June 4, 2015

Increasingly complicated, and disparate, regulatory requirements and a demand for improved compliance management were driving forces for two major utility companies to find a stronger enterprise governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solution, says a new report from Blue Hill Research.

The white paper, “Anatomy of a Decision,” looks at the search conducted by two utilities with nearly a million customers spread over multiple states. Subject to strict regulatory requirements from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the size and distribution challenges are daunting, Blue Hill says. It’s arguably even tougher for one of the firms: it has fifty member entities  that must address more than a dozen different sets of requirements.

If one of the GRC carrots is increased efficiency and a stronger competitive posture in the marketplace, one of the sticks is serious regulatory fines for non-compliance. A utility can face $1 million/day fines per violation. That means testing and certification must be robust and demonstrable to meet compliance requirements.

In the Blue Hill report, two utilities kicked the tires of several solution providers during an extensive search, including IBM OpenPages, Oracle, and AssurX. The respective searches drilled down to six key factors:

  • Depth of understanding of business and regulatory requirements

  • Adaptability and configurability of the solution

  • Vendor’s willingness  to partner with customers

  • Amount of process change required by the implementation

  • Functionality included within the solution

  • Responsiveness and quality of customer support

Both utilities reported going with AssurX, in part, because “they concluded that the provider demonstrated deeper understanding of unique requirements and business operations” facing them compared to other vendors. In addition, the utilities tapped AssurX because of its “deeper out-of-the-box fit to existing processes and ease of configuration.”

For more information on the search and how the AssurX solution is positively impacting utility companies, request a copy of the full report here.