I joined Capgemini Consulting just a few months ago as part of the Consultant Development Community (CDC) among an intake of 10 fellow graduates, and I have quickly learnt that a CDCer’s involvement in a project is never typical. In my first few weeks on a Utilities project, I found myself supporting a large range of activities , from producing presentation slides for a workshop, engaging with a client stakeholders and constructing A LOT of brown papers (a method of engaging clients collaboratively in large planning activities) to name just a few!

One element currently making Utilities such an exciting space to be is the industry’s digital shift. Distributors in the Utilities industry can better examine and control their networks through the combined use of digital tools and data analytics, whilst energy retailers have a real chance to transform the customer experience based on big data and digital tools. Government mandate requires energy companies in the UK to install “Smart Meters” to domestic customers by 2020. Aside from EU legislation, there are a number of drivers for the transition to Smart Metering. One such example is the transformation of a traditional energy network to a Smart Grid.

Installing Smart Meters requires a high cost investment, alongside vast technical and logistical challenges which face the entire energy industry – over 50 million meters will require installation by 2020. Globally, Capgemini is engaged in smart energy programmes which include directly managing the mass deployment of 23 million smart meters. The rapidly changing landscape of the UK Utilities Industry means that there are many ways in which Capgemini can support clients on their transformation journey. For example, Smart Meters will empower the customer to make intelligent decisions about their consumption by giving them access to accurate data on-demand and, as a result, suppliers will be pressed to respond to an increasingly competitive market. The formation of the Smart Grid will produce huge amounts of energy consumption data, which suppliers must make effective use of to respond quickly with innovative products and an improved service.

The industry trend of using smart technology to better inform decisions has spread to the Water Sector, and presents another area in which Capgemini’s expertise in digital transformation can be leveraged – we’re even sponsoring the ‘Digital Utilities Award’ at the Utility Week Annual Awards.

Water companies today face the tough challenge of trying to minimise water leakages which account to losses of £2.6 billion per year; an issue arising from aging infrastructure in constant need of investment. The development of smart sensor technology to analyse data on the infrastructure environment enables application of a predictive analytics approach to prioritise pipes which are in more urgent need of maintenance. This results in the identification of seriously failing infrastructure, enabling optimised investment programmes, which have been executed by Capgemini for various clients in recent years.

Most importantly for me, working on a Digital Utilities project has provided a significant opportunity to learn. I have gained valuable insight into an evolving industry, supported by Capgemini colleagues who are always more than happy to answer my numerous questions. My time on this project has not only been extremely interesting and a crucial learning curve, but will undoubtedly shape the decisions I make about my career.