Digital transformation for Utilities – The opportunities with smart utility systems

Digital transformation for Utilities – The opportunities with smart utility systems

Digital transformation has its benefits. Savour this – An Accenture survey from 2019 discovered that 50% of leaders across industries saw their tech investments shooting up. Specifically, 68% invested more in cloud technology. And, the pandemic has not been a dampener. These investments, in fact, helped the leaders grow their business by 5X as compared to the laggards. And the utilities industry is not far behind. Real-life examples analyzed by McKinsey found that digital optimization has helped companies boost their productivity levels by 20-30%. We are talking about smart grids, employee productivity tools, rich analytics, visualization techniques, and automated tasks. Smart utility systems offer many benefits to companies looking to enhance business performance and improve their revenues while being focused on customer experience management. Let us dig deeper:

The pressure is building up

The pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainties. Utilities have predominantly been following traditional methods. But we now see new features getting added to legacy systems. This strategy comes with additional complexities. New systems are being added in parallel, which means a further layer of complexity is being added to processes and costs. Amidst this, cloud technology provides a great opportunity to revamp processes and in turn, revamp businesses too. An ABI Research hints at a whopping annual figure of $14Bn that the Utilities industry will spend on developing smarter infrastructure in the form of smart utility systems. 

Many market forces are bringing about this pleasant change – rising customer expectations, process efficiency requirements, regulatory compliance, need to remain relevant, increasing competition, and last but not the least, climate change. Data-driven decisions can help add value across the value chain – for employees, customers, partners to name a few. 

Smart utility systems offer a great scope

The first and foremost benefit of digital transformation would be an ease to make sense of massive amounts of data, spread across multiple systems. When we talk about smart grids, diving deep into data can help companies plan their logistics better. Be it optimizing staffing levels, understanding which customers can be targeted for upselling, or managing varying demands, data analysis comes in handy. When meter data is presented in a holistic platform, visible to everyone, field crew routing can be achieved (and optimized). Live reports help provide information about the quality of work, progress of deliverables, and customer satisfaction scores. 

When it comes to field staff, planning, scheduling, mapping, and reporting can all be handled through a workforce management software. It becomes a lot easier to support field staff through route optimization techniques. Allocating work based on skills, tools, and availability also turns into a smooth ride. 

Automation can also help reap benefits in the form of lesser manual errors and efficient responses to customer queries. Like all industries, Utilities industry also needs to look at an omnichannel strategy. Customers interact with a brand from multiple channels – mobile, call centers, local points of sale, website, and social media. Understanding the experience of customers and tying the conversations together to provide quicker, relevant responses become crucial points of interest. With technology, this becomes a reality. 

Upping customer experience 

Smart meters come equipped with rich data and insights related to consumption. Based on this data, companies can provide relevant discounts or work on maintenance contracts for large-scale projects. Data-backed decisions can be made to benefit the customers while delighting them and ensuring continued business. Newer customers can be onboarded quickly – A good cloud solution should be able to reduce the onboarding time by 50%. Regular transactions including billing, complaints, query reporting, and usage alerts can all be managed through a central repository. Applicable rates, consumption data, queries posted v/s resolved, offers made, etc. can all be visible on the dashboard. Customer pet peeves around increased usage and outages can be managed through relevant alerts and updates. 

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The future is bright but has its challenges

The decision to go digital is great, but it is not very straightforward. As a Bain & Company study from 2019 points out, only around 5% of the companies surveyed were able to achieve satisfactory transformations from their digital initiatives. A big 75% saw mediocre performance. The answer to a smooth, efficient digital transformation journey lies in gradually enhancing existing processes, developing robust data models, and planning working models which make it easier for the field staff to perform their actions. 

When done right, digital transformation can help monitor grids more efficiently, enhance customer experience, automate manual tasks, manage assets effectively, take better business decisions, get a centralized view of data, and look at enhanced revenue opportunities. It helps companies stay ahead of the curve, in a world filled with customer expectations that are hitting the roof. If you are looking to up your digital transformation game and run your business operations more smoothly and efficiently, Bynry’s cloud-based smart utility software can help. Contact us today.