Most of us are more than familiar with buzzwords like the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and “digitization”. What’s less clear to many is what’s required to leverage the opportunities these technology advances offer. Neither the IoT nor the process of transforming into digital service provision is a “plug and play” process though, if successfully completed, both can be transformative for the utility, dramatically increasing business.
Underlying the successful execution of both IoT and digital strategies are questions of data. Answer these wrongly and at best, the impact of the new technologies will be compromised; at worst few benefits will be accessed at all. And too many companies unfortunately do build strong digital and IoT infrastructure only to then fail to leverage their full potential because underlying data issues are inadequately addressed. Why is this the case?
The clue, to some extent, is in the name. Digitization means the transformation of previously analogue (non-digital) processes and mechanisms into, to all intents and purposes, bits and bytes. Connectivity is an important component of both, but it’s a red-herring if its importance is over-rated, as is all too often the case. Yes, in the new world machines are connected to machines and network components are smarter but connectivity is simply the means of communication; it’s the communication itself that matters. And the language of communication in the digital/IoT world is data. Addressing connectivity and then ignoring issues of data is an example of the proverbial epithet “suppose they threw a party and no one came.” Or, more accurately, the stage is ready but the actors are nowhere to be seen.
Successful IoT and digital strategies are data driven. It’s only useful to have new, fast, and flexible ways to run your business if you know what you actually need to do. And knowing what you need to do requires being aware of the information contained in the data generated by your customer’s relationship and activities with your business (for instance, what your customers are purchasing and what experience they’re getting on your network.)
This reality means that the question of data integration and management is absolutely central to the success of any digital transformation. Don’t forget to ask yourself when you’re planning your digital strategy, “what am I doing in this area?” And if you’re already deploying smart meters, connecting devices and moving into the digital world but you’ve overlooked the issues above, it’s not too late. Data and Integration and management layers enhance existing technology investments, they don’t replace them. Rather, they increase their Ro!.
In this series of four blogs we’re going to be looking in some detail into how, and why, that is the case. We’ll first-in the next blog-look at Data Integration and Management technology from the perspective of what it is, how it works, and what it does. In the two subsequent blogs we’ll look at it “in action”, revealing two live Use Cases that are presently deployed by leading utilities and that, within months, were having a serious and measurable impact on their bottom lines.
For now, questions to ask yourself might include:
- Do I have a data strategy in the context of my digital transformation?
- If I do, am I satisfied with it? If I don’t, why not?
- Am I accessing all the data I’d like to access from my network and infrastructure?
- Am I using that data to drive new business models, reduce costs, and improve efficiency?
- Am I using that data to reduce costs and increase revenues?
- Am I taking steps to optimise business more performance more quickly and impactfully than ever before?
The answers to the questions above matter. This series of blogs will show you why, and what to do to answer them correctly.