How the energy & utilities industry benefits from digital transformation

How the energy & utilities industry benefits from digital transformation

Philip Rashleigh

31 March 2022 - 5 min read

Digital Transformation
How the energy & utilities industry benefits from digital transformation

By 2050, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy believes digitalisation will allow the UK to cut its energy costs by as much as £10 billion annually and create as many as 24,000 new jobs.

As with many other industries, technology provides an alternative to physical assets and paper-based processes, promising more flexible operations for organisations. Identifying processes with the highest potential for innovation and improving customer experiences provides an ideal foundation before setting loftier, long-term goals. Indeed, short term benefits include over a 4% increase in earnings for utilities organisations who undergo digital transformation, according to analysis by A.T. Kearney. 

Technology is equally a crucial component in the utility industry’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions; making concerted efforts to use less energy — thereby emitting less carbon dioxide — and generating any energy that is used from renewable sources. 

The UK government’s Net Zero Strategy, for example, sets out policies and proposals to  decarbonize all sectors of the economy in order to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Advanced Data Analytics, Machine Learning and AI have been identified as three of the key technologies that will enable companies to achieve this target. 

What these solutions share is a penchant for handling large, complex datasets. That they are valued so highly only highlights the industries’ existing challenges in data management. As access to internal and customer data grows, organisations need to leverage tools that will enable them to make more informed business decisions and drive useful new services. 

However, these are just a few examples of transformative tech. Energy and utility companies across the world are utilising a variety of solutions during their transformation efforts. Below are two case studies which attest to the positive impact of digital transformation in the energy & utilities industry.

Engie

By embracing digital transformation, Engie — the third largest energy provider in the world — has been able to both reduce its own carbon footprint and also provide valuable solutions to its customers.

Engie has taken a holistic approach to digital transformation, with innovations across its services, distribution, and retail processes. For example, Engie has developed a range of e-services for customers such as digital platforms and web applications. 

WattsOn — the company’s energy supply contract management application — computes all the data of client’s energy supply agreements and feeds this into an accessible and informative platform. Providing "risk management dedicated to energy supplies", the application also promotes sustainable practices to its client base through bilateral agreements related to energy use milestones as well as alerts that notify clients when they are close to this threshold.

These tools have brought benefits to the business and its customer base. With increased visibility over clients across all 8 continents, Engie is now better able to interact with its customers and leverage data analysis to provide personalised recommendations. On top of this, the company has reported a 26% decrease in total Greenhouse Gases Emissions since 2017, contributing to its personal goal of being Net Zero carbon by 2045.  

Aptus 

Leading multi-utility providers, Aptus Utilities, reaped the benefits of digitalisation by transitioning from paper-based business processes and excel spreadsheets to a digital management portal that covers all key aspects of project delivery. By managing all aspects of the tendering process, installation and maintenance, the platform improves business planning and financial reporting.

The robust platform centralises data for 7 business departments and over 400 employees. Through automating and integrating the core business functions into one centralised, scalable platform, Aptus has seen improved efficiency and productivity across their departments with great improvements in internal processes.  

Additionally, Aptus has gained visibility into key business data, which is important to achieving their growth plans.The ability to report in more detail gives the business the ability to track factors like payments and outstanding invoices, stock values, investments, and financial distribution among cost centres. This increased level of financial reporting has provided real-time visibility, enabling more effective and efficient decisions to be made.

Ultimately, these tailored solutions have enabled the company to focus on delivering an excellent service and growing their business even further.

Powering Digital Transformation  

In this article, we have presented two case studies that demonstrate the real value that digital transformation can bring to the energy sector.

These examples don’t make the case for a ‘one-size-fits all’ digital transformation solution - no such thing exists. However, what they do show is some of the overarching benefits that digital solutions can bring, such as an improved efficiency, team productivity and performance. 

Though the output and processes that define these businesses may differ, we have seen that they often share similar goals — from decarbonisation and finding sustainable solutions, to reducing costs and providing an excellent customer experience.

In the energy & utilities industry, Audacia has delivered numerous successful digital transformation projects for leading organisations; from centralised data systems the UK's leading multi-utilities provider, to a bespoke car booking platform for a global leader in low-emission automobiles. 

Interested in finding out more about how your business can benefit from digital transformation? Get in touch with us today on 0113 543 1300, or email info@audacia.co.uk

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Philip Rashleigh is Technical Director at Audacia and is responsible for the overall technical strategy and infrastructure, deciding the most appropriate tools and technologies for mission-critical software projects. Alongside this, Phil is also responsible for developer recruitment, infrastructure and information security.