Utilities 4.0 – can a buzzword have an impact on the energy sector?
A term to which the appendix "4.0" is not attached in the modern business world doesn’t seem to be up to date or deserves no mention at all. For some time now, the number abbreviation has also found its way into the energy industry. We are talking about utility companies 4.0 or, as it is called in neo-German: Utilities 4.0 - which means nothing other than digitalization, with all its varieties, has arrived at utility companies1. But to what extent has the digital transformation in the energy sector already progressed to and does it really offer appropriate approaches to solving the problems that utilities are currently facing? This means reducing high migration rates, facing up to competitive pressure, even from players outside the industry, introducing or, if necessary, increasing cross-selling activities with existing customers, carrying out individual billing and remote measurements in real time, and finally using meter data efficiently and profiting from it.
These four areas should include a successfully implemented digital roadmap.
According to a recent study by the Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft e.V. (BVDW - Federal Association of Energy and Water Management)2 self-service portals are one of the top 3 digital topics for the business development of utility companies. The energy industry hopes that this will lead to an additional increase in turnover and at the same time to immense cost savings. But before utilities can achieve measurable success with such an implementation, certain prerequisites must be met. And this is exactly where Hycom.digital's Utilities 4.0 concept helps. It provides a digital, agile and accurate approach to digitizing energy companies. The concept is based on four areas.
An optimized customer experience serves as the basis for success. A 2018 report by Gartner3 concludes that around 80 percent of cross-industry companies in North America, Western Europe and Asia are competing for their customer experience. Hycom.digital advises some of the largest European companies from various industries in the field of CX and therefore has many years of experience. The Utilities 4.0 concept is aimed at understanding the customer journey and exploring the goals and development opportunities of each individual energy company. The result of Hycom.digital's successfully implemented customer experience is that every customer, on every channel, at every touch point and with the use of every user interface, has a useful and satisfying experience.
Intelligently processed data and proper data management serve the Utilities 4.0 concept as a source. Utilities have a large amount of data (especially large amounts of data from many different sources and formats). However, these data are usually available in scattered and fragmented forms and thus say almost nothing about the customer. But it is precisely this knowledge that offers energy companies immense advantages in terms of better satisfying the needs of their customers on the one hand and offering an optimal customer experience on the other. Hycom.digital's answer lies in cloud computing with its low-cost memory and flexible computing power as well as big data and data science technologies.
A first milestone within the Utilities 4.0 concept is the implementation of a successful self-service application. It is seen as a kind of vehicle that enables utilities to create value for their customers. More specifically, to use digital channels based on the data and information from the data platform to show users how they consume energy and what they can do to possibly make it more environmentally friendly. At the same time, the implementation of such a self-service application has the effect of reducing the churn rate, creating loyalty and trust, and reducing costs by saving service personnel.
The integration of an e-commerce platform will enable utilities to tap new growth segments and sources of revenue. This integration is based on a successfully implemented self-service application and is the last step on the way to a modern utility. Hycom.digital's Utilities 4.0 concept aims to drive up- and cross-selling campaigns of products and services. The focus is on smart living devices, insurance, maintenance services or consumer electronics.
You want to learn more about the utilities concept of Hycom.digital? Take part in our round table workshop. Either on 18th March in Munich or on 8th April in Zurich. Registration under firstname.lastname@example.org
You want to learn more about the Utilities 4.0 concept of Hycom.digital? Contact us (email@example.com) and we will show you a demo of our concept.
1Utility 4.0 at a Glance – wie entstand das Phänomen?
2Digital@EVU 2019. Wo steht die deutsche Energiewirtschaft.
3Realizing the Benefits of Superior Customer Experience: A Gartner Trend Insight report.