GTM Research stated that global utility companies’ expenditure on data analytics will grow from $700 Mn in 2012 to $3 Bn by 2020. Data analytics is emerging as the newest resource to achieve competitive advantage and industry leaders globally are using analytics in increasingly innovative and unconventional ways to improve the ways in which they work.

Likewise, utilities have been leveraging data analytics to deliver enormous value and drive them to new frontiers of excellence. It can be implemented as a core capability to detect pain points, predict outcomes, design new services and reduce costs. , Utilities have used data analytics to empower and enable decision-makers with a new-found ability to better serve their customers.

Analytics can help transform all aspect of a business, and in the age of the customer, data analytics has helped utilities create a better customer experience. It has allowed utilities to better understand their customers’ water and energy consumption and to design new services to cater to both the customers’ and the utilities’ needs. Data analytics has given birth to numerous customer-focused capabilities for the utility industry, but the biggest is the ability to provide more personalized, targeted, and individual service.

Data analytics has made utilities capable of providing accurate information to their customers on power outages, restoration times, service, and the status of maintenance work. Furthermore, the adoption of predictive analytics helps prevent outages through more accurate prediction of potential equipment failure, allowing utilities to focus their maintenance efforts on the most vulnerable assets. Avoiding service disruptions means better reliability and a top-notch customer experience.

Customer and system data can be collected from a variety of sources - smart meters, customer calls, social media, and billing systems and can be analyzed to reveal insights helpful for tailoring rates to achieve utility goals, identify customers eligible for demand response and efficiency programs, or reach out to low-income families. Strides have been made by monitoring and analyzing calls coming into the call centers for sentiment analysis and social-media allowing utilities to provide instant response to customer specific questions and circumstances.

The possibilities of analytics are sizeable, and it may take a while for utilities to adopt, adapt and make use of its potential. But, data and smart analytics has opened an exciting opportunity to transform utility operations. By and large, data analytics enables smart and efficient utilities capable of providing a redefined customer experience, putting them in a much stronger position to tackle the challenges that face them in the future.