Tag Archives: utility billing software

What is Cloud, in Five Letters

cloud-computing-626252_640 copy

How can five letters leave you so confused, like your head’s in the clouds? Well, when you’re talking about something that you can’t see, is indeterminable in size, and exists “in the clouds,” it’s understandable why people are confused by it. So, we’ve broken down the cloud in five letters:
C, L, O, U, D.

An Explanation of the Cloud in Five Letters (CLOUD)

C – Computing. Cloud, or more formally known as “cloud computing,” is the practice of using a network of remote servers, “the cloud,” to store, manage, and/or process data rather than on a local network server or a personal computer’s hard drive. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Partners, BMS Products, Cloud Computing, Small Cities, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reasons to Consider Outsourcing Your Utility Billing Printing

print-mail-statements-invoices-mailing

BMS and BDS: they kind of sound the same, and they work really well in conjunction. Black Mountain Software (BMS) has searched long and hard for a billing partner that could meet the specific needs of the utilities we service, and we found that trusted, reliable partner in Billing Document Services (or BDS).

After years of working with US cities and entities on their utility billing, we know one thing for sure: many are short on time, money, and manpower. Outsourcing with quality companies like BDS will reduce this hardship. And because they are a BMS partner, their processes interface seamlessly and efficiently with our software. Read more >

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The Dreaded Rate Increase – How Can Your Team Better Deal With Customer Fallout?

As the two most dreaded words for a utility billing professional, “rate increase” stands as a polarizing and frustrating situation for both the customers and the front-line city workers. With the changing economy, our cities, towns, and municipalities face the struggle to provide the most affordable services to the public, while also maintaining the best equipment, standards and practices. However, we also must realize that, despite economic recovery, many of our customers still feel misplaced resentment toward any entity that they perceive as adding to the conundrum of their rapidly decreasing take-home pay. While rate increases are inevitable for long-term service quality, your team also needs an action plan to best address customer concerns and frustrations. Read more >

Posted in Small Cities, Uncategorized, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why More Agencies Are Putting “Cloud First”

Ccloud-computing-626252_640 copyloud computing is no longer new innovation, and many offices have implemented cloud computing as an integrated part of their infrastructure. Local, state and federal governments are getting in on the action as well, by implementing “cloud first” policies for software installations. And Black Mountain Software is no exception!

A “cloud first” policy means that the vast majority of software applications will be accessed on the cloud. If the installation cannot be performed from the cloud, then it will be installed locally, but only if cloud is not available, i.e. “cloud installs are preferable.”

The reasoning behind “cloud first” policies is simple: the cloud offers a faster time to market, reduced installation and deployment costs, scalability, enhanced security and disaster recovery, and a reduction in risk. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Partners, BMS Products, Cloud Computing, Small Cities, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

All About: Billing Calendars

calendar-27077_640 copyWhen it comes to paydays and money availability, there is no such thing as a “typical” utility customer. Some customers receive their entire month’s income all at one time. Some are paid weekly. Others may rely on regular, but random paydays throughout the month. The best a utility can do is time bills consistently so the customer can anticipate, and budget, for their billings. Customers appreciate their services being reliable, and on a reliable billing schedule.

30-Day Billing Cycle

In one of the Black Mountain Software mini-training sessions, we review our recommended Utility Billing Calendar for folks who bill monthly. The best-case scenario for a utility biller is a system based on an end-of-month billing cycle. Read more >

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Small Town Stories: Lucerne, Wyoming

Hot Spring outside of Lucerne

We love small towns! Why, you may ask? Well, working with small towns allows us to really get to know our customers personally to understand their special needs. For example, when Utility Billing Clerk Taylor Smalley from the town of Lucerne, Wyoming, called us needing a cloud-based solution for their utility billing operations so she could work from home and tend to her cattle, we thought, “we can relate to that and it’s exactly why we are in the business of small town software!”

Cattle tending is just part of Taylor’s life in Lucerne, a town of 535 residents. Read more >

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Just Released: Section Reporting Question Nixed if it Doesn’t Apply

Opening and closing question marksHow can we make the lives of utility billing clerks a little easier? This is the question that runs through our minds on the daily. Sometimes, it’s not about making something new, but rather, making something that already exists work a little better. This was the case with one little section reporting question in our Utility Billing program…

Since the beginning of time (okay, really just since Version 2.0130 in the late 1990’s), BMS Utility Billing software has had a screen that requires clerks to answer yes or no (“Would you like to select a section?”) before proceeding with their report run. Read more >

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Tools for Users: Black Mountain Software’s Built-in Online Help

online help bmsGuest Blog by Barbara Thomas, Support Specialist

Back in the last century when my husband brought home his first PC, he wanted to learn everything about it. Doing this required printing a user manual (several hundred pages long) off the computer. About a tree’s worth of paper and one printer cartridge later, it was finally ready.

After patiently adding paper and watching the ink drain and dredge from the vessel, it didn’t take long to wean us from the printing habit when it came to using the computer. Neither of us referred to the printed manual in the four-plus years of the computer’s service; it sat on a shelf until we remembered it was a one-sided print job and we could use the reverse side for everyday printing (office paper recycling was a challenge to find back then). Read more >

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