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Getting return on investment from smart technology in the utility sector

While sectors such as finance and communications have adapted their businesses to the real-time environment, utilities are just starting to face the consequences of doing business in real-time through the implementation of smart meters connected and integrated with a Smart Grid. Utilities need to address the opportunities they face through the intelligent use of smart meter and Smart Grid data to ensure return on investment from their smart technology.

Utility leaders must answer three key questions about their smart technology investments:

  • Do we have a strategy as to how we will leverage real-time information?

  • Do we know where and how we can radically streamline processes and improve performance?

  • How can we dramatically improve the customer experience in the real-time world?

Based on our experience with real-time businesses in energy and other sectors, we believe utilities need to address six core real-time essentials to ensure they see success from smart technology projects.

  1. Ensure there is a compelling business case for real-time solutions that clearly demonstrates where benefits can be achieved for customers and grid operators.

  2. Ensure all relevant assets are connected and intelligent. This means ensuring customer facing agents and websites are upgraded to work in real time and provide information to help make better business decisions. 

  3. Enable IT and operating systems to handle real-time response and processing. Utilities could then offer real-time outage information to customers in a similar way that DHL provides parcel tracking updates to customers about their shipments.  

  4. Remove or minimise batch processing. This enables banks to provide 24 hour access to account information and for a utility, this should enable real-time billing and pricing information to customers.

  5. Implement enterprise data management across all systems. This means all parts of the organisation need to have the latest view of relevant data and have assurance the system of record is valid. 

  6. Ensure systems and data are secure and accessible to the right people. For example, if customers can access their personal data online at anytime, it is critical to ensure it is also properly protected.

There is a lot of work to be done to be ready for this real-time world. Consumers will need assurance their private information will remain protected and businesses will want to take advantage of intelligent data and the opportunities that it presents.

PA’s skilled teams continue to help clients wrestle with the challenges and grasp the opportunities that real-time presents their organisations, delivering better customer experience, more efficient businesses and more value to shareholders.

To learn more about how we can help your utility get the most from your smart technology investments, please contact us now.

Ron Norman
Energy and utilities
contact us now
Liz Parminter
Energy and utilities
contact us now

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