Capgemini study finds US utilities can generate a digital advantage by prioritising customer satisfaction and asset optimisation

| Press release
Utilities cite analytics as essential to improving business operations

New York - Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, today released findings from its inaugural Digital Utility Study produced by IDC Energy Insights. The sponsored study finds more North American utilities need to make customer satisfaction and asset optimisation priorities to enhance their digital competency.

For the Capgemini sponsored study, IDC Energy Insights conducted in-depth interviews with senior executives to understand the most pressing business and IT investments their leadership teams focused on to generate a digital advantage. Executive respondents were from IT, distribution and customer service specialties at leading North American utilities with an average customer base of five million to more than $10 billion in annual revenue.

Executives agree that becoming more digitally savvy to remain competitive in this market will hinge on utilities’ ability to improve customer satisfaction and asset optimisation. They believe that for them to be successful and improve these areas of the business, a proper assessment of current analytics capabilities and data management practices is absolutely vital. More than other new technologies, analytics will have the most impact and influence over their operational and business models over the next five years. As more data is generated from technology deployed on the grid and customer interactions, utilities believe analytics will provide the information and insight necessary to sustain utilities’ reliability and improve operational efficiency.

If utilities aim to accelerate their digital transformation, there are three areas they need to consider pursuing:

  • Develop a long-term advanced analytics strategy: Currently, most analytics are project based. Utilities need to focus on long-term success by leveraging analytics across the operational infrastructure. They will be well served by developing a strategy that recognises where analytics can provide the most business value and then leverage the appropriate tools and templates to recognise value.
  • Evaluate customer engagement methods to improve satisfaction levels: Utilities will need to redesign current business processes and systems in order to leverage customer information and multiple communication channels. Enabling access to their social media channels via mobile devices will become an important bi-directional way for utilities to educate, motivate, and interact with their customers, especially during outages.
  • Optimise the distribution grid: Utilities must evaluate their current distribution management systems for function and integration with other operational systems to streamline data sharing. In addition, utilities should develop a framework to evaluate and assess any extensions to their systems to support advanced analytics strategies and tools.

For years, North American utilities have been successfully meeting customer demands and delivering energy to homes and businesses by being proactive, responsive and innovative, said Dave DuCharme, vice president, Smart Energy Services, Capgemini. “Those same traits will serve utilities well in their digital transformation efforts which require a commitment to evolving business and IT strategies to improve customer and operational engagement.

"Utilities understand that their success increasingly depends on how well they are prepared for a more digitalized world," according to Jill Feblowitz, vice president, IDC Energy Insights. "Utilities are enthusiastic about giving their employees the tools that they need to make better decisions. They are just starting to realize that business processes will need to be adjusted to accommodate this new reality.

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