As our industries continue to experience rapid growth and change, we’ve seen great innovation in the ways our Members are connecting with their end-users. From integrating renewables, promoting engagement and prioritizing customer service, our Members are connecting with end-users like never before. That’s why we’re so proud of the 13 NISC Members who were named among J.D. Power’s 2019 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. This list is a prime example of our Members’ passion for service and commitment to customer care, ensuring the needs of their end-users are always met, but usually exceeded. At NISC, we share that same passion for service excellence in the work we do for our Members. We’re proud to support them in their goals and look forward to continuing to be a partner to them as our industries continue to evolve. Congratulations to our Members on the list: SECO Energy Jackson EMC Sawnee EMC Cobb EMC Pedernales Electric Cooperative CoServ Middle Tennessee EMC Connexus Energy Great Lakes Energy Rappahannock Electric Cooperative Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative South Central Power Lee County Electric Cooperative Click here to learn more about the study and to view the full list of awardees.
Unfortunately, we are living in the day and age of global conflicts spilling over into cyberspace. According to the Washington Post, on June 20, 2019, the U.S. launched cyberstrikes against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is seeing a rise in spear phishing and brute force attacks. NISC’s Cybersecurity Team has created this list of seven ways to help Members ensure their networks are secure and ready to defend against any potential future cyberattacks: Geo IP Filtering If there is no need for you to do business with Iran, then have those IP addresses blocked. Geo IP filtering can be found on almost any kind of device or software, such as firewalls, email services, remote sessions, etc. Updating and Patching Now is a good time to ensure you are running the latest and greatest patches. Be sure that firewalls, laptops, desktops, email, mobile devices, printers, etc. all have the latest patches and updates applied. Backups Unfortunately, antivirus software cannot catch 100% of everything, so ensure you have backups created and stored offline. Start with mission-critical machines first and work your way down to everyday machines. Best practice is to store backups offline in hard copy form to prevent potential corruption from any kind of cyberattack launched against your network. Documenting & Logging Your Environment Ensure that you can identify all of your assets connected to your network and verify their business case for being on the network, allowing you to quickly identify any potential threats quickly and efficiently. Also, ensure that you are logging and tracking everything that happens on your network by recording and storing logs for your firewall, DNS, DHCP, antivirus, security [...]
There are a lot of great employers out there. With good benefits, a work life balance and great people. We hope our Members and our employees see us as one of those great employers, but also recognize how we are different. We are humbled and proud to be named among IDG Computerworld’s 2019 Best Places to Work in IT for midsize companies for the 16th straight year, and among the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network Top 10 Workplaces. The credit for these accomplishments is owed to the more than 1,300 individuals who share their commitment to serve and their unequivocal work ethic at NISC. We’re showcasing just a few of the many individuals who make NISC a great place to work and what sets us apart. We strive to be a champion of our employees. To encourage their passions, provide comfort in times of hardship and for them to know just how much they are valued. Follow along with us on social media or click on the videos below to learn more about #NISCLife.
Members big or small, NISC can help them all. NISC’s products and services are scalable in order to provide a significant return on investment for the largest of our Members to the smallest. On the large end of that spectrum is the largest electric distribution cooperative in the United States: Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), headquartered in Johnson City, Texas. Read and watch how NISC was able to help PEC overcome growth and cost challenges and save more than $2 million annually with implementation of NISC’s iVUE® enterprise software.
Life can be hectic. From trying to balance a career with family needs or making time to go to the gym or meet up with family and friends, the last thing customers want to do is worry about paying their bill. Since 2012, NISC’s SmartHub web and mobile app has been a tool that can help telecom and utility customers manage their account while balancing their other responsibilities and activities. Do your customers know how SmartHub can help them manage their account? If not, NISC’s SmartHub Marketing Kit can help! The new kit, available on the NISC Community, is designed to help NISC’s Members promote the benefits of the web and mobile app. Featuring fresh, eye-catching designs, the kit contains bill inserts, social media materials, videos, banners, posters and other promotional material that will help customers understand the benefits of using SmartHub for their account management. SmartHub not only helps customers but provides added benefits for NISC Members as well. When customers use SmartHub for bill pay, they’re going paperless, saving money on a bill print. They also have a convenient way to view their usage and report service interruptions, while NISC’s Members can send messages with important information. This leads to more efficient customer service, fewer calls and increased customer satisfaction. Download the new SmartHub Marketing Kit today, and start getting the most out of the web and mobile app! Visit smarthubkit.com for more info and to download materials.
Our homes and our lives are becoming more and more connected by the day. Between our Nest thermostat, which provides control over our energy use and our Ring doorbell, which allows us peace of mind with security, the Internet of Things is now a reality. NISC is committed to not only providing our Members with solutions to improve efficiencies, but also to staying ahead of technology so you can keep up with the needs of your end-users. That’s why we’re so excited to announce the acquisition of Affinegy, an Austin-based company that provides cloud-based, service enablement software and connected device management for broadband service providers. Not only can our Members now better support their customers and resolve broadband service issues with the new NISC User Services System, customers can also manage their connected devices with increased knowledge of their broadband network and WiFi usage. Check out this video with NISC vice president of Product Management, David Bonnett, as he explains more about the acquisition and what it means for our Members.
Change can be scary. But when you bring together a bunch of people who are committed to serving members and tackling new challenges, it’s amazing what can happen. Last month, Jackson EMC, headquartered in Jefferson, Ga., went live on NISC software. It was a true group effort, with over 60 Jackson employees giving up their weekend to make the switch over to the NISC enterprise system. NISC employees were also on hand to help, ensuring systems were up and running for business on Monday morning. “The launch of NISC is going to bring so many improvements both in the way we operate and the way we connect with members,” said Chip Jakins, Jackson EMC president and CEO. “Our members will be able to get engaged with us like never before with the My Jackson EMC app. It’s really going to open their eyes to Jackson EMC in a new way and show how connected we are as a company and how far we’ve moved in one giant leap with the implementation of this software.” Check out this awesome “Go Live Weekend” video, put together by Jackson EMC, showing all that went into the implementation! View the video by clicking the link below.
With the recent launch of our advertising campaign, Membership Amplified — which is focused on providing quality solutions and software along with a dedicated partnership — we decided it was time to upgrade our trade show booth to better reflect that theme as well as NISC’s growth. Our new booth was unveiled at this year’s NTCA RTIME Expo in New Orleans as well as NRECA’s TechAdvantage Expo in Orlando. Featuring an open and inviting floorplan, ample space for product demos and comfortable seating, the booth provided a great space for NISC staff, Members and potential members to collaborate and share ideas. “We’ve heard great compliments from our Members saying it’s a much more relaxing and inviting environment for them to come into the booth, sit down and have one-on-one conversations with NISC staff,” said Sarah Thorowgood CMP, senior meeting planner for NISC. The booth also features the same branding and green color scheme as our Membership Amplified campaign, a drastic difference from our normal red. “Membership Amplified is our new marketing theme for this year and we really wanted to pull that into the booth,” said Thorowgood. “Green is a far step from our regular NISC red, but it offers a fresh look and it stands out really well in the Expo hall.” Learn more about Membership Amplified at www.membershipamplified.coop!
One of the best things about being a cooperative is the shared spirit of teamwork and collaboration. At NISC, we know that our Members are our partners and that together, we can do much more than could ever be accomplished alone. We also know that in designing and creating software solutions, our Members’ feedback and advice is critical. We’re constantly amazed by how our Members are using NISC solutions in ways we had never imagined and are making a difference in the daily work processes of their coworkers and in the lives of their end users. How do you use NISC solutions? Have you overcome challenges at your organization and improved efficiencies? We want you to #ShareYourNISCStory! Presentation proposals for the 2019 NISC Member Information Conference (MIC) September 24-26 in St. Louis are now being accepted! Share your story with MIC attendees and help other colleagues and organizations across the country learn how to best utilize NISC software. If your presentation topic is chosen, you will receive $250 off your MIC registration fee as well as a gift. In addition, 2019 will mark our fifth-straight year of awarding MIC Member Experience Awards! During the MIC Closing Session on day three, the highest rated Member-led sessions, based on feedback from attendees in the MIC app, will be awarded a Member Experience Award as well as a special prize and a customized award. The deadline to submit topic ideas is April 15. Submit your presentation today and #ShareYourNISCStory at NISC’s largest learning event of the year!
NISC’s SmartHub was the first time our solutions had gone beyond the walls of utility and telecom organizations and into the hands of Members, literally, through a smart phone app that provided instant access to their provider. Since then, SmartHub has grown to include many new features designed to provide the best and most seamless communication between end-users and their service provider. At the 2019 TechAdvantage Expo in Orlando, Fla., SmartHub took another leap forward, introducing integration with voice assistant technology. The app now integrates with smart home devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home to give SmartHub users a hands-free experience. “What Google Home and Amazon Alexa allows us to do is bring technology down to the end user,” said Nate Boettcher, NISC senior product line manager. “People are already using these devices to check the weather or get directions, so it’s a very natural extension for them to ask their utility provider to offer something like this, and we’re very excited to be able to do that.” SmartHub users can access their provider through their smart home device and perform a number of functions including retrieving their bill balance, checking on outages, getting any news alerts from their provider and soon, paying a bill through a stored payment option. “It’s really cool technology that allows the end-users to talk to the device and get more information,” Boettcher said. “In the future we’re going to be adding more features that will really provide some nice value for our Members and their end-users.”