Digital Utility Transformation: Exploring the Why, When and How

For utilities, questioning whether to start a digital journey has advanced to why, when and how to begin the journey. To explain why utilities are transforming their digital operations, here’s a brief overview of the business challenges that enhanced digital capabilities can help address:

  • Improving customer satisfaction and enhancing the customer experience
  • Addressing increased competition from customer-owned distributed energy resources
  • Realizing benefits from the modernized grid, including improved energy management and faster response times to power outages
  • Keeping pace with evolving technologies such as the smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure systems

When examining how companies are beginning the journey, analytics is a key component. It was also the focus of my presentation at Oracle OpenWorld that I delivered alongside my colleague Victor Jimenez. We were joined by Mike Glass, Director of Demand Side Systems for Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E).
 
Few utilities today are generating optimum value from information analytics, which almost invariably focus on individual projects instead of being an enterprise-wide initiative. Smart grid technology has unleashed historically large amounts of information, and the future promises even more opportunities for utilities to capture and analyze enormous quantities of both structured and unstructured data.
 
In any analytics strategy, technology will play a key role. To provide a platform for analytics that won’t impact the function and performance of operational systems, utilities should consider employing Operational Decision Support systems. Also, the quantity and velocity of data can require extensive Big Data systems and techniques to manage, but many benefits can be yielded through advanced analytics on top of data systems using existing storage technologies.
 
Leveraging analytics won’t come easily, and each utility will need to follow its own unique path to complete the digital journey successfully. Lacking a crystal ball, utilities cannot possibly predict each of the many challenges they will encounter on the journey. However, utilities can learn from others and, during our presentation at OpenWorld, Mike shared his experiences as PG&E established consensus on budgets, architectures and technologies.
 
To learn more, please contact me at david.ducharme@capgemini.com.
 
David DuCharme is Vice President – NA Energy Practice Lead at Capgemini. 

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