Combined Cloud Based Solutions Give Utilities A Competitive Edge

By combining Ciber’s Utility-in-a-Box and Energyworx’ BIG Data Crunching platform, utilities can turn challenges into opportunities.
Published: Tue 20 Oct 2015

The energy industry is faced with major challenges which are impacting traditional business models.

These challenges include deregulation and liberalisation, grid independence, fierce competition and growth in complex market communications, declining trade margins, the escalation of data from smart meters, bi-directional communications and flow of power, grid balancing due to variable resources and lastly, growing consumer expectations. 

Recognising the need to transform these challenges into opportunities, Ciber, a global information technology consulting, services and outsourcing company, and Energyworx, a big data aggregation and analytics cloud-software services provider, have combined their solutions to help utilities enjoy success in the energy transition. By combining Ciber Utility-in-a-Box and Energyworx’ BIG Data Crunching platform, utilities can create new customer offerings and business models, setting themselves apart from competitors.

Ciber Utility-in-a-Box and Energyworx’ BIG Data Crunching platform

First, let’s get a better understanding of what each solution brings to the table.

Ciber Utility-in-a-Box, is a cloud based business solution that enables utilities to move away from traditional business systems which are no longer effective in today’s highly competitive and changing energy sector. This solution allows utilities to select the range of functionality required to introduce new business models. This helps the utility business focus on innovation in customer engagement, shortening time-to-market and lowering costs to drive competitiveness. Ciber Utility-in-a-Box ensures that back office business processes are robust, scalable, and compliant and it helps to deliver a unique, low cost-to-serve while at the same time creating adaptivity and flexibility in the customer facing processes.

The cloud-based service is based on industry standard products and open standards, is fully customer and product proposition driven, can be linked to the digital environment, offers energy providers a competitive edge through unique business-process solutions, allows utilities to choose the services that are really needed, offers a high volume real-time billing engine, remains fully compliant to market-models, and is based on a fixed fee per customer per annum at significantly lower costs than competitors.

Energyworx’ BIG Data Crunching platform runs on the Google Cloud Platform which has no storage or processing limits and thus no performance limits; the platform is able to crunch data as fast as you want. By combining data from different sources, valuable new insights are created, sparking new business concepts and models for the utility.

The platform offers a ‘gathering’ service which means utilities do not have to invest in the ability to gather information from many different data sources including smart meters and sensors. Utilities can use the open API and gain free access to the Energyworx platform. After the data is in, the ‘Crunch’ layer Validates, Estimates and Edits (VEE) data as needed. Once the data is in the desired format, it can be effectively used across utility departments. This is where the ‘Use’ layer comes into play and the Energyworx Open API allows for the data to be controlled and visualized through interactive dashboards. The cost for using Energyworx is a ‘pay-per-use’ service that has three components: 1) Storage points in the cloud 2) Processing capacity utilized and 3) Service and support. All billing components are measured and tracked by the same API available to all customers.

A winning combination

Matthew Ross, Energy Strategist, Energyworx, who will be co-presenting the upcoming webinar, Customer Centric Business Models for the Energy Transition, says that on a higher level, the different experiences brought about with the combination cannot be ignored.

He explains, “Ciber is a large global systems integrator with a lot of resources and experience while Energyworx is a small agile software team. With this combination, we bring together the best of both worlds. We have a startup mentality and we bring innovation to the sector. Both companies share the same vision of the energy transformation so we make an excellent team. We focus on what’s best for the customer to help utilities retain and grow their customers. The features of both solutions are a good fit and both companies share the vision of cloud computing and the importance of minimal capital expenditure.”

Webinar co-presenter Joost Van der Linde, Business Consultant Energy & Utilities, Ciber, says that utilities need to create new models and solutions in order to keep up with the changes, especially when it comes to regulations.

He adds, “By using the cloud, utilities can all gain. Clients can benefit from changes we make on the platform whereas previously, utilities had to pay for the same changes.”

Practical use cases of the combination

By helping utilities handle the flood of data, new business models can be created and acted upon, explains Mr Ross.

For the utility, the solutions will help leverage real time data across all departments. Demand side solutions will help utilities avoid unnecessary grid investments and instead enable smarter use of existing resources. Says, Mr Van der Linde, “Real time data is important for utilities so that they are equipped with data to balance effectively. Utilities need to offer services based  on real time data to develop a healthy business model.”

He adds that real time billing solutions and behaviour awareness will also go a long way to improving customer engagement. The solutions will give customers access to their consumption data, giving them more insight into their consumption habits as well as the financial effects of those habits.   

“We work together with clients so that we can deliver a solution all the way from MDM, billing and other use cases for utilities, “ explains Mr Ross. “Utilities can now focus on their core business which is delivering reliable services to their customers by trusting third parties to handle data management. Through this combined solution, we can remove a number of challenges for utilities and let them do what they do best.”

“Ambitious utilities want to create new customer offerings and aim to be different from their competitors. This combined solution can help deliver and supply the right services to reach this level of uniqueness,” concludes Mr Van der Linde.

During the webinar, the speakers will explain in more detail the best practices for effectively combining the solutions for maximum results. The presentation will close with some thoughts on future use cases followed by a live Q&A with the audience. Register here.


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