, which sells billing and customer management tools, says more companies in the utilities industry should consider the Software as a Service model.
More widely accepted in industries outside utilities, particularly prevalent in industries like telecom and financial services, the SaaS (News
) model is good if you want an IT that can both quickly adapt to tech upgrades and demands without large scale infrastructure investments.
“Many utilities are cautiously awaiting direction and regulation from Washington regarding technology upgrades, particularly in the area of helping consumers understand behavioral best practices for cleaner energy consumption,” said Frank Hoogendoorn, executive vice president of business solutions for Cognera, in a release. “We are offering a solution to small to medium sized utilities who are not dealing with large capital upgrade budgets, but are equally concerned with meeting technology requirements.”
In other words, nobody has any idea what new regulations are going to come sailing down the pike, so a tech model where there's not a whole lot that'll need to be ripped out and replaced should a senator decide to vote this way or that might be a good bet.
According to tech research firm Gartner (News
), quoted by industry tech analysts the way fantasy baseball geeks quote Bill James, SaaS offerings are emerging as important security tools, "especially for cost-sensitive and highly distributed business and computing environments.” That's from their "Cool Vendors in Software-as-a-Service Security, 2009" report, by Ray Wagner, et al, March 17, 2009.
Last May TMC
had the news that Cognera was touting its "fresh perspective on Meter-to-Cash Business Process Outsourcing."
SaaS products do give a company reliable cost forecasting, immediate access to the latest 'n' greatest upgrades, bells and whistles, but they're mostly making money because many companies simply don't want the hassle of maintaining an in-house IT department. It's one of those "if you don't have to, don't bother" decisions.