Author Archives: Michel

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR MECOMS PARTNER, ROCK SOLID TECHNOLOGIES, FOR THEIR INVESTMENT TO EXPAND SOFTWARE BUSINESS ACROSS THE U.S. AND CANADA

Rock Solid Technologies Partners With Strattam Capital To Grow Business In North America

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO and AUSTIN, TEXAS – November 29, 2018 –Rock Solid Technologies (Rock Solid), a leading software and IT services company in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, today announced a majority growth investment from Strattam Capital. The investment will enable Rock Solid to accelerate growth in the North American market for their civic engagement platform, RESPOND©.

“Over the past few years, and more significantly in the past four months, Rock Solid has been growing outside Puerto Rico. Just a few weeks ago, we announced wins in key cities in Canada and the United States. With the support of Strattam Capital, we are confident that in the next few years Rock Solid, which has been developing  software solutions in Puerto Rico for the past 15 years, will become a top player in the global market” said Richard C. Brown, Rock Solid’s president.

RESPOND© is a civic engagement platform that provides a centralized database which facilitates the connection of citizens with government. Serving over 7 million citizens, the web-based solution is configured according to the requirements of local governments and takes advantages of predefined and configurable workflows that have been built through the years in partnership with government agencies, countries, municipalities, and public corporations in the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada, and the United States.

Additionally, the partnership will allow Rock Solid to create 100 new jobs in Puerto Rico over the next five years, mostly in software engineering and information systems consulting. With offices in both San Juan and Austin, Texas, Rock Solid has 134 employees and has been ranked as one of the leading Information Technology companies in the Caribbean.   The announcement was made today at Rock Solid headquarters in the Economic Development Bank building, in the presence of Governor Ricardo Roselló Nevares and Kyle Reesing from Strattam Capital. Rock Solid senior executives included President Richard Brown and Vice-president Ángel L. Pérez.

“Through their deep domain expertise, Rock Solid software enables government agencies to better serve their citizens,” said Strattam Capital Managing Partner Bob Morse. “We are impressed with the leading engineering capabilities they have built and are excited to be investing with the Rock Solid leadership team to help bring these products to a wider audience across the U.S. and Canada.”

Ángel L. Pérez, Rock Solid’s Vice President, stressed that this new capital injection will allow them to continue to promote products developed in Puerto Rico, which are winners of global awards and based on Microsoft Dynamics 2018.   “We have demonstrated that our local talent can compete globally, attracting capital to fund our growth is crucial to our expansion strategy” said Ángel L. Pérez.

“This company, highlighted by the development of high quality software solutions for clients from the public and private sectors, is undoubtedly an example of how a Puerto Rican company can evolve and reach new markets in the United States, Central America and Canada. Its continued success should serve as an example for new companies that seek to maximize their services, “said Governor Ricardo Roselló Nevares.

This transaction was facilitated by. IT ExchangeNet, a leading Microsoft channel mergers and acquisitions firm.

 

About Rock Solid Technologies, Inc.

Founded in 1997, with offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Austin, Texas, Rock Solid Technologies is a software and IT services company recognized as one of the top software engineering companies in Puerto Rico, the United States and Latin America.

Rock Solid was recently selected to provide Respond©, a citizen services software (311), for the cities of New Orleans, LA and Winston-Salem, NC. New Orleans joins the list of cities where Rock Solid Technologies has a presence. In addition, the city of Burlington in Ontario, Canada and more than thirty-five municipalities in Puerto Rico use the RESPOND© tool as their platform to offer residents the ability to report issues and open requests for citizen services. Rock Solid has managed to position RESPOND© as the official citizen service system for the Panamá 311 National Call Center and the Puerto Rico 311.

The company is a Microsoft Gold Partner. For more information, visit: www.rocksolid.com.

About Strattam Capital

Strattam Capital is a private equity firm with an innovative and focused approach to scaling established business IT companies. Our team’s alignment and engagement practices are designed to deliver a better future for our companies.  Strattam has offices in Austin and San Francisco. To learn more visit www.strattam.com.

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MECOMS & XDATANET JOIN FORCES TO ADDRESS THE ITALIAN UTILITY MARKET

The Italian retail gas and electricity market will be fully liberalized from 2020. This second step after initial market opening in 1999 creates a dynamic vibe in the Italian energy retail market.

Customers’ expectations are increasing, while at the same time government regulations are pushing legacy billing and meter data management software far beyond what they were originally designed to do. Continuous patchwork and investment in legacy systems is putting suppliers in a constant mode of firefighting, without being able to offer the improvements their customers demand.

Italian energy retails expect customers switching rate to grow significantly and therefore increase their customer base. Therefore, a solid back-office solution is required to support customer growth without increasing back-office cost.

MECOMS 365 addresses these challenges, by offering a total platform based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 that takes care of all the business processes you need to run as a power and/or gas supplier. Local knowledge, local processes and local context are crucial for market success. To achieve this X Data Net and MECOMS have signed a strategic technology partnership to further strengthen the MECOMS 365 offering in the Italian market.

The power of partnerships is an important element in the MECOMS go to market strategy. Think global, and act local has always been the mantra of operations within MECOMS.

Combining the strength of the MECOMS 365 application platform with the proven track record of X DataNet opens new opportunities for energy retailers. This is an exciting new step in our European growth.

Who is MECOMS

MECOMS is a Ferranti company and is the result of more than 40 years of experience in the utility industry. We develop products and solutions for energy and utility companies. With offices and a network of certified partners across the globe, we offers worldwide capabilities for successful, on-time implementations with outstanding training, support and services. We have facilities in Belgium, Singapore & the UK.

Renowned industry analysts, such as Gartner and IDC, recommend MECOMS as a major solution for energy and utility companies. MECOMS is refreshingly different and empowers utilities to outsmart the competition. Many successful implementations prove this at utility companies around the world.

Who is X DataNet

X DataNet is headquartered in Mirandola (Italy). Since 1995, the company creates innovative software solutions and is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.

X DataNet has been building IT solutions for the Italian energy market for more than 15 years and collaborates with big companies and banks in order to support digital transformation. In a dynamic and competitive context, X DataNet invests resources and money in research, development and training to give strength to projects, ideas and new technologies in order to satisfy its customers’ demands in concrete and measurable ways.

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BOOST18 WELCOMED ENERGY AND UTILITIES SECTOR IN ANTWERP

BOOST18, the 3-day conference for the energy and utilities sector organized by MECOMS, welcomed 150 visitors in Antwerp from 9 till 11 October.

With industry stakeholders from Belgium and Netherlands attending and international stakeholders  flying in from more than 14 counties, including US, Japan,Italy, Israel and even the Seychelles, we were delighted with this year’s attendance and the inspiring agenda. “We had keynote speakers from leading companies, like Microsoft, IDC, Nexxworks and GEN-I, who have illustrated the future of the energy sector at the cutting edge of business and technology”, says Johan Vandekerckhove, Chief Commercial Officer at MECOMS.

MECOMS is currently enjoying a strong worldwide growth with its flagship solution, MECOMS 365. Johan Vandekerckhove: “Energy and utility companies worldwide want to offer a better customer service in a more agile way, while reducing the cost to serve. Building on Microsoft Dynamics 365, MECOMS 365 is the application platform of the future that exactly serves those needs.”

About MECOMS 365

MECOMS 365 is a business support system for energy and utility companies that combines flexibility, efficiency and smart insights to drastically cut cost-to-serve. It enables utilities of any size to streamline business processes and combine high efficiency with first-class customer service.

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VAANSTER CHOOSES MECOMS FOR CUSTOMER ADMINISTRATION AND INVOICING

Vaanster and MECOMS have decided to enter into a strategic relationship for the implementation of the MECOMS application platform for the needs of handling customer administration and invoicing for Vaanster customers.

This cooperation fits in with the proposed strategy of MECOMS with regard to the heat market. The Netherlands has started an accelerated reduction of its gas production in Groningen in order to achieve a complete shutdown in 2030. Gas will be used less for, among other things, heating and hot water, but more will be spent on savings, the use of residual heat and the use of other sustainable heat sources. Here, more attention is being paid to the use of district heating networks.

MECOMS responds to the increasing demand for a standard platform to handle customer processes within the heat sector in an efficient and user-friendly manner. This heat platform can be used for both smaller and larger heat companies. The platform provides for the various conditions for the supply of heat and allows for scaling in the growing heat market in the Netherlands. Here the customer experience is very important, offering self-service applications in a digital strategy is of course an essential part.

Who is VAANSTER?

Vaanster is the market leader in the Netherlands in the supply of sustainable heat and cold to private and business customers. To this end, we take care of the realization and exploitation of ATES projects and supply heat and cold to more than 10,000 private customers on a daily basis. They do this with individual and collective heat pump systems. With the tightening of the current regulations no new construction projects are realized that are not sustainable. Vaanster is ready for further growth of exploitation projects. By investing in sustainable energy applications they want to contribute to the sustainability of the Dutch energy supply. Durable, reliable and affordable.

www.vaanster.nl

Who is MECOMS?

MECOMS is a Ferranti company specialized in the energy and utility market. For over 40 years they provide quality services in the sector. MECOMS is an application platform focused on, among other things, the handling of customer administration and invoicing based on Microsoft Dynamics 365. Based in Antwerp, the organization focuses on the market in the Netherlands and Belgium and in international context they supply their customers via implementation partners.

www.mecoms.com

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MECOMS 365, THE APPLICATION PLATFORM OF THE FUTURE FOR ENERGY AND UTILITIES COMPANIES

Platform thinking has become a vital cornerstone for any CIO to address the new way of working, enhanced customer experience, digitization and overall increased demand of the end consumer while streamlining their operations to maintain a healthy cost to serve.

MECOMS 365 offers utilities a strong connected application platform based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 in a cloud first strategy that addresses these challenges.

As a vertical solution providerMECOMS delivers their MECOMS 365 CE/CIS/MDM* solution to utilities giving customers access to the power and flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics 365 tailored to the specific needs of Energy and Utilities companies.

What does MECOMS 365 mean for me?

  • cloud first strategy is a bold statement. More and more utilities are benefitting from the agility of cloud based applications and infrastructure to innovate. 100% cloud based or a mixed hybrid strategy are a possibility with MECOMS 365.
  • MECOMS 365 has embraced customer satisfaction and customer experience first in its design from day one. MECOMS 365 Customer Engagement allows utilities to connect to their customer via an omni-channel approach leveraging modern technology such as LiveAssist, Social Integration, our MECOMS Interactive Agent AI based chatbots and personalized Document Fullfillment. These channels can easily be adapted to the company identity, tone of voice and processes.
  • A connected cloud ready platform enables a simplification of the IT landscape by giving the integration benefits of a cloud platform together with CRM and new applications like Power BI, Flow and Cortana AI.
  • With  Office365, you can leverage productivity and collaboration tools that work together in new ways that only Microsoft can deliver.
  • With MECOMS 365 you benefit from the high quality security standards of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Azure.
  • The MECOMS rich partner channel allows extending the platform with standard, proven components from companies such as November FiveCafeXFormpipe and Dynamics Software. This drives simplification while maintaining openness and flexibility in the IT overall architecture.
  • The new MECOMS 365 user experience brings a fully web enabled application. The concept of workspaces centralizing all the activities of a user for their specific role in an attractive dashboard that includes workflow status, KPI’s and other business intelligence information. All information displayed is actionable and allows users to control their business responsibilities efficiently.
  • Existing customer can benefit from an attractive upgrade incentive to move to MECOMS 365.

“This is only a small preview of what MECOMS 365 brings to the tableat Boost18 the MECOMS Utility Conference hosted in Antwerp we will share and collaborate with our prospects, customers and partners on this exciting new chapter of our journey in Utilities. Over 150 utility professionals will network and experience the benefits of MECOMS 365 at our worldwide conference . It’s going to be an exciting year end.” says Johan Vandekerckhove, CCO MECOMS.

Visit www.mecoms.com/boost18 for more information and registration info.

(*) CE (Customer Engagement), CIS (Customer Information System), MDM (Meter Data Management)

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A CUSTOMER-ORIENTED ORGANIZATION AS A BASIS FOR GROWTH STRATEGY

FERRANTI IS GEARING UP TO A MORE CUSTOMER-ORIENTED ORGANIZATION AS A BASIS FOR GROWTH STRATEGY

A brand new IT company was established in Antwerp in 1976: Ferranti Computer Systems. No one could have predicted at the time that more than 40 years later, the same company would emerge as a leading IT player, with hundreds of customers at home and abroad. Ferranti has achieved this impressive track record by working together with customers at all times on the strategic front.

Today, in 2018, the concept of “computerization” (IT) is acquiring a completely different meaning than before. Customers tend to see technology more and more as a means to real value creation so as to achieve their corporate strategy: to expand an agile organization; implement new services, new business models and new processes across company boundaries; and, if at all possible, less complex for the end user.

In this challenging environment, Ferranti is determined to rise to the occasion.  With the support of a strong shareholder, we are opting for a growth strategy with resolve. We already have the right DNA for that purpose. Close involvement in the strategy and processes of our customers is now more important than ever before.

We have therefore decided to expand our strategy in a way that is geared more to your unique and changing needs: with three strong brands, each with its own identity, that exude focus and corporate culture, targeting our most successful market segments:

  • MECOMS mecoms.com – the application platform of the future for energy and utility companies;
  • Silta silta-ict.be – your reliable ICT and infrastructure partner with Silta Cloud, Silta Connect and Silta Control;
  • FrontForce frontforce.be – a provider of real time, company critical solutions through various product lines: FrontForce Mobility, FrontForce Data & IoT, FrontForce Chatbot & AI, FrontForce Supervision (SCADA) and FrontForce Bespoke. The state-of-the-art solution for the fire brigade in particular will from now on be called FrontForce Emergency.

MECOMS, Silta and FrontForce now form three strong, innovative entities under the auspices of Ferranti, backed by a strong shareholder.

Ernst Nijkerk, CEO, Ferranti: “MECOMS, Silta and FrontForce operate at the boundary of business and ICT. Our customers can henceforth count on an even more intensive focus and reinforced capacity to innovate as a response to their specific challenges.”

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SAVE THE DATE – BOOST18

The power of partnerships in a connected world.

MECOMS is proud to announce the next edition of our global conference for all MECOMS prospects, customers, partners and industry relations. MECOMS BOOST18 offers an extensive program that facilitates inspiration, learning, future vision, innovation and most important networking in a personal enjoyable environment. Register now.

Why do you need to attend MECOMS BOOST18?

This is an exceptional opportunity to get up-to-date and involved in the MECOMS journey to a digital cloud platform, to meet peers and experts and to learn from others’ best practices from our industry. During the keynote session, several industry specialists will sketch their view on the Energy and utilities market, technology, and innovation.

Stay tuned for the detailed schedule.

You will be able to experience MECOMS 365 with hands-on demonstration scenarios and use cases. In the demo labs, you will be able to see and experience innovative technology and business practices from our partners such as Microsoft, November Five, Dynamics Software, Lava Consulting, and Formpipe. There will be an opportunity to attend training courses to develop your MECOMS 365 knowledge and to connect with MECOMS 365 staff.

Whilst travel and hotel are at your expense, there are no costs involved in registering for the conference. Please register here and we’ll keep you posted on the detailed schedule.

As a reminder

  • Get up-to-date and involved in the MECOMS 365 journey to a true digital cloud platform
  • Strengthen relationships, networking and share best practices
  • Learn from other companies using MECOMS
  • Experience why MECOMS 365 is the‘right strategy for the future’
  • Meet with experts
  • Get involved with innovation on blockchain, machine learning and AI focused on energy and utilities

See you at MECOMS BOOST18! – Register now. A special thanks to our sponsors LavaConsultingNovember FiveFormpipe and Dynamics Software for making this event happen with us.

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MIA
ROBOTS TAKING OVER?

Bots taking over the world has been a hot topic since the very first birth of robotic activity and has become even more tangible since the 1984 “I’ll be back” Terminator franchise.  Just recently, Elon Musk pointed out to consider artificial intelligence (AI) the most serious threat to the survival of the human race.  He said national and international regulatory oversight is needed, “just to make sure that we don’t do something foolish.”  Musk also stated his investments in AI as “keeping an eye on what’s going on, rather than a viable return on capital”.  In other words: automation is a hot topic and positive and negative effects have to be taken seriously.

What is a chatbot?

In order to understand the pros and cons of a chatbot, we’ll define it more precisely.  What is a chatbot?  How does it work?  In a nutshell, a chatbot is an automated system that conducts a conversation by recognition of patterns occurring in communications.  Chatbots have become more advanced and are not just capable anymore of recognising a question, but can also look for information that can be useful to the customer in a proactive way.  Obvious pros of this system are: constant availability, immediate response time and the number of simultaneous chats a bot can handle.

Bots taking over jobs?

But what are the cons of this new technology?  Should we be afraid of chatbots entering a room with a black leather jacket, shotgun and a slight Austrian accent?  Or should we be more afraid of the more likely event of bots taking over our jobs?

Although chatbots like our Mecoms MECOMS Interactive Agent (MIA) will render some jobs obsolete, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing at all.  Nowadays, repetitive tasks are often still carried out by employees.  MIA takes over takes over those repetitive tasks, leaving more space for your employees to think in a creative and dynamic way about your core business so that you can come up with innovative ideas and thus be one step ahead of your competitors.  Employees will be given the opportunity to leave dull tasks behind and to tackle more challenging problems that will help your company grow!

Why choose MIA?

As we allowed automation in our company, it gave our employees the possibility to develop a very special chatbot  🙂  MIA is able to recognise the mood of the user it’s interacting with.  If a user is unhappy, it will recognise certain word patterns that indicate anger or frustration and change its tactic in order to get the user happy again.  Choose for innovation, choose MIA and increase your customer satisfaction!

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R4 mecoms
7 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE NEW AND IMPROVED MECOMS R4!

By now, you probably have heard about MECOMS already: our solution for suppliers and retailers in the utility sector has been proven to help serving customers in a better and cleaner way. And now, MECOMS R4 has arrived. But what is so different about this new and improved version? We’re more than glad to sum it up for you!

It’s the fastest release ever

No need to elaborate much more: performance benchmarks have shown that the release has approached warp speed when compared with the earlier R1, R2 and R3.

It’s always compatible with MIA

MIA, the chatbot that’s our own generation cognitive call center agent, stands for MECOMS Interactive Agent. No need to tell you (but we’ll do it anyway, just to make sure), that this newest innovation in our product offering is always compatible with MECOMS R4- and vice versa. This way, we keep on paving the road to next-level customer service.

MECOMS R4 connects seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Better, even: by this strong integration with Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft itself recommends MECOMS as thé preferred solution for utility companies all over the world.

R4 has integrated Lasernet

Easier put: this means the possibility of multichannel communication. Interaction with customers has never been easier because of the native integration with Lasernet: this makes sure you can coordinate your messaging, tone of voice and information across all your channels – which will have a closer relationship to your customer as a direct result.

The modeling of discount models has never been easier

With the discount management function, it has never been easier to go to the market in a quick and easy manner. Next to this, you can make use of Excel-resembling formulas and function to model your own rules.

It’s an extended support model…

… meaning that the R4 will be supported ‘till at least 2023!

The self-service portal

The self-service portal has gotten a complete make-over, to make sure everyone gets a top-notch user experience. Every single important use case is covered within this improved portal, next to a completely new custom user registration and creation.

The MECOMS R4 comes out of its box with a customer portal – but no need to worry: it also has the necessary web services so it can be connected with your own. Whatever you prefer!

Want to know more about MECOMS R4 – or would you like to request a demo? Make sure to contact us!

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water market
THE WORLD’S LARGEST COMPETITIVE WATER MARKET OFFICIALLY OPENED.

More than 1.2 million eligible businesses and other non-household customers in England can now choose their supplier of water and wastewater retail services.

MECOMS™ Customer Care & Billing is fully compliant and enables companies like Water Plus to outsmart their competitors.

“Competition will deliver more choice, better service and product innovation for business customers across the UK, which will raise the bar for all market participants.” (1)

“The market will work like many other open utility markets (such as telecoms, electricity and gas). Retail suppliers will buy wholesale services, (the physical supply of water and/or removal of wastewater), and offer a package to sell to eligible customers. Regional water companies will continue to serve non-eligible and household customers.” (2)

Here is what some of the retailers had to say about the biggest moment in the water industry’s history since privatisation: read the Utility Week article. (1)

Or visit the Ofwat website for more information on the market changes. (2)

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