Forward-thinking utilities are already using data to generate operational insights and create value. Here, Peter Tickler, Digital Innovation & Advisory Lead at ERM Power, explains how advanced data analytics can increase productivity and develop better customer engagement.
Ahead of his presentation at Digital Utilities 2018, running from 19-20 April in Melbourne, Mr Tickler said ERM Power is using data as a key part of its current transformation program.
“Digital has been at the heart of ERM’s business, and a cornerstone of its success as an energy retailer, for several years now. We own very little in the way of physical assets compared to many utility businesses and that inevitably means we need to be focused on the digital world,” Mr Tickler said.
“While there are a number of initiatives in place, a particular focus for my team is data science, including some of the more advanced machine learning techniques. We’re a data-rich business and historically the energy sector has been slow to realise the value in that data either for the customer or for themselves.”
Taking advantage of emerging opportunities
In addition to maximising the value of its data for customers, the utility is also focusing on what digital capabilities it will need to participate in the energy markets of the future.
“It’s clear that there is much more disruption coming for the energy sector, and smart investments in our digital capability today and over the coming years will help position us well to maximise emerging opportunities, and to ensure we’re agile enough to navigate potential threats,” Mr Tickler said.
Mr Tickler said that being a digital practitioner in the energy sector today is a very exciting place to be.
“We’re constantly thinking up new ideas ourselves, getting incredible insights from our customers so that we can solve a problem for them, or learning about new technologies or approaches that are being used by other industries,” Mr Tickler said.
One of the challenges is establishing the processes and discipline required to assess and prioritise digital opportunities.
“Perhaps the other challenge is to recognise that the energy sector is a pretty heavily regulated environment and that the technology moves way ahead of policy and regulation. That can be a little frustrating for the digital natives!” Mr Tickler said.
ERM Power has been investing heavily in technology that can improve and streamline its operations to ensure its teams are freed up to spend time on the difficult problems.
“An applied example would be our use of continuous integration and continuous deployment, often referred to as CI/CD, for our software development teams. It’s a modern way of thinking about software development that hugely increases the efficiency of our teams and makes sure we can get new technology up and running faster and at a higher quality,” Mr Tickler said.
Is your organisation ready to make data-driven decisions?
Hear more from Peter Tickler about the power of data in improving efficiencies and driving organisational change at Digital Utilities 2018, running from 19-20 April at the Pullman Hotel in Melbourne. To register, visit www.digitalutilities.com.au.