Potential pitfalls for Smart Metering implementation programmes
Over the last 10 years Capgemini has amassed a great deal of experience in the management and delivery of smart energy applications platforms. During this time we have observed some common pitfalls in smart metering systems integration and development that can be avoided with care and attention to some important project management and architecture design principles.
Organisations who have embarked on their smart metering journey will find that applying these principles can help to reduce the time and cost needed by an implementation programme, enabling them to direct their efforts more efficiently. This is what Capgemini means when we say “experience reduces cost”.
Potential pitfalls include:
Thinking about systems, not thinking about business outcomes
Smart energy programs are often treated as technology-driven initiatives. The business assumes that the introduction of new applications and infrastructure will enable generic, standard processes to automatically take shape. Definitive statements of the business’ expectations – which should be framed in a set of clear intelligible business requirements for smart energy services – may be incorrectly positioned around the capabilities of pre-selected vendor products, or even overlooked altogether.
Not seeing the big picture
The focus on establishing connectivity between the new components – field infrastructure and the smart applications – can mean that the importance of an end-to-end view of the whole solution is overlooked, an absence of a holistic big picture that understands the significance of service requirements, clear processes and new organisation capabilities.
Not treating the smart energy service platform as part of the enterprise
It can be tempting for the utility to build its smart energy architecture in isolation from the existing enterprise landscape. But Capgemini’s experience shows that it must be considered part of the overall enterprise architecture, not as an island, distinct from the rest of the architecture landscape.
Not dealing with data architecture issues upfront
Smart energy solutions bring additional complexity into the enterprise landscape. The new systems (head ends, field communications, meter data management, asset registers, diagnostic control systems) can introduce overlap of functionality and lead to multiple copies of enterprise data, which in turn can create issues with data mastering, synchronisation, and consistency about the way the assets are represented in the enterprise system landscape.
If the utility can address these issues early in the project, costs will be avoided in the short term during the implementation project. In the longer term, the appearance of unexpected costs can be minimised during the operational lifetime of the service.
In the next article I will discuss how these potential pitfalls can be addressed in order to achieve the desired business outcomes of efficient implementation, IT stability, and an efficient transition to smart energy operations for the consumers.