Digital transformation in utilities – When you think of digital transformation you probably consider the banking and finance sectors that are already a decade through digital.
However, despite utilities being perceived as behind with innovation due to slow adoption rates, aversion to risk, traditional work practices and an ageing workforce; things are about to change as a new wave of disruption hits the utility industry in Europe and US.
A recent study by Capita, Five Years of Challenge and Change: Payments, Collections and Recoveries in the Water Industry, outlined some of the disruptions which lie ahead for the utility industry:
Digital Transformation in utilities from around the world
Thames Water adopted remote asset monitoring to anticipate mechanism failures and respond in real time. The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) allows retailers to submit complaints on a monthly basis, which helps the council to identify and solve problems with non-domestic water supply. Meridian from New Zealand allows customers to control how much power they can buy using a subscription-based plan that is typically found in data companies.
Here are the core benefits that create ripples of efficiency and customer satisfaction in your industry:
● Better customer service: customers can choose services online, make payments, add or remove services, change plans and models, change addresses and get alerts for timely bill payments, which also helps companies to reduce overheads.
● Predictive analytics: real-time alerts, supply maps, downtime trends and maintenance become easier with predictive analytics that allows smart data analysis and further service for engineers to solve problems before they escalate.
● Smooth internal operations: a company or industry must improve its day-to-day operations, ensure robust operations and make optimum use of resources if it wants to provide better customer service.
● Disaster management and crisis control: Australian Water Association are using geographic information system (GIS) data to predict crisis situations. Location intelligence helps consumers to plan ahead in the face of a crisis such as droughts, seasonal changes and extreme weather conditions.
● Innovation & disruption: When Meridian offered personalized power management service to its customers it opened up a whole new avenue for their customers who preferred greater control over their power usage. IBM Watson is doing some phenomenal work through a cognitive intelligence engine, which identifies dislodged joints and blockages in sewer pipes, making the task of maintenance significantly more efficient.
These examples show that digital can help to improve processes by enhancing customer satisfaction. The utilities sector is riddled with a number of problems and it’s time they evolve, become more customer-centric, adopt agile techniques and change the status quo or risk being washed away by the next wave of innovation.
The Economist look at disruption in the energy market in more detail
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