Utility "Digerati" face competitive edge
The grid is going digital, and utilities must adapt.
The adoption of digital technology by utilities could transform the way they interact with and understand customers, and drive efficiencies across their organization internally, by using technology to better engage with customers at home, workers in the field and the overall organization.
Utilities pressed to reduce costs despite low margins and the realities of grid modernization, a more decentralized approach to energy generation, more environmentally conscious customers, and the explosion of social media just add to the pressure. Customers expect instant engagement and are looking for a more proactive role in managing their connectivity and energy use. Concurrently connected objects in smart energy infrastructures -- such as home energy automation, smart grid and smart city -- are overwhelming utilities with data that of which their business and operational models cannot yet take full advantage.
Recent research by Capgemini Consulting and the MIT Center for Digital Business shows that while some utilities are focused on overhauling the customer journey across all external channels, most are under-utilizing customer data analytics to improve targeting, prospects qualification and price optimization, and are behind the curve in using digital to create a more connected, productive and informed workforce.
Further, while 87 percent of utilities believe digital is a key driver of their business performance, 62 per cent do not believe they are investing enough. In a ranking of digital maturity level, utilities ranked 20 percent, ahead of only manufacturing (12 percent) and pharmaceuticals (7 percent).
"The importance of digital to internal processes and external customer processes cannot be overstated. There is a significant and measurable performance advantage for those organizations that have a highly developed or mature approach to digital transformation," said Philippe David, senior vice president and utilities leader for Capgemini Consulting. "These high-performing companies -- the 'Digirati' -- outperform their industry competitors on multiple financial metrics."
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