The ongoing Customer Q & A blog series highlights a wide range of Jitterbit customers to find out what business needs drove their integration requirements and why Jitterbit became their integration solution of choice.
In this week’s hot seat is Karl Trollinger, CMO at Bounce Energy.
Can you tell me a little about Bounce Energy?
Bounce Energy is a privately held Texas-based retail electricity provider serving residential and commercial customers. Bounce Energy gives customers “more than electricity” with service plan choices based on varying needs and lifestyles. Our focus is on providing unique and innovative products, competitive pricing and excellent customer service. Our management team has over 60 years of experience in energy marketing including the acquisition and management of over 10 million energy and telecommunications customers for virtually every major US telecom and energy brand.
How did you find out about Jitterbit and what were some of the reasons you chose it as your integration solution?
EDI is the traditional method used for customer data transactions within the retail energy sector. As a result, when we started Bounce we knew that data integration was going to serve as a critical element of our business.
Prior to founding Bounce, our executive team was part of a company that built a system that handled integration processes similar to Jitterbit . We had an entire team dedicated to building and managing dozens of data integrations. We recognized that this was not our core competency and that it would be a significant undertaking to do ourselves.
So we turned our attention to finding an off-the-shelf platform that could handle all of these technical requirements as well as offer us the ability to scale as the business grew.
We discovered Jitterbit during this search. We saw leading companies in diverse industries such as transportation, energy and government using Jitterbit, which was certainly impressive and gave us comfort in choosing Jitterbit as a core technology component for the company. We downloaded Jitterbit and had it running relatively quickly. Because it was able to handle everything we needed from an integration perspective, it was a pretty easy decision to run with it.
How do you currently use Jitterbit?
We use Jitterbit for several different data integration processes beyond transacting with ERCOT (the agency that oversees the electricity market in Texas), including handling payments, fulfillment, and customer acquisition. However, the biggest pieces are the EDI transactions that Jitterbit automates for us. As I mentioned, EDI is a huge part of doing business with ERCOT, so a large amount of our business is based on the ability to transact EDI.
There are approximately 30 different transaction sets being processed at any given time in with ERCOT. A transaction set includes processes such as the acquisition of new customers and the management of these accounts.
For example, when a customer fills out a form on our website asking to become a Bounce customer, we need to send an EDI request to ERCOT to tell them to handle the transfer process (Drop Bob’s current provider and add Bounce as the current provider.) Jitterbit takes these requests and sends them to our data partner. When ERCOT responds, Jitterbit moves this data into our internal systems.
Once we’ve acquired a customer, we need to know about this account’s energy usage and payment status. The poles, wires and meters are owned by utility companies in Texas, and these companies read customer meters and maintain the infrastructure. This information is then passed back to ERCOT, which in turn needs to be sent over to us – through Jitterbit. Jitterbit is doing much of the heavy lifting for us, which traditionally you would build custom systems to handle these processes or outsource.
From a business perspective, how has Jitterbit helped Bounce Energy?
Jitterbit gives us a competitive edge, by allowing us to directly manage our customer data. Many of our competitors outsource the data portion of their businesses, effectively “renting” their own customer’s data. Our ability to manage and “own” our customer data gives us competitive advantages in pricing, billing, plans, promotions and dozens of internal areas of our business.
Moreover, Jitterbit provides us an automated integration system to our technology architecture. Because we can rely on Jitterbit to run these processes for us, our technology team has the ability to focus on developing custom applications that are designed to give us a competitive advantage and to provide superior service to our customers. This is why we wanted to go with an off-the-shelf solution. We didn’t want to have our IT team spending time building and managing homegrown “plumbing” – we want them focused on developing technology that provides a unique business value.
The overall utility market is known for being traditional and slow to embrace change. Bounce entered this market from an ecommerce, marketing-centric perspective that offers new approaches and embraces new technologies in order to offer our customers better products. Jitterbit is part of the foundation that allows us to do this.
Thanks Karl! If you want to learn more about Bounce Energy’s integration, be sure to check out their EDI integration case study.
Do you have a Jitterbit success story you would like to share? Drop us a line at customersuccess [at] jitterbit.com or @jitterbit on twitter.