Smart meter technology has heralded a new age for the utility industry. Its roll-out is allowing utilities to capture vast amounts of usage and customer data – in an ever-more advanced and sophisticated manner However, many utilities are not realising the full potential of the data they have, or understand how it can help them build a stronger relationship with their customers.
Utilities rely on third-party applications, such as energy management platforms, to deliver value-added services to their customers. While partnerships are vital for the utility industry’s success, different technology platforms, multiple data sources and incompatible applications are obstacles all gaining a holistic view of a customer.
Recognising that different technology systems should not restrict the use of data, Oracle has collaborated with several service providers to aid the easiest and most effective way for utilities to access critical data. The has resulted in a new data extraction feature, DataConnect, which allows utilities to glean far greater value from data and provide new offerings to customers, such as conservation programs and audit tools.
Through this feature utilities can automate data extraction from multiple sources to gain a complete view of the customer. The data can be used across different applications, whether within the complete Oracle Utilities platform or other third-party applications leveraged by the utility, ensuring a consistent and seamless experience for the end user.
As an example, DataConnect can be used alongside such as Opower’s customer engagement analytics, or EnergySavvy’s energy efficiency quantification software, to deliver customer insights and improve organisational performance. It streamlines the experience for the customer. No matter what their touch-points with a utility provider are, using data to its maximum potential ensures that they always have a positive and consistent interaction that drives down attrition and improves retention.
While smart meter data is opening up new ways of engaging with customers, neither customers nor utilities companies can benefit fully from the opportunities unless it is leveraged effectively. By breaking down the technological barriers and enabling a seamless flow of data, utilities can begin to effectively take advantage of the opportunity that data is offering them, and deliver the best customer experience possible.