For the benefit of customers, communities and society
Utilities architecting for a better future will create a better future for all. But what does that mean?
The energy transition forces a utility to change its customer focus. While customer service will become increasingly tailored to the individual, it will expand beyond just the customer behind each meter. Customer centricity will also focus on communities and society as a whole.
Just look at Origin Energy. To improve customer service, the Australian utility migrated its customer platforms to the cloud. As part of its Cloud 2022 strategy, in which Origin will exit traditional data centers, Origin Energy moved its SAP customer self-service applications to AWS. Basing self-service in the cloud simplified processes for its 4 million customers, reduced load in its call center, improved billing batch run times by 30%, and cut operating costs in half. The utility now plans to move its SAP ERP system to AWS.1
And Sorgenia’s cloud-first approach not only improved efficiency and cost, but also reduced the company’s carbon footprint by reducing the power consumption of the company’s data center.
The pandemic has significantly raised climate change awareness. Accenture’s New Energy Consumer report found that after Covid-19, 60% of consumers are more aware of climate change and its environmental impact. Half of all consumers will invest more in energy efficiency measures.
French utility Engie is transforming itself and helping its customers transition to a zero-carbon future. The challenge it faced was understanding customer preferences across 70 countries and 24 business units. That was essential for it to be able to recommend relevant renewable or zero-carbon energy solutions. In partnership with Accenture and Salesforce, it is developing a unified global CRM platform to provide a 360-degree customer view. This will allow Engie to make personalized recommendations and solutions—and reinvent its business model and processes with industry-specific cloud and mobile solutions.2
Utilities will spearhead the shift to renewable energy and increasingly engage with society as part of that shift. Remember that business and technology strategies are inseparable. Future architectures will be designed to support this move. And this focus will not just happen in customer-facing parts of the utility value chain. The asset side of the business will become increasingly customer focused. The energy transition creates many challenges for the safe and reliable delivery of power. Addressing these challenges requires a greater emphasis on customer outcomes, and requires an architecture that supports this new focus.
Learning the art of innovation—including how to fail and learn from failure—is crucial. This cultural change will be driven by utility leaders of the future. They’ll be the ones driving the transformation that’s needed to truly democratize technology.
1 “SAP on AWS Helps Origin Energy Embrace a Digital, Data Driven World,” AWS
2 A Journey, Not an End Point: A Case Study in Utility Digital Transformation,” T&D World, March 2, 2020.