SEPA Compliance by Utilities: Opportunity or Overhead?
As deadline for Single Euro Payments Area, commonly known as SEPA is approaching most of the companies are trying to find answers whether it needs to be treated as a mandatory regulation or make the most of it by finding more business opportunity. Most of the retail companies might see it as a burden on their IT landscape and infrastructure.
Utilities are also facing the same questions in their board room discussions - how to arrive at a unique framework and roadmap towards SEPA?
In this world of cut throat competition it will be foolish for utilities if the SEPA is treated as a mere regulation implementation. Instead, utilities should look at SEPA from an opportunity point of view.
As stated by ECB (European Central Bank), the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a project to harmonise the way we make and process retail payments in euro. The goal is to make payments in euro and across Europe as fast, safe and efficient as national payments are today. SEPA enables customers to make cashless euro payments to anyone located anywhere in Europe.
In EU where many of the utilities operate in a deregulated environment there is a stiff competition to acquire and retain the customers for its utility services of electricity, gas and water. As customers are becoming more and more demanding they want better services and flexibility at competitive prices. Implementing SEPA can give the utility customers more flexibility in terms of payments and to the utility companies, better revenue assurance.
Example of SEPA benefit: a customer in Netherlands who has a holiday house in France or Spain do not have to maintain the different local bank account numbers to pay its monthly utility bills to its NL based utility company when he is on vacation.
The knowledge from various SEPA implementations in banking industry by Infosys has definitely helped our utility clients to understand the impact and advise them to create a roadmap towards SEPA.
Infosys experience at one of the major Dutch utility company where we are in process of implementing a solution for SEPA, we observed that through planned and diligent study besides compliancy, the utility can make most out of the investment by offering more to customers.
It opens a whole lot of services and offerings which can make customer happy and offer utility services at competitive pricing. Also, for utility company it makes their treasury and cash management flow efficient, revisit their payments revenue streams and create future proof IT landscape and solutions.
It's a time to rethink and revisit the strategy towards SEPA for utility company.