Sep. 26, 2017 | InBrief

Here's the deal with digital

Here's the deal with digital

Leading companies across numerous industries are abuzz with going “digital.” At West Monroe, we believe going digital—or digitizing information so it can be transmitted, stored, and analyzed to gain new insights and efficiencies—is a key enabler and accelerator of an organization’s strategy.

But what does a utility have to gain from this digital revolution? The short answer is better customer service, adaptable infrastructure, and an empowered, engaged workforce. More specifically, utilities should focus on automating manual processes so they can spend time gaining deeper insights into their infrastructure, operations, employees, and customers.

Here are four real-life examples of “digital” at work in utilities:

  1. The digitization and automation of the meter-to-cash process through advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) that is integrated with the customer information systems (CIS) can provide incredible operational savings for utilities.
  2. Data-enabled analytics and customer-centric design enable deeper customer engagement while lowering the cost to serve.
  3. Asset monitoring and predictive analytics allow more efficient operations and maintenance of infrastructure while extending useful life.
  4. Digitizing the workforce management process and providing mobile access to real-time information through smart devices improves the productivity and efficiency of a utility’s workforce.

In addition to modernizing today’s business, utilities can capitalize on digital innovations to manage disruption head-on and explore future opportunities.

In a new-energy economy where the customer relationship is king, utilities are uniquely positioned with unprecedented information about their customers’ energy usage, preferences, and behaviors. Utilities can leverage their customer relationships and the data behind their interactions to enable new possibilities. For example, utilities can match customers with the right distributed energy resources (DER) provider—based on customer-specific data—so they can take advantage of innovative programs that help reduce their monthly bills. At the same time, this enables utilities to influence a more optimized deployment of DER in areas of need.

Digital technologies alone will not deliver value—leading companies know this all too well. To be successful, utilities should look at digital as less of a thing and more as a way of doing things. By building digital into an organization’s DNA, it can accelerate the business strategy of today while enabling new strategies of tomorrow.

It begins with foundational investments like AMI, distribution automation, a customer unique ePortal site, and data analytics that establish the digital ecosystem. Then it moves to identifying key business processes of high-volume and low-value manual routines that can leverage these new sources of data and insight to automate existing processes or provide new insights. It also extends into high-risk areas that require better information and insights for decision making, like grid operations. Lastly, it requires a unified customer-centric approach necessary to meet customer’s expectations and drive new frontiers of value.

Recognizing that change doesn’t happen overnight, West Monroe is here to support your digital utility transformation. We identify and implement digital solutions across an organization’s people, processes, and technologies to help them realize value—now and in the future. Are you ready to make the shift and see how digital utility transformation can bring value to your organization?

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