One utility’s reasons to marry their customer data and the cloud


    The cloud has become a real utilities superhero these days—a fact we’ve explored more visually, deeply and fictionally in a recent cloud comic book—but we know that many still struggle to make that leap because, well, we all like to be sure. (In fact, we all like to be “sure sure,” as the phrase goes.)

    We like to have pilots and peer reviews and insights. We like stats, numbers, data and back-up support. And that’s both the culture and the nature of this industry.

    Today inside Oracle Utilities’ OpenWorld Industry track, our partner TMG Consulting revealed the insights from one Midwestern municipal’s choice to jump into the cloud with a program that bridges metering and customer care—and we wanted to share some insights here to help you build up that support with some unstructured data details steeped in peer review know-how.

    So why are they making this “everything-all-at-once” customer move to the cloud?

    To improve billing accuracy: Allowing for real-time connections and deeper dives into granular data stats help make the numbers behind the cost more transparent, more timely and more accurate, too, as errors will now be fewer and father between. 

    To improve customer service: The utility noted interval data and remote connect options were at the top of their benefits list with this choice (that second one because the utility is in a college town with a high load shift and changeover). When they implemented their last CIS system 15 years ago, it was cutting-edge, but a lack of investment in that system over the years has made it out of date, leaving a real need for that utility to leap ahead again and really get in front of growing customer expectations.

    To empower customers: Knowledge is power, as Schoolhouse Rock once taught us every Saturday morning in the ‘70s but is now a real customer mantra as well. And, as customer needs become more complicated (and more digital), having the numbers behind those details will become more important in not just monthly billing, but additionally with daily details like time-of-use rates parceling and appliance use impact on that consumer bottom line.

    To improve outage management: Where this utility is located, weather-related outages are frequent. These updates will allow them better, faster outage data routed to operations faster (and more often) during events, as well as folding in customer data more quickly as those details come in from digital and calls as well and are blending into the larger picture seamlessly.

    To enhance reliability: This long-term goal with cloud-enabled systems data is all about creating a more solid and stable network overall, according to the utility. If everyone is working with a single set of data that’s regularly updated, that keeps it all more efficient, from planning to projects to just plain making upgrades easier (with no more 15-year gaps).

    With those benefits in mind, the utility noted that it just “made more sense” to move to the cloud in the larger plan to modernize their systems and processes. They started with the metering shift first (in order to be able to test with live data and make conversion easier).

    The bottom line: In the end, better data will help customers (and the utility, too) make better decisions. And that’s the biggest reason this utility is making that wedded bliss journey to the cloud happen today.


    Keep up with Oracle OpenWorld insights in real time on Twitter here. And read more from the conference with the related blogs below:

    5 mistakes true innovators never make
    Facing utility disrupters head on
    How Oracle Utilities shows our partners lots of love
    Do these 5 don’ts of digital
    How to be an innovator: the Oracle OpenWorld meta edition
    How transformative tech changes us from brain waves to bulk distribution

    And read more about the cloud here:

    Exelon’s Mark Browning demystifies innovation and the cloud
    Pursuing the perfect cloud path
    How the cloud is already changing your business for the better
    SaaS is your next innovation enabler
    Introducing your next superhero obsession: Oracle Utilities' cloud comic book

    Read more:


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