Question: What can save you from the tedium (and risk) of manual data entry? Answer: Safari data imports for energy marketers. And with the latest version of Safari, our users get two new efficiency upgrades: the Safari Account Property Import and the Safari Status Import.
Account Property Import
The Account Property Import uploads prepared data from a spreadsheet in order to populate Account Property values and their Effective Dates for Accounts in Safari. Account Properties in Safari are shared by every Account in the company database; however, an Account may have a unique value assigned for a given Property. And that date-effective value may be subject to change over time.
Yes, we’re talking manual data entry, for every Account needing a new value assigned. Until now.
Safari users in the mass market utilize Safari Account Properties to create automated monthly charges. When (let’s say) a few thousand Accounts are set up for such Account Property-based recurring charges, a blanket change to the charge value—effective next month—can quickly become a Herculean task involving many hours of manual keyed entry.
The new Account Property import de-Herculizes such a task by automatically updating Account Property values and Effective Dates for the imported values for any number of Accounts. The import’s key value for each record is the Utility Account Number, used to identify the Safari Account to receive the Property value. Each import record also identifies the Account Property to update, the property Value to assign, and the Effective Date for the new Value.
What’s more, the import accommodates an optional “End Date” for the imported Value. Account Properties in Safari do not have an “End Date”, only an Effective Date. To effectively ‘end’ the Account Property value when an End Date is supplied in the import record, Safari will set the property Value to ‘0’ (zero) effective the day following the import record’s End Date. If the Account Property is a recurring charge-based property, this means the charge will no longer be invoiced after the End Date.
For example, a group of Accounts may be newly subject to a monthly charge beginning in January, with a fixed duration of six months. In this case, each record in the import file will identify the Account to be charged, the Amount to be charged, the beginning month for the charge, and the date on which the charge is no longer in force.
All with the push of a button.
Like the Account Import, the new Status Import for Safari 4.19 provides users the ability to automatically update a block of Accounts, in this case with new Status records. The import file is simple: For each Microsoft Excel®-based import record keyed to the Utility Account Number for the Account, the Status to assign is indicated, along with a Status Date. These are the only required values for the import record.
Applications for the Status Import include the ability to assign “triggerable” EDI Statuses for multiple Accounts, such as a Historical Usage Request Status or an Enrollment Request Status. When EDI exports are next initiated (either manually or programmatically), Safari will detect the new un-triggered statuses and create the EDI request transactions (which “triggers” the Status so that it will not create such requests again).
Additionally, Account Statuses can be configured and managed for any purpose such that the addition of the Status will trigger specific Safari Workflow-based events.
- If the Status is configured to send “Notice to Rep,” an e-mail containing the Description text for the Status will be sent to the Default Sales Rep for the Account.
- If the Status is configured to send “Notice to List,” an e-mail containing the Description text for the Status will be sent to each member of the configured list. (This function utilizes the existing Safari User Notification List screen.)
For example, a Marketer may wish to run the Expiring Contracts report to gather a list of Accounts with expiring commodity pricing contracts. They can then load these Accounts’ Utility Account IDs into the proper Status Import column to assign an Account Status of “Contract Expiring,” and configure this status internally for “Notice to Rep.” In this way, the import automatically facilitates notification of all Sales Reps of Accounts whose contracts are about to expire.
It’s all about efficiency born of technology – it’s all about Safari Suite for retail energy marketing.