Oracle Study Says Utilities Not Yet Seizing Smart Grid Data Potential
North American Utilities Expect Analytics Will Drive Operational Efficiency; Less than Half are Using Big Data to Improve Customer Service
Utilities today accumulate enormous amounts of smart grid data, but still need to turn information into business value. A new Oracle study, “Utilities and Big Data: Accelerating the Drive to Value,” the second annual study in the Oracle Utilities Big Data series, shows utilities are increasingly prepared for the smart grid data influx compared to last year, but still struggle to fully leverage the data collected. Significant potential still exists to use this information to drive customer service and operational improvements for business value.
Oracle’s “Utilities and Big Data: Accelerating the Drive to Value” report surveyed 151 North American senior-level utilities executives with smart meter programs to gauge:
While more utilities say they are completely prepared this year compared to one year ago, less than half of utilities report they are using smart grid data to improve customer service and operational efficiency today.
Preparedness to handle the big data influx
- How data is being used to improve operations and customer service
- Future short- and long-term plans to use smart grid data
- The potential of cloud-based solutions for data management and analysis
- Where utilities will derive the greatest value from predictive analytics.
Preparedness Increasing, but still Lagging: Utilities are more prepared to manage the data deluge today than they were one year ago, with 17 percent responding they are completely prepared, up from 9 percent in 2012. However, the majority still say they are underprepared. Utilities report slight improvements in information sharing and using information for strategic decision making.
Opportunity to Improve Customer Service: Fewer than half of utilities today use smart grid data to provide alerts or make other direct customer service improvements.
Big Data Skills Gap is Real: Sixty-two percent of survey respondents said they have a big data skills gap – including those who say they are prepared for the smart grid data influx.
Potential in the Cloud: While two out of three utilities are considering cloud-based solutions for smart grid/smart meter data management and analysis, only 26 percent are actually planning, implementing or maintaining a cloud solution today.
Utilities Believe in Analytics: Seventy percent of utilities said they expect predictive analytics to improve revenue protection and 61 percent said they expect it to reduce asset maintenance costs.
“Our new study shows that while more utilities today, over last year, are completely prepared to handle the big data influx from smart grid, most still struggle to get business value from the information they collect. The most progressive utilities are transforming themselves now into data-driven businesses to accelerate the opportunities big data and analytics can bring to improving customer service and operational efficiencies,” said Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Utilities.Oracle Utilities Receives Highest Rating Given in MarketScope for Outage Management Systems Report.
Executive summary of the report
The good news:
- Utilities are making some progress in preparing for the smart grid data influx. More utilities say they are
completely prepared this year compared to one year ago
- Utilities are accessing valuable data from a variety of sources in addition to smart meters, including outage
management systems, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) history and customer data
- While utilities are using more data today, significant opportunity remains to harness data to improve grid
performance and customer service. Less than half of utilities are using smart grid data to improve customer
service today. Big opportunities also remain in operational analytics to improve asset performance, reduce
operations costs, and improve network reliability
- Utilities expect predictive analytics will drive operational efficiency and boost the bottom line. Seventy
percent of utilities said they expect predictive analytics to improve revenue protection, and 61 percent said
they expect it to reduce asset maintenance costs
- Most utilities lack sufficient data analytics expertise. Recruiting, training and third-party solutions can help
close the skills gap
- More than 80 percent of utilities see potential benefits in cloud-based solutions. More than a quarter (26%)
of utilities are either planning, implementing or maintaining cloud-based solutions for data management andanalysis. Another 38% are in the initial discovery phase.