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August 8, 2022

Utility data analytics: benefits and challenges

With the emergence of data analytics, especially when used in combination with other fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), most utilities have begun to recognize the importance of capturing increasing amounts of data to gather insights and make data-driven decisions.

What is data analytics?

Gartner defines data and analytics as “the management of data for all uses (operational and analytical) and the analysis of data to drive business processes and improve business outcomes through more effective decision making and enhanced customer experiences.

Simply put, data analytics refers to the process of using analytics to uncover trends, patterns, correlations and other useful insights from data.

Benefits of data analytics

  • Reliability – Data analytics can help improve reliability and manage risk by preventing outages through more accurate predictions about when to replace failing equipment and better management of performance.
  • Cost savings – As the usage of data analytics continues to grow within utilities, profits are also expected to grow. As a side benefit, the introduction of data analytics has eliminated some mundane jobs and created opportunities for higher human functions allowing organizations to run more efficiently.
  • Innovation - Data analytics can help utilities prioritize a roadmap of projects to pursue that align with their overall business strategy.

Challenges of data analytics

  • Finding the right tools - New technologies for analyzing data are constantly being developed. Utilities must find the right technology that addresses their current and future needs and works within their environment.
  • Data accessibility - Utilities must make the insights from the data accessible to all levels from the c-suite to the project managers.
  • Inaccurate analytics – As the saying goes “garbage in, garbage out.” If your data is incomplete or has errors, results will be inaccurate. Organizations need to make sure that data quality management is built into the process.

Utilities today are faced with the challenge of aging infrastructure, limited funds, and increasing reliability expectations. By leaning into the use of data analytics, utilities will be better equipped to handle the challenges being faced. Data analytics will drive more efficient business processes and outcomes through effective decision-making and enhanced stakeholder experiences.

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Strategist, Project Manager, Advisor and Analyst…these are some of the roles that Angela Sharman has taken on over the last 15+ years as a marketing professional for technology and consulting firms. Prior to joining Engineered Intelligence, Angela worked for an engineering firm as they adapted their services to better support utility clients through the Energy Transition.

As the Director of Marketing, Angela will oversee Engineered Intelligence's marketing strategy, goals and initiatives that contribute to business growth and client relationships.

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