Data analytics can help utilities manage distributed energy sources, deliver better service to customers and figure out which assets need to be replaced. However, there's a seemingly endless number of organizations capable of providing power companies with information analysis tools, which can make choosing a vendor to be an arduous task.
For this reason, many utilities should consider business process outsourcing to an organization capable of parsing through the wide selection of data analytics entities. Corporations specializing in strategic sourcing have the knowledge and expertise necessary to assess the needs of their clients and determine which IT company can supply them with technology that best fits their needs.
An effort to remain competitive
Frequent blackouts, expensive bills and other factors erode a power company's ability to deliver strong customer service. Dr. Dale Skeen, a contributor to Intelligent Utility, noted that real-time end-to-end visibility of all assets and activity allows utilities to assess issues as they arise before consumers are impacted. He acknowledged that reacting to problems exacerbates their severity, which causes people to consider switching to a different service provider.
On the other hand, resolving a dilemma before end users are even aware it exists significantly improves the chances of retaining more customers. Skeen acknowledged TXU Energy, a Texas company that utilizes real-time data analytics to provide its leaders with better vision across business operations both on and off the grid. For example, the enterprise is capable of factoring in the anticipated effects of a winter storm and correlating it with its own operational abilities, allowing them to better prepare for any obstructions that may arise.
Better procurement process oversight
Speak with almost any power professional and he or she will probably inform you that the North American power grid is largely outdated, especially when it attempts to handle the influx of distributed energy caused by solar panels and wind turbines. Many utilities attempting to harness anachronistic assets will likely need supplier relationship management tools to figure out which equipment is needed, but they need to figure out which products will fail first.
Greentech Media acknowledged that data analysis can help companies determine which property is likely to die on them. For example, General Electric recently partnered with asset analysis software developer Meridium to leverage technology capable of identifying incipient equipment breakdowns.
Whether predictive, qualitative, prescriptive or some other faction of analytics, it's imperative that power companies procure the appropriate programs that best fit their needs.