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Information Systems

The Hera Group information systems continued the course laid out in previous years during 2008, working according to the following guidelines: effectiveness in meeting business needs, ability to consolidate the operational efficiency of the Hera Group companies and structures, promptness in adapting the information systems to the regulations of the sector.

As far as the internal efficiency of the information systems is concerned, the goals were to improve the quality of the information technology services provided, consolidate the information system architectures in line with the technologies on the market, develop human capital in terms of specialised and managerial skills.

Important indicators that illustrate the contribution the information systems gives the business activities of the Hera Group are depicted by the following volumes:

  • more than 2 million customers handled;
  • approximately 15 million bills issued;
  • about 2,350,000 requests for service handled through four channels:
    • call centres;
    • physical branches;
    • mail;
    • Internet.


In 2008 the information systems managed more than 80 projects, classified in the following types.

Support to the new business needs and meeting of the sector's regulatory requirements:

  • start-up of the information system development plan in observance of the requirements set forth in the unbundling regulations;
  • execution of the Gas and Electricity Network Distributor Portal for handling requests coming from the different vendors working on the territory of the networks managed by the Hera Group;
  • completion of the MRO (Meter Replacement Order) project, aimed at replacing electronic electricity meters on a massive scale;
  • development of the planning activities for integration in the Group’s information systems of the Sat and Riccione Gas companies;
  • execution of the on-line Customers Portal for providing information content and added value service such as, for example, the possibility of downloading the bill in electronic format and making on-line payments;
  • start-up of managing new commercial offers (Dual Fuel and two-hour schedules);
  • adaptation of the management information systems to different standards, both tax and regulatory (e.g. Resolutions of the Authority for Electrical Energy and Gas no. 156/07, 333/07, 348/07, 349/07, 89/08, 117/08).


Improvement of the efficiency of the Hera Group operating processes:

  • start-up of the new eProcurement system, used for managing and assessing suppliers, supporting electronic auctions and contracting out supplies;
  • evolution of the systems aimed at ensuring the securitisation process of the business trade receivables;
  • extension of the new bill printing process to additional case records such as, for example, aperiodic bills, bills to third-party vendors, aggregated bills;
  • continuation of the management activities concerning the street directory and basic cartography and issues for the gas, water, electricity, district heating and public lighting networks.


Reduction of technological risk and improvement of the levels of safety and efficiency in using information systems:

  • start-up of the technological infrastructure and application updating plan by migrating to new releases for the key management information systems;
  • continuation of the activities to consolidate and strengthen the technological infrastructure to support the constant increase of business volumes and to increase the degree of reliability in supplying services (e.g. virtualisation of the servers, centralisation of the territorial systems);
  • adaptation of all fixed and mobile workstations to the latest safety standards;
  • start-up of the project for adopting ITIL – Information Technology Infrastructure Library – best practices for supplying information services.

 

Lastly, it is reported that there was an important intervention of professional refresher courses during 2008 that involved the information systems staff; a large number of training sessions were held aimed at technical, process, management and managerial skills.

 
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