Utilities: Challenges and Opportunities for a True Digital Transformation

During 2020 public service companies, particularly water, gas and electricity, had to embark on an accelerated digital transformation process to continue to provide services to their customers despite the pandemic.

Before the coronavirus, this sector was on a slow road to digital transformation. But, by the disruption generated by Covid-19, companies quickly adopted new digital solutions for their customers and their employees.

Besides how it originated, the adoption process for new digital tools can help public service companies to improve its interaction with its customers, who today are used to smooth online experiences and expect to have access to information through omnichannel communications. It can also lead to greater efficiency and new business models.

IDC consultant estimates indicate that for 2022, 35% of public service retailers will have implemented an integrated digital showcase, increasing online business by 40%. And for 2025, 35% of service companies in energy will increase their business by at least 30% through digital platforms based on native cloud technologies, satisfying the evolving needs of customers and infrastructures.

Challenges and opportunities

This industry faces great challenges, like weaknesses in security in the control industry, regulatory challenges and technologies, increased competition, and geopolitical disputes, among others. But the industry also faces great opportunities in innovation. As such, for public service companies the challenge isn’t only to review, optimize and transform the processes and existing business models, but discover new ways of doing business.

Starting now, companies are expected to look for ways to facilitate collaboration, improve accessibility and generate income: a large part will focus on administrative improvements and provide customers with more amenities, starting from online registration and the monitoring of use up until making automated payments. They will also have to build a connected labor force, since workers operating in the field, in many cases, still depend on analogic processes and paper checklists to perform their daily tasks.

Technologies to come

The challenges the companies in this sector are facing is no easy task because in some cases you inherit systems that are inflexible and an old IT architecture that is difficult to use and integrate with new tools.

Don’t worry, the future, the use of big data and advanced analytics based on artificial intelligence (AI) will allow for new business insights and quickly optimize processes by analyzing large data sets. In addition, security systems and regulations based on compliance could be improved by helping employees monitor and control policies.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) always plays an important role in this sector, by introducing connected machines, sensors, devices and software that will improve tracking and facilitate the building of smart grids, the management of energy efficiency and the deployment of smart meters, among others. Perimeter computing will do the same by allowing some analyses to be performed at the edge of the network.

Although the restrictive context causes many IT projects to be delayed or suspended, in this field the need for initiatives related to collaboration is growing, remote monitoring and improvements to communication and analysis systems are necessary in order to ensure resilience and adaptability.

At Softtek we help public service companies to be more digital, adaptable, and sustainable using a portfolio of solutions specially for this sector. We implement technologies to optimize processes, allow access to applications from anywhere and maximize the value of data, thus supporting accelerated digital evolution that companies demand to maintain competitive.