BearingPoint: Big Data strategic asset for utilities market

06 August 2014 Consultancy.uk

Big Data will become one of the most important strategic differentiators for players in the utilities market in the coming years. Especially the use of Big Data techniques for commercial objectives will separate the wheat from the chaff, concludes BearingPoint in a recent research.

In the coming year, the utilities market will undergo a strong change. Technology will lead to new ways of generating and distributing power. In addition, more emphasis will be placed on customer centricity, and there will be more intensive regulation of the market. As a result, energy companies are forced to work more efficient and lower their costs.

BearingPoint - Utilities

Five strategic factors
In a recent research executed together with IDC Energy Insights, BearingPoint has identified five areas that will be crucial for creating/maintaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. One of those factors is Big Data – the analysis of large amounts of data that is used in decision-making processes.

Although Big Data is currently a hot topic in the utilities market, the research shows that the actual implementation is pretty limited. The foundation is in place – 92% of the researched firms acknowledge it uses complex predictive models based on data analytics – but firms are far from maximising the potential. Currently, analytics is mainly used for improving operational aspects or gaining knowledge on internal or external behaviour.

BPT Utilities 1

However, the researchers claim that the real value of Big Data lies in the link with commercial processes. This view is shared by others – when asked how important Big Data would be in driving company revenue in 2025, almost half of the energy companies said they expect Big Data to be responsible for 10% to 50% of the revenue. 

BPT Utilities 2

In the year 2014, only 28% of the energy companies use Big Data to personalize tariff plans and one-third to offer personalized products and/or services. The researchers of BearingPoint expect a big increase of this percentage by 2025, especially among the energy companies that are ahead in terms of integrating Big Data in their business operations.

Move quickly or fail slowly
Against the backdrop of the big changes foreseen in the energy landscape, BearingPoint warns utility companies to act quickly if they don’t want to lose their competitive position. There is no balance. Big Data will be crucial: information means power, conclude the consultants of BearingPoint.

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Digital transformation at Anglian Water wins second excellence award

20 December 2018 Consultancy.uk

A digital transformation programme at Anglian Water supported by consulting firms Cognizant and Curzon & Company has won yet another award for the best practice demonstrated in planning and delivery. After already winning awards for the programme’s excellence in the area of cloud, project management and customer services, it has now won an award for execution excellence in the IT industry.

Water companies are looking to harness emerging automation technology and smart data to transform their services. Often this requires a new way of working, closely focused on defined business outcomes, effective innovation and proper collaboration.

The cross-section of specialties needed for such a transformation means that water companies often engage consulting firms in their digital transformation programmes, as illustrated by Thames Water’s professional services framework in 2017. More recently, this was also seen with Scottish Water tapping Capgemini and Atos earlier in 2018.

In line with this, Anglian Water has overseen a digital transformation guided by transformation consultancy Curzon & Company. The consultancy helped Anglian Water to build the digital business case, sharpen the project strategy and support the organisation in effecting new ways of working. The changes saw Anglian Water create two bespoke smart systems called Grosight and Inflow, which are now live across the utility’s operations, while IT development was led by technology consultancy Cognizant as part of Anglian Water’s Enterprise Works Management Alliance.

Digital transformation at Anglian Water wins second excellence award

The systems fully digitise the application process, planning and asset delivery while enabling for better site visibility and greater insight into the needs of property developers. The systems also aid sustainability initiatives such as water reuse, while cutting the cost of late changes. Furthermore, the changes provide advanced geospatial capabilities, and offer automated workflow management. The transformation is expected to deliver process efficiencies and more than £20 million in savings over the next five years.

Commenting on the project, Edem Eno-Amooquaye, Managing Consultant at Curzon & Company, said, “Grosight and Inflow are equipping Anglian Water with the capability to take a strategic approach to asset planning across the entirety of a water resource zone and recycling catchment area, reducing design costs by identifying site clusters and efficient solutions.”

The digital transformation project has already been lauded by a number of industrial bodies. Anglian Water has been named winner of the Most Innovative Cloud Product of the Year at the 2018 Cloud Excellence Awards, as well as triumphing at the Institute of Asset Management Awards, picking up the Project Achievement Award. Most recently, the Developer Services Digital Transformation programme won ‘Digital Project of the Year’ at the UK IT Industry Awards, the largest technology awards of its kind in UK.

According to a recent study by Atos, utility providers are facing a “race to transform” – with those companies able to understand and respond to the rapidly evolving market in the best position to win. However, water companies are often criticised for their privileged position in the UK, as they operate regional monopolies, so whether the savings of £20 million will be passed on to customers remains to be seen. 

Price rises exacerbated by this lack of competition in water provision have long been used by the sector’s detractors to call for re-nationalisation. Debt for water use is now the most common form of arrears among the UK’s poorest households. When the only water tariff in England and Wales that had no standing charge – a product of Anglian Water – was withdrawn in 2016, two-thirds of customers saw their bills rise as a result. The 300,000 people impacted in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, unsurprisingly, were unable to change providers.