The Digitization Of Utilities: Reshaping The World’s Energy Network In The Cloud

Andy Greig

The centuries-old utilities paradigm is deteriorating as quickly as digital technology is advancing. First, smart grids began to monitor home-energy usage, generating a massive volume of data-driven insight. Then smart home devices allowed customers to control energy consumption remotely in real time. And now, rapid innovation and surging demand for renewables are empowering the likes of Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, and Tesla to shake up a historically stable industry.

Not surprisingly, digital transformation is a priority for utility executives. To remain competitive and stave off an aggressively competitive landscape, they know about the importance of setting up systems, reinventing business models quickly, and optimizing processes to increase agility and accelerate innovation. However, according to PwC, many providers lack the resources and expertise to keep up.

The answer to this dilemma is not a matter of choosing between increasing technology investment and onboarding an internal or external digital expert. Rather, it’s an affordable, subscription-based deployment model that can scale in lockstep with changing business requirements.

A managed cloud approach drives industry-disruptive innovation and simplicity

Decentralized production, real-time predictive analytics, sensor networks, and mobile computing have all become a part of the operational fabric of virtually every industry–except the utilities sector. Until providers fully adopt these capabilities, power generation and distribution, electrical grids, connected homes and businesses, customer relations, operations, and workforce processes will remain suboptimal.

The first step of such a digital transformation is getting a handle on every piece of data they own now and will continue to capture. Unfortunately, for most utilities, building and operating a data center is a significant burden on resources and technical expertise. Their on-premise architecture only addresses the infrastructure layer of the solution stack and limits the customizations to respond to market dynamics.

The ideal solution encourages greater customer engagement; an adaptive, scalable operating model; and lower time and cost while delivering on comprehensive service-level agreements and coordinated services. With an enterprise cloud platform powered by in-memory computing technology, providers gain a scalable and secure private managed cloud solution that drives a transformation that accelerates business growth and outcomes while reducing risk and fostering innovation.

Take E.ON Energie Kundenservice, for example. The German energy solutions and services provider had a treasure trove of insights deep within consumption and sales data. Yet latent access made learning about its 6 million customers frustrating and time-consuming. After the company consolidated its information in the cloud, analysis of individual consumers and grouped segments became more practical. In turn, bottom-line benefits–such as faster collection of overdue invoices and unbilled income, forecast demand and revenue accurately, and process automation–are intensifying performance and profitability. 

The cloud delivers what matters most to utilities

In today’s utility market, simplification and innovation matter more than ever. Every energy provider needs to run with incredible speed and agility to overcome operational challenges, reduce risks, seize opportunities for innovation and growth, and lead the emerging digital energy economy.

By focusing on live data and combining solution know-how, industry-specific process expertise, and advanced data analytics, the cloud represents the ideal form of information sharing, decision making, and enterprise collaboration. Only then will utility providers deliver the efficient, profitable, intelligent, and sustainable services that their smart, resource-conscious consumers expect.

Unlock the full value of your data with SAP S/4HANA and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. Read the brief “Drive Innovation and Reduce Complexity with SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud for Utilities” and visit our curated library of resources.




Andy Greig

About Andy Greig

Andy Greig is the Global Marketing Plan Lead, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, at SAP. His primary focus is to create marketing and social media campaigns to help customers realize the benefits and value of SAP Services.