RIC Move

For everyone waiting to hear how our trip to Richmond went….we found a house. I'll post more information (and pictures) later.

NiSource Announces Outsourcer

Well, NiSource has finally announced who won the outsourcing contract. In this press release NiSource makes the following announcement:

Neale announced that NiSource has selected IBM as the business process service provider with whom NiSource will move forward into a period of exclusive negotiation toward a contract to outsource up to $2 billion of business support activities over 10 years. Teams of employees from the areas under consideration for transformation have been working for three months through a disciplined process with Accenture and IBM – the two service providers that responded to an extensive request for proposals (RFP) from NiSource – to identify potential solutions and savings.

"Both Accenture and IBM have put forth outstanding efforts in responding to our RFP and developing proposals that could meet NiSource’s business needs as well as our expectations for safety, reliability and delivering quality customer service. Both providers offered credible and workable solutions for our business,” Neale said. “Based on our exploration and work with the providers to date, we anticipate the company will outsource a portion of our business support activities.”

Neale noted that NiSource has not yet finalized which activities and processes will be outsourced or to what extent. Beginning immediately, a team from NiSource and IBM will continue to define the future relationship between the two companies. NiSource expects to make final decisions and conclude contract negotiations in June.

NiSource Outsourcing Information

This URL went around the office today. It is an article talking about NiSource Outsourcing. Just in case it gets taken off line, here it is:

U.S. Utilities Intensify Outsourcing Plans — NiSource Raises the Bar

Interest among U.S. utilities in BPO remains high, with at least six large utilities actively evaluating proposals from vendors. At Accenture's recent International Utilities and Energy Conference, a roundtable of industry executives discussed lessons learned from previous BPO engagements, particularly in the United Kingdom, where companies such as Welsh Water serve approximately 1 million customers with only 130–140 employees, and explored the justification and process related to major outsourcing decisions. Without announcing the choice of a vendor, NiSource presented an overview of its BPO initiative, which expands the scope beyond that of previous initiatives such as the TXU/Capgemini deal signed last year or the BC Hydro/Accenture deal signed the previous year.

NiSource decided to evaluate outsourcing primarily for financial reasons — as an opportunity to reduce operations and maintenance (O&M) costs while maintaining or improving service levels and to redeploy capital to growth areas such as gas storage. Additionally, the company wanted to explore the opportunities to transform key business processes and their supporting technology and to enable the company to focus on its core business. Processes chosen for outsourcing needed to satisfy certain criteria:

  • The process is transactional in nature.
  • The process requires significant amounts of medium to low-skilled labor.
  • The process is currently fragmented and needs to be consolidated and/or transformed.
  • Management is not willing or able to invest in change.
  • The process has been successfully outsourced before.

Based on these criteria, NiSource decided to outsource significant portions of finance and accounting, human resources, supply chain, customer care and billing, and work management. The work management outsourcing, which goes beyond the scope of previous utility BPO deals, will not include any union labor and will focus on scheduling and dispatching processes.

NiSource met with legislators and regulators early in the process to ensure political issues were resolved up front. For example, although the customer call center will be outsourced, it will not be moved offshore. Also, regulatory "clawback" of any achieved savings will not be an issue because the outsourced processes are not part of the utility rate base.

We believe that interest in BPO among U.S. utilities will continue to be driven primarily by financial pressures including the need to achieve M&A synergy savings and the friction between a "back to basics" business strategy, which decreases the ability to grow revenue, and earnings growth objectives of 5–10%, which require a sharp focus on cost cutting.


We predict that business process outsourcing will become the norm instead of the exception, especially for shared services such as finance, HR, supply chain, and IT, as well as for customer service and billing.


Well, I'll say everything is official now. I have accepted the Programmer/Analyst 2 job with the IMB. My last day with NiSource will be (oficially) June 6th. That means I'll get my five years in so I will be vested in the pension plan. Both Randy (NiSource) and Amy (IMB) were helpful in making that happen. Cyndi will be going to Richmond here in a few weeks to look at places to live. I should be able to talk to the movers tomorrow so we can get that all set up.

Job Update

Well, I found some more NiSource documentation about the outsourcing. You can find it on their website buried in the investor relations section. This is the same presentation they showed to the Wall Street analysts. Here is another interesting presentation you may also want to look at.

As you can see, I have a calendar control up now. Right now, I’m happy with it, but we’ll have to wait for a couple of months worth of posts for me to really decide how I like it.

Well, I went and talked to the MetroColumbus Baptist Association today. About six months ago, I pitched the idea to them that the local association should have an IT guy on staff to provide technology help to all the churches affiliated with the association. At the time, they didn’t have the money, but I was able to volunteer to do some stuff for them (primarily their website and the website for their Bible Institute. The answer was basically the same now that it was then: giving is down so they cannot really afford to pay someone. However, I did make some inroads into talking to him about the association sponsoring me as a NAMB Mission Service Corps. If you know anything about this program, please contact me and let me know.

I also talked to my boss at work, and told him that I was actively seeking other employment. His reaction was muted, but what could you expect? Just about everyone here that I can think of is looking since the outsourcing announcement.

At youth group tonight (did I mention I go to Highland Baptist Church in Grove City, OH?), Paul Pyle had a really good message. One of the things he pointed out was that God does have a plan for our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 has this to say:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Thanks BibleGateway for the lookup of the verse

Right now, I think that the Lord has something good in store with my idea and Christian Computer Solutions. Can you join me in prayer for this? That God will reveal his will to Cyndi and me so we can do what he wants.

[Update 2012-12-26 14:47:14] The mission service corps link was dead.  I’ve updated it to the correct one.