Utility Data Analytics: An Overview of Advantages 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?
Data analytics is a comprehensive process that involves examining large sets of data to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, trends, and other valuable insights. This practice is key to making more informed, data-driven decisions that can significantly impact various aspects of a business.
According to Gartner, data and analytics encompass not just the management of data for various purposes, both operational and analytical, but also the analysis of this data to enhance business processes. This enhancement comes through improved decision-making and the creation of better customer experiences. In essence, data analytics transforms raw data into actionable insights.
In simpler terms, data analytics is the technique of analyzing data to discover meaningful information.
How is the Data Useful?
This process can reveal trends and metrics that would otherwise be lost in the mass of information. This can lead to smarter business moves, more efficient operations, higher profits, and happier customers. By leveraging data analytics, businesses can also predict future trends and behaviors, allowing for proactive, knowledge-driven decisions.
Utility companies can leverage this data to get customer usage patterns, energy consumption information and determine next steps in their growth and deliverability plans. This data lead perspective not only provides valuable insights but advanced insights enable utilities to make better-informed decisions faster and more consistently for their critical power infrastructure and manage evolving risks.
Benefits of Utility Analytics
- Reliability – Utility 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.
Utility companies 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.
How Does Engin Help?
Our asset management solution automates the process of investment scenario planning to support data-driven forecasting and lifecycle investment planning for the grid.
Engin is a comprehensive asset management software tailored for utilities, automating investment scenario planning and offering advanced insights for lifecycle investment planning and risk management.
It features a wide range of analytics, a single dashboard for asset insights, an easy-to-navigate interface, seamless data integration, and is specialized in transmission and distribution, reflecting its utility industry pedigree.
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.