It is essential to understand the importance of Cloud Computing for the Utilities. Switching to Cloud Computing means, first and foremost, exponentially increasing computing power and storage space. This is accompanied by a significant reduction in costs. The cloud is a decisive move to on-demand and pay-per-use, without the need for costly investment in hardware, software (which becomes available in an as-a-Service mode), or data centers.
Then there are the enormous benefits of flexibility and scalability, which are especially relevant in the current environment. These are just some of the advantages of cloud computing. To go deeper into this topic, check out our recent post.
No matter the sector, the cloud has had a major, like no other technology in the current landscape.
In this post, we will focus on the Utility Industry, a large sector that is important for the economy at large, but also for the individual customer, who is also experiencing a phase of unprecedented transformation in recent years.
Digital revolution in the Utility Industry
The Utilities and Energy industry is in a period of unprecedented change. First of all, the market has opened up to new players, who have a smart approach that is increasingly attentive to all aspects and benefits of digital. This has influenced the processes and brand identities of even the most established companies in the sector.
In this sense, the new challenges involve marketing and customer care professionals, two areas that are now more related than ever, especially when it comes to services such as electricity, gas, water, Internet, and telephony that have a real impact on the lives of customers.
At the same time, there have also been great changes in the sensitivity of public opinion (and therefore in the audience of potential customers). Today, the focus is on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. Individual customers are becoming more and more informed: they demand clarity, transparency, and ease of dialog with the companies.
- In short, the real revolution lies here, in the changing role of the customer who today plays the real central role. Today, companies in the sector are committed to winning their attention, to keeping customers involved and, finally, to increasing their loyalty with operations that are as tailored as possible.
In a recent Bain & Company analysis, it was found that winning a new customer costs between 6 and 7 times more than retaining one. The real driving force behind this paradigm shift has been (and will continue to be) digital transformation, which has made these changes possible. And if we’re talking about digital today, this also means (and in some ways above all) that we’re talking about Cloud Computing.
Think about the possibilities of personalization and one-to-one dialog; it is thanks to digital and to cloud-based data-driven optics that this approach, can be put on track even for endless audiences.
For this reason, a company like Doxee, which has personalization and cloud-based services at the center of its business, has been included by CIOReview in its list of the 20 most promising technologies for the world of Utilities in 2018.
We conclude this section by reporting a quote from Isabelle Kocher, CEO of Engie, one of the 10 most important companies in the global Utilities and Energy sector: “The word ‘transition’ falls short of the change that we are witnessing: we are facing a real revolution.”
Cloud Computing and Utility Industry: a revolution summarized in 5 points
We have also seen it above: the challenges facing the Utilities sector are many and they are complex. In addition to the challenges of digital transformation, there are also the following:
- Infrastructures are becoming increasingly outdated, and that makes it difficult to meet the needs of users;
- National and international regulations increasingly require companies to be more flexible, agile and efficient. This means gradually abandoning energy sources that have a high impact on the environment;
- The expectations of users, who are evolving at an accelerated rate and who often rely on the most fluid, intuitive, rapid, and interactive experiences with companies in other sectors.
Added to this are cutting-edge themes such as the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain technologies. All of these trends will increasingly rely on high performing and carefully designed Cloud Computing services-
But we don’t have to look too far into the future. According to the most updated estimates, the Utilities sector, as a whole, will invest about $4 billion in public cloud services in 2019 alone. And when there are such large investments, companies see even greater possible benefits. This is a certainty. That’s why Cloud Computing in really important for the Utility Industry.
Now we will take a closer look at these advantages, which we will summarize in five points.
1. Reducing costs (CAPEX and OPEX)
Cloud services are based on on-demand and pay-per-use optics. The consequence is that, by exploiting them, utility companies can contain both Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) and Operating Expenditures (OPEX). Moreover, this reduction is accompanied by an improvement in performance.
2. Flexibility and Scalability
Another consequence of the move to Cloud Computing systems is the exponential increase in flexibility and scalability. This means lower investments, with less risk with the possibility to increase or decrease computing power or storage capacity when you need. To get the most out of this flexibility, the most suitable solutions could be Multi-Cloud or Hybrid Cloud.
3. Data-driven approach and personalization
GTM Research has estimated that, for Utilities companies data analysis investments will grow from $700 million in 2012 to about $3 billion in 2020, an expected increase of more than 400%. Again, these are large investments driven by even greater possibilities for economic return.
Analyzing a large amount of data means knowing as much as possible about your audience of users, segmenting them into clusters, to increase engagement and loyalty with targeted and tailored actions (lowering the churn rate, which we will return to in the next point). Collecting such an impressive amount of data, from an omnichannel point of view, Cloud Computing systems are essential.
Today, moreover, it is possible to go beyond segmentation and aim at individuals, thanks to personalization. This is a strategy that some of the most important companies in the sector, such as Enel or Engie, have already put on track, relying on the specialized services of a company like Doxee.
The effectiveness of addressing each person in a different way, based on their characteristics, is something that can be easily understood. Take this data into consideration:
- 79% of companies that exceed their revenue targets have a well-documented personalization strategy in place.
- 75% of consumers are more likely to buy products that they “recognize,” from a company that calls them by name, knows their history, and suggests options based on previous choices (source: Accenture).
- 78% of Chief Marketing Officers believe that custom content, tailored to the user, is the future (source: Clicz).
4. Real-time reporting
In the previous point, we discussed the importance of collecting and analyzing big data, right up to the frontier of customization. We can push the limits a little further and put in place strategies for the analysis of data in real-time: this is what we mean – beyond the technicalities – with real-time reporting.
Real-time reporting, based on an efficient Cloud Computing architecture, will be one of the most powerful weapons for companies to get to know their users even better, to interact with them “in the right time and in the right way,” and to reduce the churn rate, or the rate of abandonment. This is one of the main problems of the sector, which has become more urgent than ever in the current open market.
According to the Customer Experience Impact Report, 89% of the users have turned to a competitor due to problems in the customer experience.
5. Cyber Security
Thanks to Cloud Computing, the power of computing, analysis, storage, and collection of valuable data increases significantly. The natural consequence is a parallel surge in the importance of security systems. With the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), these aspects have become even more urgent.
Cloud system providers are well aware of this, which is why they are unbeatable, even in this respect. In fact, they have a capacity for updating and attention to threats on all possible fronts of both internal and local systems.