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20 July 2023 Blog Utilities Private Sector

MECOMS & Formpipe: Empowering Utilities companies

MECOMS Harnesses Formpipe And Microsoft Dynamics 365 To Empower Utilities Companies

The energy sector is currently facing intense scrutiny due to several factors, including the rising costs of utilities, global conflicts impacting supply, and increasing consumer demand for renewable energy. As a result of the slowing economy, it’s predicted that global energy consumption will only grow by 1.3% in 2023.

Moreover, the utilities industry operates within a strict regulatory framework which requires providers to strike a delicate balance between digital transformation, compliance and meeting customer expectations.

In this rapidly evolving landscape, Ferranti is a pioneer in streamlining utilities business processes and enhancing customer services through its comprehensive MECOMS 365 platform.

As a key Formpipe partner, MECOMS 365 leverages the cloud-based capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 while also incorporating our Lasernet solution to offer a comprehensive management platform for energy and utility providers.

To gain deeper insights into the benefits of this partnership, we interviewed Cesanne Kerkhof (Sales & Partner Manager) and Mar Jorba (Product Manager) from MECOMS at Ferranti Computer Systems.

In this conversation, we discussed how MECOMS 365 successfully meets the needs of suppliers and end customers, along with Formpipe's role in enhancing the platform's capabilities.


"I see our role as enabling innovation,"

Mar Jorba, Product Manager - MECOMS at Ferranti Computer Systems.

MarrrIn today’s digital world, innovation is the key to success. The MECOMS 365 platform boasts a wide range of functionalities enabling utility companies to introduce new offerings and swiftly establish novel business models. This is achieved through its seamless integration with numerous data sources, allowing energy & utility providers to analyse relevant data and tailor their offerings accordingly.

By leveraging these capabilities, providers can drive changes in energy consumption behaviours, reduce energy prices for end customers and enhance customer service. Subsequently, all of these factors combined contribute to the development of a more sustainable energy market.

Cesanne highlighted MECOMS 365's versatility in these areas, "In the end, it's tooling for setting up your business. MECOMS 365 helps our customers to increase their competitiveness in the market," she said.


Debt collection in the utilities sector is a 'hot topic' that requires a proactive rather than reactive approach


With energy prices rising by as much as 129.4% in the UK, energy companies are dealing with an increasing need to manage their debt collection services effectively.

For example, providers are seeking solutions to help them devise affordable payment plans and reach out to customers who may be struggling, to help them avoid debt spirals.

Mar explains how the MECOMS 365 platform can be tailored to help energy providers manage these crucial areas of business in a way that builds trust with end customers:

"Before the customer receives the invoice, there are many steps utilities companies can take. For instance, MECOMS 365 can help you monitor social tariffs and identify at-risk customers before a problem arises. MECOMS 365 enables utility providers to react fast and propose affordable payment solutions via its recently developed app for field service agents."

[...] "The MECOMS Field CS app helps agents on the road set up face-to-face meetings with customers facing financial difficulties. It can also gather customer billing information and, in seconds, draw up a suitable payment plan that's adapted to the customer's affordability needs. In some cases, it is a real struggle for customers to pay. So our app helps strike a balance between the supplier and customers to find the best solution," she said.


"Your front office has the right data accessible in their hands. They’re able to react fast to customer demands,”

Mar Jorba, Product Manager – Ferranti Computer Systems.


Data is crucial to understanding customer expectations and helps shape products to meet their shifting requirements. MECOMS implements a step-by-step process workflow for utilities customer service teams to help them ask the right questions and draw the right conclusions in addressing their customer’s needs best.

It integrates front-office customer information, back-office billing, metadata management, broker portal and Pricing and Quoting (P&Q) applications all in one platform.

Mar expands, "If you have to transfer to other teams or don't have easy access to the right data, you cannot help customers on the spot. The integration is key."

Mar believes that MECOMS 365's native integration capabilities help utilities providers unify their departments and complete diverse processes from one streamlined cloud platform:

"While utility companies develop products that tie in with their type of consumers and business processes, we need to be running with them, and our platform has the capabilities to do so," she said. 

Mar continues, "In MECOMS 365 we gather a lot of data to be able to run all operation processes. But just dumping it all on the utility supplier users so they can use whatever they want is not the strategy because we are talking about millions of records here, and storing that data costs a lot of money. With that in mind, we have developed several Power Apps that can extract the right data from different areas so that utilities companies can use it for  specific business use cases. We're being smart about the way we help businesses rethink their data and processes strategy."


"MECOMS 365 is looking at how new sorts of energy are bringing about the need to develop new business models," 

Mar Jorba, Product Manager – Ferranti Computer Systems


A recent study shows that renewables comprise 41.4% of energy generation. Mar discusses the use case example of 'energy communities' where a building may have installed solar panels, and residents want to use the power it generates.

"That can become a complex setup in terms of energy settlement. You need a good design within your billing system to handle that type of use case. So, we have future-proofed the MECOMS 365 architecture to facilitate these type of energy sharing, selling and buying from the grid where the customer has a more prominent prosumer role" she said. 


"We offer a platform that is complete, and Formpipe aligns with that strategy, giving a truly end-to-end solution for document management" 

Cesanne Kerkhof, Sales & Partner Manager – MECOMS at Ferranti Computer Systems.

Cesanne KerkhofIt's more important than ever for businesses to cater to customers' needs and make solutions as seamless and user-friendly as possible. Cesanne believes that document management and the distribution of document layouts is a specific element that MECOMS 365 customers ask for, and Formpipe provides this service perfectly.


She explains: "Lasernet is fully integrated with MECOMS 365, which also benefits our end customers. It's not a separate product. It is also based on Microsoft Dynamics 365, so any software updates are instantaneous, which is a huge plus point for us."

In industries like utilities, where the data pool is complex and constantly growing, having the flexibility to adapt documentation brings added value to businesses.

Cesanne added, "We were really looking for a partner that could help us devise an end-to-end solution for this crucial aspect of the utilities business. We are also up-to-date with the latest versions of Microsoft Dynamics technology and make sure that our platform has the latest security and ERP capabilities that energy suppliers need."

Invoice She explains that MECOMS 365 is both an end-to-end and modular solution, so if an energy supplier already has a system in place, the MECOMS team can analyse their infrastructure and configure the platform to future-proof their solution. "We always see how MECOMS 365 can fit into their landscape to fulfil our customers' ambitions in their market space," she said.


"The strength in our relationship with Formpipe is that everyone brings their expertise," 

Mar Jorba, Product Manager – MECOMS 365 at Ferranti Computer Systems.


Today, customers expect suppliers across all industries to innovate in the digital sphere. In fact, Gartner’s Future of Sales research shows that 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will take place in digital channels by 2025.

However, in commodities industries that are highly regulated, paper communication and document handling are also vital.

"Our integrated platform covers so many digitised aspects of the utilities industry, and that's a good thing. But we cannot focus on every single expertise of a very niche process. Formpipe is an expert on document handling and exporting data to the end customer, so together, we are providing the best of both worlds," said Mar.

Cesanne closes the interview by summarising MECOMS’ positive relationship with Formpipe: "I'm happy with the regular meetings we have with Formpipe to look at our accounts and regular developments in the market. We have a very good relationship with them and are pleased to have them on board."

To learn more about Ferranti and Formpipe's partnership with the MECOMS 365 platform, click here or learn more about our strategic partners here.





Joe Ferro, Jamie Oliver