Utilities keep our everyday lives running efficiently. They bring water, electricity, gas, and more to our homes. We rarely notice them unless they don’t work, or the bill is higher than expected.
Recently, Brian Fanzo and Daniel Newman, co-hosts of the popular S.M.A.C. Talk (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) Technology Podcast, caught up with Henry Bailey, global vice president, head of the Utilities Industry Business Unit, SAP, on an episode of an extraordinary series entitled Digital Industries, which examines how digital transformation is affecting 16 different industries. Listen to a short clip below:
Bailey says, “Historically, the utilities industry has had a very consistent business model. For a hundred years, utilities basically supplied electric, natural gas, and water to customers. But three or four years ago, things started to change as we saw this disruption in the form of solar renewables, in how the customer wants to be more involved and interactive with the utility. And now it’s really on the utility to meet that demand.”
How are consumers driving digitalization of utilities?
Solar renewable energy and the disruption it has caused demonstrates to utilities that customers want to be more involved and interactive with where their utilities come from and how they’re used. Rather than simply accepting delivery of that utility, they’re demanding a more active role in the process. They want the information they need to decide on their own course of action with the utility.
Because of how supply lines are set up, many consumers view utilities as a monopoly: There’s only one place they can get your electricity, gas, and water. This causes some consumers to question whether they are being treated fairly by the utility. With regulators in place to govern the utility’s actions, limitations are placed on what new technologies can be introduced.
New technologies and digitization create transparency, enabling consumers to see previously missing pieces in the system. Smart meters are allowing consumers to see the advantage of technology for both sides. But how do utilities make this transition without causing service disruptions and causing customer service issues? To work with a system that is in a constant state of flux, the right technology must be applied. For digitization, a real-time platform provides the information needed to quickly recognize problems and make fast decisions. With analytics in place, problems can be sorted out within a matter of moments. Here’s how:
To listen to this episode of Digital Industries for the utilities industry, co-produced by SAP and S.M.A.C. Talk Technology Podcast, click here.
Transforming into a truly digital business is much more than just implementing new technology to meet the demands of a digital age. It’s more than keeping up with the deluge of transformation happening all around us. Digital transformation is about understanding how to harness these changes and incorporate them into your business strategy. It’s about driving agility, connectivity, analytics, and collaboration to run a Live Business. A digital core empowers you with real-time visibility into all mission critical business processes inside your four walls, and in your interactions with customers, suppliers, workforce, Big Data and the Internet of Things.
For more on how SAP can help you drive your own digital transformation in the utilities industry, visit us online.