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The CX Layer of Energy transition and Industry cloud offerings

Deepak Kumar Jha's picture
Industry Principal, Leading Next-generation digital services and consulting

I have nearly two decades of experience in domain consulting and platform advisory services for the enterprise applications. Having been closely associated with technologies related to cloud...

  • Member since 2022
  • 4 items added with 760 views
  • May 4, 2022

As the energy and utilities industry prepares itself to ride with the tide of digital transformations due to massive scale of deregulations, the CX lever (customer experience) is becoming more appealing especially to the SaaS platform players including industry cloud providers. Due to the mushrooming venture capitalists, energy investors, DERs, retailers , wholesalers and various other energy operators where customer may become a prosumer (producer as well as consumer) and small energy investors may venture for partners to sell their products and services, the impetus will be on advanced pricing mechanism and promotions, hassle free quick products and offers configuration, branded and well designed front end portals, guided flows to initiate self journey from digital commerce and core commerce channels, pricing and ordering flexibilities leading to faster launches of commodity and non commodity services.

Enterprise CRM suite of products especially one with an integrated offerings of CRM, CPQ and Order Management capabilities will gain serious traction in the market. Today the energy players who have done some level of due diligence while foraying into the digital transformation strategies are providing ground breaking results. However, for most of them, it remains still in the state of conundrum thinking where to start and how to start and what all industry use cases will help to achieve customer success; with this it is worth formulating some strategic directions as mentioned below -

Phase 1 of transformation - Its not easy to replace the monolithic legacy system who have been there in stores for last several years creating enough dependencies. Hence, starting point for the CX transformation could be to best utilize their powerful Industry data model that is tailored for Energy verticals and manage customer specific information such as asset, service points, meter, premise etc. to provide the 360 degree view. This phase should focus mainly on leveraging in-built integration capabilities with the legacy systems so that transactional billing, asset, premise and many similar data can be brought into CRM. With this, CRM will be able to provide the 360 degree view e.g. Salesforce Industry cloud can integrate with SAP to fetch the premise, asset and service point related information and then update the metering data directly in Salesforce. Further, Salesforce can make a synchronous call out to SAP to provide updated meter data. This can all be managed right from a single console improving the agent productivity and ensuring the customer services continuity. Additionally, planned and unplanned outage details in the energy sites can be imported into CRM notifying the customers regarding the outages which will result into improved communication and transparency regarding services.  All this will help serve the customer better while retaining them in the competitive scenarios in long run.

Phase II of transformation can focus mainly on sales and marketing capabilities intended to generate more leads, better forecasting and funneling capabilities for energy investors, personalized communications, dynamic and interactive emails to customer with real time content, knowledge management feature to educate customer and partners and many more.
Due to massive level of deregulation, customer will become king unlike the monopolistic market. This will demand pricing flexibility and rule based pricing based upon set of attribute dimensions. Platform rule based engines can even take care of customers eligibility (e.g. post code based search for commodity or bundled services), service compatibility and service availability. There are synergies we see existing between energy and the telecom market. The line is getting blurred with energy infrastructure fueling telecom and advanced telecom control system facilitating the grid based communication and connected nature of energy assets. 

Phase III of transformation should focus on extending sales feature to also cover the quotation and order where Salesforce industries cloud has got many advanced features to offer in this space. Additionally, the Shop, Buy and Manage all using digital commerce channel will be at the front runner where customer will be empowered to initiate journeys requesting for quote and order form directly from the digital channels and make the payment right from the front end channels. The service orders can further be linked with task management and downstream system including billing. Omnichannel type of feature will be required where customer can demand for services from any channel, anywhere at their own convenience and speed.

The time and space co-ordinates for energy generation, distribution, transmission has no boundaries today and open for change by means of digital transformation strategies. IT system evolution requires a prudent thought process to ride with the digital transformation ensuring customer success as the deregulation will focus mainly on customer empowerment and customer success stories to drive better NPS. Energy operators need to be competitive in selling and hence true digital platform based on purpose built Industry cloud offerings is very much imperative.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 4, 2022

Due to massive level of deregulation, customer will become king unlike the monopolistic market. This will demand pricing flexibility and rule based pricing based upon set of attribute dimensions. 

There are definitely customers who want to have the power to switch and choose, but I would imagine there are still a lot of customers who would prefer the status quo of having to think about their power provider and rates as little as possible, right? I guess in this shift they'd just stick with their legacy providers? 

Deepak Kumar Jha's picture
Deepak Kumar Jha on May 12, 2022

Thanks Matt for the comments...This will depend on the customer segmentation and the type of advantage and experience they are getting from such shifts. Customer will ultimately be empowered with time as the focus will shift towards digital experience. 

Jay Malin's picture
Jay Malin on May 11, 2022

I would concur that CX is critical in the energy transformation and customer communications is a must in order to deliver flexible, interactive load balancing of energy assets.  Individual energy consumption is personal and to that extent, utilities will need to offer a range of CX solutions that allow customers to adjust the mix to suit their needs.  Nice overview.

Deepak Kumar Jha's picture
Deepak Kumar Jha on May 12, 2022

Thank you Jay for the comments and great insights here. Yes indeed the customer communication, consumption based pricing guidance and overall experience where they engage themselves with the energy provider will require range of solutions.

Deepak Kumar Jha's picture
Thank Deepak for the Post!
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