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Even for utilities, data is the new currency

Data is about much more than improving productivity – it’s pivotal to creating the next generation of customer experiences.

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Iris Harel

Regional CBE

14 Jan 2022

Even for utilities, data is the new currency

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Data optimization is about more than management: it’s critical to creating the next generation of customer experiences.

More than 2,500 years ago, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” Little did he know the profound impact that words would have on the future. Additionally, had he known the value of information and data on the future, he most certainly would have championed the idea of data becoming the new currency.

There is little doubt that data influences almost every aspect of our everyday lives. I’d even go far as to say that it has become a pivotal element of our everlasting existence. Yet for utility companies who have invested significantly in automated metering infrastructure (AMI), the challenge of developing a roadmap for data optimization remains an ongoing challenge. Utilities are continuously looking for ways to optimize internal data management systems and adapt to a continuously evolving set of applications and vendors.

But data optimization is about more than management: it’s critical to creating the next generation of customer experiences. To do this, utilities must look at other industries like retail, to fully appreciate the importance of data for personalization and customization.

However, harnessing the power of data is easier said than done. To fully leverage it, utilities must first create a roadmap that will allow them to roll out new services and improve customer care.

"However, harnessing the power of data is easier said than done. To fully leverage it, utilities must first create a roadmap that will allow them to roll out new services and improve customer care."

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Iris Harel

Regional CBE, Amdocs

Next Level of Personalization and Customization

Utilities have yet to segment their data at a level where personalization is possible – whether that means providing monthly statement information, addressing consumption challenges or proposing tailored consumption plans led by data analytics. CSPs found themselves in this same position a few years back when they realized they could successfully leverage data to unlock the power of customer engagement. And they made good on this realization by extending their existing network offerings, which were primarily used for connectivity, to satisfy the growing appetite for high-speed data, including for gaming, content streaming, and more. Today they are reaping the benefits.

And while the business needs and objectives for customer engagement of utilities are different to CSPs, there is much to gain looking at their lessons learned. Taking a page out of the CSP experience will allow utilities to both avoid the painful learning curve, as well as gain amazing results in terms of cost reduction – setting the groundwork for generating new revenue engines while leveraging their existing capabilities, introducing massive automation, and enhancing the customer experience by expanding personalization.


Data Privacy and Security

One of the biggest concerns utility companies currently have with migrating to the cloud is the vulnerability of cloud-based applications and data privacy – particularly with massive amounts of AMI usage data.

To allay these concerns, they will want answers to the following:

  • How can we secure the grid network to avoid outside hacking?
  • How can we leverage the cloud to increase agility and innovation?
  • How can we protect customer data in a world of third-party sharing?

For many years, Amdocs helped CSPs during their journeys by working with them to build sophisticated data analytics, establish their networks, and support their ecosystems to enable monetization. The time is now ripe for utilities companies too to benefit from this vast experience (without the steep learning curve). With our knowledge and expertise, we can help them answer the questions above – both before embarking on their cloud journey, as well as during the transformation itself.

Jumping on the IoT bandwagon

Once they’re on the cloud, utilities will want to know how they can adopt IoT and transform it into a new revenue engine. IoT (as defined by Wikipedia) is the “physical objects that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks”. For these companies, the technology opens an entirely new world to expand their footprint in ways that were never before possible.

For example, IoT gives the leverage utilities need to play an important role as prime suppliers across horizonal and verticals domains (on-prem or on-cloud). Harnessing the power of automation, they can drive load reduction, increase viability of microgrid and battery storage, drive proliferation of electric vehicles and empower customers through improved demand side management. But to do so, they will need solutions such as data analytics, personalization and security.

Again, this is where Amdocs steps in. Our strategic alliance with the cloud hyperscalers, combined with our strong security offerings, data mining products and billing presentment tools, positions us to transform the utilities sector into a data powerhouse. We have the resources they need to fully leverage the power of data and do so profitably – allowing them to create more targeted offerings, increase customer loyalty, enable regulation compliance and more.

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