By David Socha, Utilities Practice Manager, Teradata International

In the past, many utility companies have not seen data as a strategic asset and have therefore neglected to apply data analytics to derive useful insights. The advent of big data, the smart grid and unprecedented pressure on utilities mean that utility companies must now start to think strategically about data and analytics.

There is some hype and confusion around big data, which can be distracting. But in fact, thinking strategically about managing data is no different to thinking strategically about asset management, human resources or customer engagement.

Teradata has identified five key ways utilities can make big data work for them:

1. Focus on key priorities. It can be easy to be distracted by the many things big data can deliver, particularly if there is a department with a specific problem or a manager who needs a particular report. For businesses to get the most from big data they should focus on the strategic priorities of the business as a whole, rather than zooming in on a particular department.

2. Consider technology requirements. Rather than considering preferred vendors and new technologies, organisations should keep the focus on what functionality they need from any new tools. Things like scalability, flexibility and the right price should be uppermost. It is also important to remember that storing huge amounts of data requires a different cost model to creating a system of record for business-critical asset analytics or regulatory submissions.

3. Follow best practices. Sourcing and integrating data in a way that aligns with industry best practices and strategic business needs is the way to manage risk and ensure success. It will ensure organisations can integrate across existing silos to meet strategic requirements.

4. Follow a roadmap. By using partners who have completed analytics projects in the past, companies can avoid pitfalls and obstacles, saving on time and costs. Analytics should become an ongoing part of the business rather than a one-off project so it is important to clearly see what the future looks like.

5. Act on the benefits and measure the results. Analytics are only useful if organisations make decisions and changes based on the insights they reveal. To really understand how data analytics have helped, the organisation should measure the results. New return on investment, operational improvements and better regulatory decisions can all demonstrate the value of data analytics and help set the roadmap for future analytics projects.

For more information on making the most out of Big Data, see the white paper, How to Make Data Pay Dividends for Utilities.

David Socha is Utilities Practice Manager at Teradata International. David initially led Teradata’s Utilities practice in Europe, Middle East & Africa but now also has responsibility for Asia Pacific & Japan. He works with local and account-focused teams to bring Teradata’s unrivalled data and analytics capabilities and knowledge to the international utilities sector.

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