Technology Platform
In addition to providing the required capital credits support necessary for successful operation of a cooperative, UMAX is also integrating some of the field staff with a mobile application, via UMAX Field Services. Significant performance improvements are expected with real-time service scheduling, and enhanced management tools to monitor field work.
Partnership for the Future
The Microsoft platform also allows Dakota Electric to choose when they migrate to a cloud implementation. “It’s nice to be able to schedule a move to Azure when we’re ready.“, noted Ms. Wutschke.
“In the end, we decided to team with Itineris and UMAX for one simple reason – it is simply the best CIS available on the market – and we had time to evaluate all the major options available to us. We plan for the long term, and we look forward to decades of successful operation with UMAX.”
About Dakota Electric Association
Dakota Electric Association is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility founded by local farmers in 1937 with the help of the Rural Electrification Administration.
With more than 100,000 members, Dakota Electric is the second largest electric cooperative in Minnesota and ranked among the 25 largest electric distribution cooperatives in the nation.