By Sam Underdown, South Australia State Manager, Squiz

Sam Underdown, South Australia State Manager, Squiz

Any utility that is not focused on delivering a superior digital experience for customers is bound to come unstuck in the near future – but providing that seamless experience is challenging when business systems do not support it. Sam Underdown, South Australia State Manager for Squiz, shares his thoughts on how utilities can overcome internal complexity to redesign the customer experience.

Evolution is certainly vital to the longevity of any successful organisation; however, the unfortunate by-product can be a mess of disparate and often incompatible technology systems.

Utility providers are not alone in this challenge, and often new software, apps, programs and digital divisions are added as needs arise and possibilities present. Organic growth leads to an unwieldy tech stack where vital information sets become increasingly siloed.

It is at this point that customer experience starts to reflect the company structure rather than people’s needs. Customers grow more frustrated with the disjointed experience and opportunities to innovate are missed.

Eventually, it seems like the only solution is to rip and replace standalone legacy systems with new ones. An expensive, and in many cases near impossible, task to be faced with.

What does this mean for utilities?

For utility providers, this tangled web of technologies and processes that aren’t aligned or connected makes the journey to becoming a ‘digital utility’ even more challenging – yet the numbers speak for themselves.

McKinsey & Company estimates that utility providers can boost profitability by 20 to 30 per cent simply through digital optimisation, with the majority of savings coming from back-office automation, digital productivity tools for employees, smart meters and the smart grid.1

As utility and service providers face the triple threat of customer dissatisfaction, disruption from new entrants and pressure to deliver more value, there is little time to waste.

So how can customers and employees be shielded from this internal bureaucracy and be delivered a modern, intuitive omni-channel experience that lives up to their expectations?

Join the dots with a digital experience platform

What is really needed is a kind of interpreter to bridge the gap between back-end systems and what customers and employees experience whenever they log-on to a website, customer portal or mobile app.

An intelligent digital experience platform works silently in the background to provide this layer. It draws in data from across a business, allowing it to be repurposed in new ways that provide value for customers and employees.  

With this intelligent digital layer in place, you can redesign the digital experience for customers without having to replace existing systems.

A new way of thinking

Digital experience platforms provide a fresh opportunity for utilities looking to create a seamless customer experience, boost productivity and profitability.

By connecting systems, existing data sources can be leveraged to create fresh customer value, deliver client services more efficiently and recognise opportunities for new revenue streams based on customer behaviour.

It is time to explore how an intelligent digital experience platform can unlock value from existing systems, so you can get the most from what you already have. All you need to replace is the way you think.

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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