"Utilities are starting to rethink their strategies about what they traditionally called their CIS and think more in terms of CRM," says John Schulte, vice president of utilities programs for PeopleSoft (www.peoplesoft.com).
CRM, on the other hand, has so many different definitions applied to it that it could easily be a Rorschach test for customer philosophies.But, at its core, it is the gathering and use of customer data to better market to or service customers.This means that CRM solutions, such as Saratoga's AvenueEnergy, allow organizations to gather a wider range of data and then mine that data."Utilities are starting to have sales forces and marketing departments," continues Schulte
."Through CRM, you can measure the effectiveness of your programs and track the performance of your sales people."
CRM solutions do not replace CISs, but are a suite of functional extensions to create a fully integrated solution, resulting in a single, integrated view of the customer for the utility.