Research firm, IDC, recently released a research study – Business Strategy: Ready for the Dip…Err…Plunge? Utility Business Analytics – that reveals the critical need for the utility industry for more and increasingly complex business analytics solutions to support automation processes, to make better capital investment decisions, and to empower customers to manage their energy lifestyles.
According to the study, the utility industry is expected to be one of the fastest-growing industries in adopting business analytics technology in the next few years.
The report details how utilities can efficiently leverage business analytics in both the near and long term to improve operations, increase customer satisfaction, and continuously optimize business decisions.
Utilities today are also highly interested in increasing their customer value. By understanding customer needs through improved data and analytic applications, utilities can better serve customers and ultimately improve their satisfaction.
Utilities need tools that can combine smart meter, bill payment, and demographics data with analytics to improve customer service functions. The study states that by using BI to combine these, utilities providers can provide better access to billing information and solutions, more sensitive credit collections, and more effective marketing communications. As more complex analysis is introduced, the possibility that utilities providers could soon give customers access to areas such as customers' ability to forecast and manage their energy and water bills, as well as manage energy devices such as electric vehicles, smart appliances, and home energy management systems.
According to Jill Feblowitz, practice director, IDC Energy Insights, "Today's utilities can certainly still benefit from more basic business analytics, such as dashboards, but with the rapidly evolving industry, they also need to plan for more sophisticated systems that will enable them to continuously optimize their business decisions using near-real-time data."