Times are changing.
With technological advances and data storage being converted to cloud-based systems, utility companies need to be proactive instead of reactive during this transitional period. How so? Foremost, having the ability to communicate efficiently between the utility and the home. Updating technology and being responsive to customer needs can help ensure clear communication and a smooth transition.
Utilities should first seek to identify the primary demographics of their target market and how they can to appeal to their interests. The young professionals today do not hold an appreciation for their utilities, utilities are only relevant to them as bills and they are now able to “shop” for the utility suppliers. Utilities need to take specific measures if they want to retain a high percentage of customers.
Change is inevitable, but value is forever.
Changes in the industry; specifically regulations, technological growth, and the variety of customer choices are all opportunities for utility companies. For example, in 2016 there was a large investment made in updating the grid. This has allowed utilities to do more with the data than ever before and enhance the way they interact with customers.
In order for utility companies to be able to interact with the grid and provide for their customers even more efficiently, they will need to continue to invest in updating how they process data, train their employees, and produce their product. Utilities that invest in the people, product, and process (the 3P’s) of their company will be able to perform at a higher and more successful standard during the industry’s evolution and will deepen their customer relationships.
A new business model is unfolding before our eyes as securing customers and keeping commodity relevant has become a core value. Specifically, utility companies are investing in Information Technology (IT) to keep up with industry changes. Take for example, a company like Solarcity and how they are changing how they target and sell to their customer base.
Utility companies started off using the smart grid for agency efficiencies, such as, monitoring usages across geographies. Now, they are able to connect with the customer beyond the meter with IoT enabled devices and connected systems that can push data back and forth from the home. Utility companies need to apply a beyond the meter focus in their business model to connect more efficiently with their customers.
This is where the 3P’s of the utility each hold weight to a company’s success. When the trio are operating equally and to maximum efficiency, the company has great potential to thrive. Although if one part is operating more archaically, or inefficiently, than the others-the entire company will be affected.
A quick look at the present
Currently, the operational processes have undergone little to no change in the past ten years. Data collected from customers is not stored, analyzed or used to its maximum ability.
One way of modernizing the process would be to digitize data and have cloud-based storage. Doing so would allow companies to easily analyze mass quantities of data that has accumulated over the years. Analyzing the data with more efficiently provides greater benefit in a variety of aspects (i.e. good customer relationships, product sales, employee happiness, and overall consistency)!
So what’s the plan?
On the production side, new developments in software platforms can help utility companies quickly adapt to the technological advancements in the industry. In an article that appeared in Bloomberg Business, a point was raised that, “the future of energy will look more like customer-focused data-management; an area where tech companies already excel”.
Moving forward, with integration of the MiUtility Product Suite (MiCustomer, MiAgent, and MiRead to name a few) utility companies will be able to digitize, analyze and securely store their data on the cloud. Avertra is proud to have a proactive and innovative team to help individual utility companies stay relevant by addressing all issues and needs the company will face during the industry evolution.