Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Jan. 21, 2020 – NISC strives to provide maximum value to its current Member-customers, while continuing strategic growth of its Membership. That growth was exhibited by the NISC Board of Directors’ approval of three new Members during its Jan. 15 meeting. The approvals, coupled with the consolidation of several Member organizations, brings NISC’s Membership total to 840. The following utility and telecommunication companies were welcomed to the NISC family. Utilities EnergyUnited Electric Membership Corporation, Statesville, N.C.Richmond Power & Light, Richmond, Ind. Telecoms Arthur Mutual Telephone Company, Defiance, Ohio Membership growth enhances NISC’s economies of scale, while allowing for an annual investment of more than $50 million in research and development and steady Membership rates, said Susan Imm, NISC vice president of Member and Industry. “We welcome these new Members to the NISC family,” Imm said. “We understand the critical role our Members play in their communities, and appreciate the trust they place in us to improve efficiencies and enhance their ability to be competitive in a rapidly changing market. We’re grateful for strong and collaborative partnerships with our Members that helps achieve their goal of providing reliable service to those who depend on them.” About NISCNational Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) is an information technology organization that develops, implements and supports software and hardware solutions for our Members. We deliver advanced solutions, services and support to 840 independent telephone companies, electric cooperatives and other public power entities. NISC is an industry leader providing information technology solutions including billing, accounting, operations, automated mailroom services, third-party integration as well as many other solutions. With facilities in Mandan, N.D., Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Shawano, Wis., Austin, Texas, and Blacksburg, Va., NISC and [...]
With the NISC User Services System (USS), operating your broadband service offerings at peak efficiency, supporting the growing demand for the Internet Things (IoT) in the home and delivering an exceptional customer experience is now a reality. This Auto Configuration Server (ACS) management solution is a powerful, hardware-independent, cloud-based tool built to truly enhance your customers’ internet experience and reduce your truck rolls and customer support expense. You have placed the power of real-time data in the hands of your customers with SmartHub mobile and Web apps. Now is the time to elevate your customers’ overall broadband experience. With NISC’s SmartHub WiFi, your organization can effectively resolve broadband service interruptions, or even correct them before the customers become aware of an issue, by managing the internet gateway and the devices behind it connecting to your broadband service. The critical component to this solution is your customers’ ability to leverage those same tools – view their broadband usage, resolve connectivity issues, manage devices and receive alerts – to help customers better understand the services you provide and allow them to satisfy their needs largely on their own. What does that mean to your organization? Increased revenue and customer satisfaction and decreased call center volume and truck rolls. Empower customers to manage devices, resolve performance issues, set parental controls and administer changes to their home network all from the convenient SmartHub WiFi app. Integration between NISC User Services System and the iVUE Enterprise System doesn’t stop at SmartHub. For more information on NISC USS and the various integration points in the iVUE Enterprise System, please contact the NISC USS team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866.999.6472.
Our annual Member Information Conference (MIC) is a great opportunity to not only explore the many ways our Members use NISC solutions, but also to provide updates on new features and functionality within those solutions. The Utility and Telecom Product Roadmap Sessions are always our highest-attended sessions at the MIC, aside from the Opening General Session, and we greatly value the feedback, questions and discussion of what’s next for NISC solutions. This year’s product roadmaps were no exception. From updates on our Engineering and Operations solution, MapWise, our unified iVUE Connect platform, and our newest solution, the NISC User Services System – Members had the opportunity to learn the latest on these NISC solutions and how they can bring value to their organization. Another important topic in this year’s roadmap sessions was customer engagement and how NISC is working to help our Members put the power in customers’ hands. From easily paying bills or integrating smart technologies with SmartHub, to providing a managed WiFi tool to help end-users understand broadband capabilities, NISC’s solutions provide a great way for customers to be proactive and engaged with their service providers. NISC’s newest solution, the NISC User Services System (USS), was a key discussion point during our Telecom Roadmap Session. Earlier this year, NISC acquired Austin-based Affinegy and launched USS, which enables Members to increase broadband efficiency and customer satisfaction by providing WiFi management, CAF-II monitoring and reporting capabilities and the ability to remotely administer network changes, firmware updates and more. To learn more, check out this video featuring NISC Vice President of Product Management David Bonnett recapping the roadmap sessions from the #2019MIC.
THERE’S A SAYING AT NISC: A Member is a Member is a Member. No, it’s not an imitation of a broken record—it’s affirmation that each and every NISC Member, no matter their bottom line or how many accounts they serve, are given NISC’s very best care and attention. While Members are treated equally no matter their size, how NISC helps those Members achieve their goals can differ. Members serving relatively fewer accounts face unique challenges when it comes to efficient and cost-effective operation of their company. A TOOL FOR SMALL UTILITIES Flint Hills Rural Electric Cooperative Association, headquartered in Council Grove, Kan., serves approximately 6,500 accounts in eastern Kansas, and serves as a shining example of how a Member of their size can effectively engage with NISC and use their technology to maintain a high level of customer service. For Flint Hills and Charles (Chuck) Goeckel, Flint Hills general manager, economies of scale and employee time constraints are two of the cooperative’s foremost challenges. “Our meter density is 2.6 meters per mile, so it becomes a cost challenge to divvy up the cost of a mile of line to just 2.6 customers,” Goeckel said. “Another challenge is that we’re pretty small—we have 23 employees. Those employees need to wear multiple hats for the functions that they do, and it becomes a challenge to keep them educated in multiple areas to be able to backup other employees for emergency purposes.” To help smaller Members such as Flint Hills meet their technology needs in an affordable manner, NISC offers the Small Utility Productivity Package (SUPP). The SUPP allows smaller-sized utilities the option of bundling four of NISC’s most popular solutions at a discounted rate. It’s available to [...]
NISC has completed the first deployments of the User Services System (USS), a major milestone since the acquisition of Affinegy and the market launch of the User Services System. The NISC USS solution is a singular platform used to support managed WiFi services and remote management of customer premise equipment leveraging the Broadband Forum TR-069 standards. This integration milestone provides measurable value beyond stand-alone Auto Configuration Server (ACS) solutions and is proof of the speed of integration enabled by the USS architecture and Open API interface. The initial integration with iVUE Customer Care & Billing, iVUE AppSuite and SmartHub are designed to simplify the on-boarding of managed devices and enablement of managed WiFi services without the swivel chair operations that are required with competitive solutions. Marcel Gelinas, Inside Tech and Support Coordinator at Hay Communications, was a trailblazer as the first Member live with the integrated solution. “Hay has been deploying TR-069 for some time but looking for a solution that would integrate tightly with the NISC Enterprise we use to run our business,” said Gelinas. “The deployment of USS has been incredibly smooth and the NISC team has been outstanding.” For more information on NISC USS and the various integration points in the iVUE Enterprise System, please contact the NISC User Services System team at email@example.com.
The 2019 Member Information Conference (MIC) has come and gone, but we’re still reminiscing on what a great week it was collaborating and building relationships with you, our Members. Each year, the key focus of the conference is learning more about the topics and challenges facing our industries and how NISC solutions can help accomplish your goals. MIC sessions wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the help and participation of our Members who know and use our solutions every day. This year, among the 180-plus learning sessions offered to attendees, 69 NISC Members helped lead sessions that provided first-hand knowledge and best practices with fellow attendees. To recognize their contribution to the conference, NISC once again recognized top Member sessions with the MIC Member Experience Awards as voted by attendees via the MIC app. Presenters of the top sessions were recognized onstage Sept. 26 during the Closing General Session. Below are the recipients of the 2019 MIC Member Experience Awards. AP Workflow and Electronic Invoice Authorization Sarah Madden, Butler RECA Is it Audit Time Already? Survival Tools and Best Practices Luke Steen, Capital Electric Cooperative Notify! Notify! Notify! Keep Your Customers in the Know Lisa Webley, Reliance Connects Creative Ways to Use iVUE Bethany Chinadle and Marcella Holden, Triangle Telephone Cooperative Query Builder Tips and Tricks John Tandy, South Slope Cooperative Enhancing Your Member Billing Statement Justin Stuva, Corn Belt Energy Corporation SmartHub New Service Signup Louise Blackman, Peace River Electric Co-op Using Drones in an Electric Cooperative Mark Dinkel, Wheatland Electric Fantastic Gains with E Signature Missy Biegler, Powder River Energy Corporation Big Change Through Small Steps Michael Whiddon, Holy Cross Energy Check out this video featuring our own vice president of Member Support [...]
While NISC President and CEO Vern Dosch isn’t retiring until the end of 2019, the date of Oct. 18, 2019, will also likely be etched in his mind. On that day, NISC named its Mandan campus the Vern Dosch National Campus, and unveiled the Vern and Lynne Dosch Scholarship to honor the tremendous impact the Doschs have had on not only the Bismarck and Mandan communities, but the NISC family and rural electric and telecom industries. Bismarck State College, Light of Christ Catholic Schools and the University of Mary were named recipients of the NISC endowment to begin the scholarship programs. Watch a video recapping the momentous day: NISC Mandan Campus Dedication & Dosch Scholarship Unveiling
Broadband connectivity has become a critical component of each and every community across the nation. It’s an essential tool, not just for web access, but for a host of crucial industries from education to healthcare. Providing reliable and efficient broadband service is core for many of our Members, but having effective solutions to back up and enhance your service is just as important. One of those solutions is the NISC User Services System (USS), a powerful, hardware-independent, cloud-based tool, to help enhance your customers’ internet experience while reducing costs. Check out some of the ways USS can increase your broadband efficiency and customer satisfaction! Educate and Empower CustomersCreating a smart home is no longer a vision just for the early-adopting techies in your service area. Many households are adding technology from smart TVs to thermostats to multiple cameras to build a connected home. However, as consumers continue to plug in gadgets and more frequently stream online, the service package they initially subscribed to may no longer fit their needs. Now more than ever, it is key to educate your customers on their usage – and the devices they have affecting it. With the NISC User Services System, you can provide customers the tools necessary to view usage, resolve connectivity issues, set alerts and manage all devices they have connected to their WiFi at any given time. An educated customer is an empowered customer, so place the power of WiFi management in their hands and increase satisfaction through offering self-care options. Troubleshoot Without Truck RollsThe NISC User Services System can also help your organization resolve broadband service interruptions, or even correct them before customers become aware of an issue, by managing the internet gateway and the [...]
NISC’s iVUE Enterprise System provides IT support to telecommunications and utility organizations nationwide. These solutions help our Members with their daily tasks - from accounting, to billing and payments to operations and line work. When NISC launched SmartHub in 2012, it was the first time our solutions went beyond the traditional e-bill solution and directly into the hands of telecom and utility customers. These end-users now had a powerful tool that could help them interact with their provider with bill pay, service interruption reporting or other essential features right from their mobile phone or tablet. “SmartHub was our first venture into the app business,” said David Bonnett, vice president of Product Management for NISC. “We were able to put some of the most important self-service features into the hands of end-users, allowing them to really take control of their telecom or utility accounts.” The SmartHub app not only allowed end-users to pay their bill with ease, but also enabled communication features that encouraged more engagement with their provider. Telecom and utility customers could get the latest news about their utility or telecom provider, find out about service interruptions or even follow social media accounts. SmartHub has been a great tool for NISC Members, but as technology has progressed and smart devices and apps have become essential tools for everyday life, the time had come for the mobile app to get a refresh. Starting the week of October 28, SmartHub users will begin to see an update to the app available in their preferred app store. This update will provide a new, fresh look for SmartHub that will feature enhanced navigation that’s more consistent with the apps you use every day. [...]
Cooperation, community involvement and democratic control are a few of the principles that form the foundation of NISC. Those characteristics are included on the list of Cooperative Principles—and of utmost important to Adam Schwartz, founder of The Cooperative Way. Schwartz, an advocate of cooperatives of all kinds, spoke about the value of the cooperative business model and using technology to create and implement a cooperative culture Sept. 24 during this year’s MIC. Watch Ed Wolff, NISC vice president of Professional Services, follow up with Schwartz to ask about the viability of the cooperative business model and how it has shaped his life: Technology & a Cooperative Culture - Adam Schwartz