The first advance is the use of consultants. Heretofore customers had to work directly with the supplier themselves, including the supplier's direct sales teams. In recent years, consultants have been cropping up to help the consumer.
Most suppliers are guarded with their price. A consultant simply takes the customer's information and returns a closed bid. This created a lot of paperwork for the CFO and generally left the decision maker wondering if there was a better deal out there. But recently a tremendous amount of transparency has been entering the market.
That's where a "reverse auction" comes in. Reverse auctions give a consultant the ability to see all available processes -- all at the same time, on one computer screen. We take the customer's bills, load them into the system and invite the supplier to bid in reverse on the account. The computer shows all of the bids and if a supplier really wants your business, they will bid lower. The system lets you lock in a price when you are ready and automatically produces the required paperwork.
Another new development is "residential fundraising". Any nonprofit or charitable account that has to consistently raise funds can offer their members residential deregulation and receive ongoing monthly income. This is the only fundraiser that saves the donor money while benefitting the organization month after month.