Innovation in the utilities space has been high-profile and public-facing – the media is full of stories about smart meters, solar panels, storage batteries, smart thermostats and more. dsp know that the unifying force in 2017 is not hardware, but data: the role that utilities will play in the energy landscape will have less to do with installing devices, but everything to do with connecting them.
Energy and utilities companies are in a unique position to collect huge amounts of customer data, which they can then use to optimize grid operations and customer experiences. This requires databases, big data analytics, and managed service providers like dsp to bring it all together.
“With the rise of distributed energy resources, a smarter grid, and more advanced analytics, technologies for utility companies continue to become increasingly sophisticated and complex,” Oracle explains. “The cloud is the answer; no longer are utilities required to invest substantial funds to upgrade and replace legacy systems with in-house solutions.”
Cloud comes of age
An Oracle study of 100 energy and utilities companies in the United States reports that almost every utility in the U.S. (97%) uses cloud-based applications already or plans to in the future. 89% of executives surveyed said they’ll send meter data management (MDM) information to the cloud in the next three years, and 69% plan to use cloud for their customer information systems within three years.
In Europe, utilities have approached the first round of cloud adoption in moderation, and this gives them an opportunity to leverage the learnings from other industries for the next round.
It’s not just about location and security of data storage: the main benefits of the cloud are around its processing power. The rise of smart metering and smart networks will drive a requirement for greater processing power that companies will struggle to meet on premises. Cloud ensures that companies will be able to make near real-time decisions from customer data.
Cost pressures are the main reason why utilities are adopting cloud technology: companies are concerned about finding cost-effective solutions to improve their business and are looking to the cloud for this. Improving quality of service and improving customer experience are other strong reasons cited, followed by the desire to reduce physical infrastructure and consolidate platforms.
Flexibility and scalability in cloud computing power gives companies a more effective way to deal with seasonal spikes in demand, or the additional capacity to deal with application and database issues. Cloud technologies are also aiding co-operation with the supply chain: this enables different contractors to use a common platform without having to overhaul their existing systems.
Oracle’s recent survey identified privacy and security as utility executives’ number one concern about cloud-based applications. Softbrij's extensive work with energy and utilities providers is testament to the fact that they are trusted to handle this data securely and with sensitivity.
In Oracle’s survey, nearly half (48%) of all executives said cloud technologies would help them focus on their core competencies. Leaning on dedicated technology companies like dsp for data management and innovation frees utilities to do what they do best: manage the grid and improve the customer relationship.
Driving innovation and growth in increasingly competitive, disrupted industries comes down to agility and confidence. dsp know that managing data and leveraging the cloud effectively is critical to differentiate from the competition. We provide end-to-end managed services to ensure that joined-up thinking translates to joined-up systems and processes in managing the infrastructure layers. And we put it all together for you, removing any worry or uncertainty around the complexities of cloud licensing models which need to be understood and navigated carefully.