BI and Analytics: Making the Smart Utility Intelligent now available at ReportsandReports

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Dallas, TX: ReportsandReports announce BI and Analytics: Making the Smart Utility Intelligent Market Research Report in its Store.

 

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Introduction

With an unprecedented number of external pressures, utilities are being forced to change decades-old business processes. Smart investments are the solution to many of the factors bearing down on utilities. However, smart investments in themselves do not bring significant differentiation. If new meters make a utility smart, it is through BI and analytics that a utility becomes intelligent.

Scope

  • The current extraneous pressures bearing down on utilities
  • How smart investments address these issues
  • How BI and analytics lie at the end point of any smart investment

Highlights

Utilities will be faced by an onslaught of data if they invest in both smart grid and smart metering technologies. Ovum expects that the largest utilities will have storage requirements of petabyte proportions.

From generation, transmission and distribution, through retail and into energy trading and risk management, utilities can extract value from BI investments right across the utility value chain.

There are a number of barriers to adoption of BI and analytics: a culture that prevents members of staff from the commercial side of the business from accessing operational data; data whose quality is so poor would render analysis meaningless; data that sits in silos due to a disparate information architecture.

Reasons to Purchase

  • See what is riving utilities to invest in smart metering
  • Understand how BI and analytics fits in the smart meter value chain
  • Understand some of the barriers to BI and analytics adoption in the utilities industry

Table Of contents

 

SUMMARY 1

Catalyst 1
Ovum view 1
Key messages 2
Extraneous pressures are forcing utilities to change decades-old business processes 2
'Smart' technologies address many of the market pressures currently affecting utilities 2
'Smart' infrastructure investments will create a huge surge in the volumes of data a utility will have to manage 2
While BI and analytics are the end point of any 'smart' investment there is a lack of utility-specific products from the major vendors 2
The current convergence of BI and GIS makes an even more compelling case for investment in these technologies 2
Utilities can extract significant value from BI and analytics across the entire business value chain 3
While there are significant benefits to be gained from enterprise-wide BI investments, there are also a number of barriers 3
There are a number of reasons for this: an historic culture that effectively bans members of staff from the commercial side of the business from accessing operational data; data whose quality is so poor it would render analysis meaningless or incorrect; the fact that data sit in silos due to a disparate information architecture; and privacy concerns regarding the use of customer data. 3
Although application upgrades are slowly overcoming these issues, smart meter and smart grid investments will require utilities to adopt an enterprise data management approach 3
Recommendations for utilities 3
Recommendations for vendors 4

Table of Contents 4

MARKET CONTEXT: EXTRANEOUS PRESSURES ARE FORCING UTILITIES TO CHANGE DECADES-OLD BUSINESS PROCESSES 4

Environmental concerns lead governments and regulators to reduce carbon emissions 4
Utilities face unprecedented demand on resources, particularly in electricity and water 5
High fuel costs put pressure on utility retail prices and force operating cost cuts 6
Future capital expenditure on infrastructure is vast 6
Market liberalization is coming, albeit slowly 8
An aging workforce will see a large proportion of utility staff retire over the next 10 years 10
The economic downturn has increased payment defaults 11

BUSINESS FOCUS: SMART METERING AND SMART GRID DATA CREATE A HUGE OPPORTUNITY FOR UTILITIES TO PROFIT FROM BI AND ANALYTICS 12

Smart technologies address many of the market pressures currently affecting utilities 12
Smart grid investments overcome scarcity of resource by improving the efficiency of delivery networks 12
Utilities can decrease GHG emissions through increasing renewable generation capacity and deploying energy storage 12
Smart metering overcomes scarcity of resource by influencing customer behavior 13
Greater insight into customer behavior can give a competitive advantage in liberalized markets 14
Smart metering enables more sophisticated payment protection, reducing cost-to-serve 14
'Smart' infrastructure investments will create a huge surge in the volumes of data a utility will have to manage 15
Distributed generation requires many more sensors per gigawatt of generation capacity 15
A smart grid involves exponential growth in sensors 16
Smart meters will cause an explosion in customer usage data 16
While BI and analytics are the end point of any 'smart' investment there is a lack of end-to-end utility-specific BI products from the major vendors 17
Smart grid applications require BI and analytics to create intelligence 17
BI in the utilities industry must mature to fill a functionality gap 18
The current convergence of BI and GIS makes an even more compelling case for investment in these technologies 19

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: WHILE THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR BI ARE EXTENSIVE IN UTILITIES, THERE ARE STILL SIGNIFICANT BARRIERS 21

Utilities can extract significant value from BI and analytics across the entire business value chain 21
There are a significant number of opportunities for BI and analytics in the retail side of the business 22
Customer satisfaction 22
Reduce customer churn 22
Marketing 23
Cost-to-serve monitoring 23
Contact center optimization 24
Payments and debt management 24
Customer usage portals 24
Generation, transmission and distribution can all benefit greatly from BI and analytics 24
The planning cycle will benefit from BI overlaying asset investment planning and asset management tools 25
The operations side of generation and T&D will benefit from BI the most 25
Load analysis 25
Health and safety 25
Contractor management 26
Project management 26
Asset and workforce management 26
Demand response programs 26
Efficiency savings can be gained in maintenance by optimizing inventory and predicting asset failures 27
Inventory optimization 27
Predictive maintenance 27
Load forecasting is a critical tool for the energy trading side of the business 28
While there are significant benefits to be gained from enterprise-wide BI investments, there are also a number of barriers 28
Cultural barriers are a significant obstacle to deploying enterprise data management 28
Data quality is poor 28
Data sits in silos 29
The unbundling of utilities in markets with a number of retailers creates an issue in terms of extracting value from smart grid investments 29
Privacy concerns surround the use of customer usage data in many countries 29
Although application upgrades are slowly overcoming these issues, smart meter and smart grid investments will require utilities to adopt an enterprise data management approach 30
System interoperability is improving as a natural consequence of technology upgrades 30
'Smart' applications will create a demand for reliable data from across the enterprise 30
Utilities undergoing smart deployments need to plan for their future system architecture 31
Should a smart utility's information architecture mimic comparable architectures or learn from them? 31
The current preferred model is for interoperable data silos 32
Some vendors are recommending utilities do away with data silos and store data directly into a data warehouse 32
There is no right answer to a utility's data infrastructure; each utility must decide on the right architecture that will allow it to access the right data at the right time 33

RECOMMENDATIONS 34

Recommendations for utilities 34
C-level support is vital 34
Vendor selection should not just focus on core functionality 34
The interoperability of applications becomes imperative 34
Recommendations for vendors 35
The future growth of BI and analytics lies outside of specialists' domains 35
Vendors pitching end-to-end solutions need to answer one question 'why not BusinessObjects' 35
Best-in-class vendors cannot be complacent in the long-term 35
Data quality can be as bad as you will have ever seen - be realistic about what you promise a utility 35

APPENDIX 36

Ask the analyst 36
Definitions 36
Further reading 38
Methodology 38
Disclaimer 38

List of Figures

Figure 1: Breakdown of predicted investments in UK electricity infrastructure 7
Figure 2: The restructuring of the US market has largely stalled 9
Figure 3: Price regulation in the EU, 2010 10
Figure 4: US utilities have a far older workforce than other industries 11
Figure 5: Electricity infrastructure will move from a centralized, unidirectional model to a distributed, bidirectional grid 13
Figure 6: Utilities' investment in BI, worldwide, 2009 17
Figure 7: The current functionality gap for utility-specific BI means vendor selection is a compromise 18
Figure 8: The convergence of GIS with BI creates a new set of 'analytical GIS functionality' 20
Figure 9: The benefits of BI and analytics can be felt across the utility value chain 22
Figure 10: BI and analytics needs to sit across a large number of disparate systems 31

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