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Automation Projects Gather Momentum

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Paul Korzeniowski's picture
B2B Content producer, Self-employed

Paul is a seasoned (basically old) freelance B2B content producer. Through the years, he has written more than 10,000 items (blogs, news stories, white papers, case studies, press releases and...

  • Member since 2011
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  • Sep 6, 2022

Utilities have been adopting digital technologies (cloud, mobile, artificial intelligence) in growing numbers. That infrastructure is largely in place, so they are trying to exploit it. Consequently, the use of artificial intelligence to automate routine business functions has become core to how they improve their operations.

Technology has evolved and become smaller and more powerful through advances in mobile devices and the Internet of Things. As a result, energy companies have been collecting more information that ever before.   

Once companies gather data, they want to use it to improve their operations. Big data and data analytics enable them to correlate data points through intuitive reporting tools.

Use of Artificial Intelligence Grows

Energy companies find manual tasks that can be offloaded. In fact, 80% of executives think automation can be applied to any business decision, according to Gartner Inc.

Enterprises are shifting away from a tactical approach to AI and applying it more strategically.  For example, a third of organizations applied AI across several business units. They use it to automate parts of traditionally manual functions and collect information quicker, so they respond faster and more effectively to market challenges and opportunities.

Talent shortages have often assumed to impact AI initiatives but are no longer a significant barrier. Organizations find that a combination of in-house development and external hiring meets their needs. As evidence, 74% of executives reported that they have or can source the AI talent they need, according to Gartner.

However, the work comes with its obstacles. Scaling AI continues to be a significant problem.  Forty percent of organizations surveyed indicated that they have thousands of AI models deployed. Utilities then grapple with managing these projects in a coherent manner.

Also, the spread creates governance complexity. The organization has to ensure that its information is secure and used properly but outsiders are focused and clever. More than two out of five (41%) of organizations reported they an AI privacy breach or security incident.

Organizations still struggle to connect the algorithms they build to business values, which makes it difficult for IT and business leadership to justify the investment it requires.

AI technology can be complex and difficult to deploy. In fact, only a bit more than half (54%) of these projects make it from pilot to production. Consequently, companies need to be cautious in their expectations of what it can deliver.

Recent technical advances provide utilities with the ability to streamline business processes. Many are turning to AI to automate business processes. These projects have great potential but also potential roadblocks. So, utilities need to be judicious in their use of AI.  



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