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For Utilities, data is the new currency

Iris Harel's picture
Client Partner - Regional Client Business Executive Amdocs

Executive leader with proven global experience and a successful IT career in the MSO and Telco industries. Expertise in large-scale project development & delivery, program management, complex...

  • Member since 2022
  • 3 items added with 739 views
  • Jan 24, 2022

Data is about much more than improving productivity – it’s pivotal to creating the next generation of customer experiences.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” Little did he know 2500 years ago the profound impact that words would have on the future. Had he known the value of information and data on the future, he most certainly would have championed the idea of data becoming the new currency.

There is little doubt that data influences almost every aspect of our everyday lives. I’d even go far as to say that it has become a pivotal element of our everlasting existence. Yet for utility companies who have invested significantly in automated metering infrastructure (AMI), the challenge of developing a roadmap for data optimization remains an ongoing challenge. Utilities are continuously looking for ways to optimize internal data management systems and adapt to a continuously evolving set of applications and vendors.

Hence, it may be appropriate to look towards other industries to see how they have harnessed the power of data. Other industries like telecom, retail, healthcare and financial services, have successfully demonstrated how data offers not only improved operational efficiencies, but very importantly, has evolved the customer experience.

Customer Experience 2.0: Next Level of Personalization and Customization

While it is easy to look at these industries and see the accomplishments made, it is important to recognize that harnessing the power of data is easier said than done. To fully leverage it, utilities must first create a roadmap that will allow them to roll out new services and improve customer care.

What does such a data optimization road map look like? It starts with identifying key business priorities. For utilities this is often improving energy efficiency and reducing load on the grid. We will focus on how AMI data will improve utility efforts to allow customers to reduce efficiencies, pay delinquent bills, and possibly change their behavior.

It begins with segmentation. Utilities have yet to segment their data at a level where personalization is possible. For example, if we look at the telecommunications industry or at online retail, companies have mastered the art of cookies and using AI to spot behavior trends. Let’s give an example. You use Amazon to buy your groceries online and you only buy green vegetables. It’s not long before ads pop up on your next order demonstrating discounts for green vegetables and promoting similar products.

While utilities may not be trying to sell customers anything, they do want to promote certain energy efficiency programs and rebates. They may want to showcase energy assistance programs to those who are delinquent in their bills. In this way, utilities can track customer behavior based on AMI data and create more customized bills with specific messaging aimed at different customers.

After all, when was the last time your telecom service provider didn’t try to add a bundle to your existing service based on your usage habits?

Looking to other industries will allow utilities to adopt successful best practices that are proven and true. Thankfully much of this technology exists today to enable such data optimization.

However, utilities struggle with how to leverage this data and use it as unregulated industries do, without raising the alarm on big brother. This is where finding a partner who understands this difference is important. Utilities must search for a partner that can do the following:

  • Optimize existing network infrastructure investments to ensure that data is secure during the analytics process
  • Clean and segment data based on business requirements for customer outreach
  • Distribute that segmented data across the organization—from call center to marketing, so all units are consistent in their communications with customers
  • Further help aggregate internal information and bundle services and programs for increased program participation
  • Manage multiple aspects of the customer communications process to ensure that not only the message is consistent, but so is the look and feel
  • Leverage data to identify lost revenue and generate new revenue streams by matching customers to preferences, particularly targeting delinquent customers with programs such as pre-pay or fixed bill

It is an exciting time for utilities as they unpeel the onion of their data investments and begin to reinvent their customer engagement strategies. Collaborating with other industries and partnering with the right solutions provider are key paths forward.

Iris Harel is a Regional Client Business Executive at Amdocs responsible for market development and customer satisfaction in areas related to communications, cable, telco, satellite, and IoT. She manages new value propositions for the Company.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 24, 2022

Very well said, Iris-- data is not just an indicator for utilities any more, it's the driver of value just as much as electrons!

Iris Harel's picture
Iris Harel on Jan 24, 2022

Thank you! I see a blue ocean of opportunities!

Iris Harel's picture
Thank Iris for the Post!
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