Case Study
Modernisation
AWS
Salesforce
Energy & Utilities

Mercury Energy uses cloud computing successfully

August 9, 2014

Mercury Energy uses cloud computing to quickly scale a service and reduce operating costs.

Mercury Energy uses cloud computing to quickly scale a service and reduce operating costs.

Mighty River Power’s retail arm, Mercury Energy, offers a pay as you go service to help customers manage their electricity spend. GLO-BUG provides control for customers to pay for power as they need it. A user-friendly display lets the customer see how much power they are using and how much credit they have left. The GLO-BUG changes colour as the balance is getting low so the customer knows to top up. The GLO-BUG application communicates with metering systems to complete meter readings and do remote reconnects and disconnects. Mercury Energy was keen to migrate the original platform to a new model that would deliver enhanced functionality for the customer at lower on-going operational cost. The organisation turned to Seisma to deliver the architecture and integration required.

The GLO-BUG solution was built using Salesforce.com Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) provides the core compute platform for the key processing and integration aspects of the system. EC2 was chosen due to its elastic and scalable nature and the high-availability architecture it offers at low cost. A range of other AWS components - such as load balancing, email, notification, queueing and storage - are used to complete the system functionality. Salesforce.com provides the CRM functionality to customer care agents and is fully integrated with the back-end AWS solution.

Features

  • CRM customer portal for call centre agents to draw customer data from various sources in the back-end systems
  • Integration of CRM, billing, meter reading, payments, and notifications
  • Real time connectivity to the smart meter using wireless mesh to enable remote meter reading, re-connect and disconnect.
  • Notifications to the in home “GLO-BUG” device to indicate balance levels
  • A consumer facing website and a mobile application for Android and iOS to provide customer self-service

Benefits

For Mercury Energy:

  • Lower on-going operational costs
  • Speed of deployment
  • Ability to scale up quickly as demand grows
  • Provides a platform for future growth and innovation

For the Customer:

  • Improved customer experience
  • More reliable service
  • Easy to use visual indication when balance low
  • Can top-up in real-time, remotely

The Solution

The solution required various components to be integrated across disparate systems, each provided by a different third party. These specific components were CRM, billing, meter reading, customer payments, credit balance management and notifications. The challenge was to deliver this seamlessly to the end customer, and to deliver cost savings for Mercury Energy.

To address issues of scale, time to market, and cost minimisation Seisma recommended a mix of cloud based solutions. This included Salesforce.com for the CRM component plus Amazon Web Services hosting the integration layer and the other custom components required. AWS provides a range of highly-available, low-cost services such as email, queuing, load balancing, storage and notifications that are leveraged to deliver a robust and scalable system. Real time dashboards and reports were created using a combination of the open source Jasper Server delivered through Google sites and Google gadgets. Customer self service is provided through custom mobile apps for both Android and iOS as well as a customer facing website.

Using the cloud architecture, Seisma was able to get a working prototype of the whole system to present to key stakeholders within 5 weeks. Seisma also continues to provide application and infrastructure support to ensure a high level of reliability for mission critical services.

Success

Phil Gibson said,

“Mercury Energy has completed a closed production pilot and has migrated customers onto GLO-BUG. It was amazing what was achieved in the first 5 weeks. With a combination of Salesforce.com and Amazon we could see that the ideas we had in our head could be realised in the broader project. In terms of the future, this cutting edge technology has endless opportunities. Early results are promising and we are very happy with the deliverables of this project and excited about the future potential cloud can offer us in terms of other services.”

*This case study is sourced from acquired company Fronde's archives. Exact publish dates are not known.

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