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5 Areas Intelligent Automation Can Improve Operational Excellence for Utility Companies

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

Digital transformation has hit the utility sector and it’s forcing rapid change.

New entrants to the energy market are pursuing disruptive methods of provision such as new battery storage technologies and buying rather than producing raw product. Increasingly demanding customers are creating new operational and strategic challenges that must be understood and managed.

With the publication of Ofgem’s RIIO-2 (Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs) and Ofwat’s Price Review 2019 (PR19), the strategy and methodologies for the coming years has been set and providers within both sectors will need to take steps to improve efficiency, customer service and resilience to meet the demands outlined above.

To create more value utility companies are leveraging new technology, such as analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) beyond SCADA; to drive operational excellence, increase customer and operational risk and compliance insights, and enhance supplier performance management.

Giving consumers a stronger voice

It is the intention that RIIO-2 will deliver enhanced customer engagement, with consumers being given a stronger voice, not just in the price control settlement process but also whether providers are addressing the needs and preferences of their customers.

Preparing for the future

The core providers within the energy industry are plagued by antiquated legacy systems and repetitive workflows. Decentralisation, decarbonisation and digitalisation are driving significant change, with Ofgem wanting to design a framework that is flexible and responsive to the future possibilities and Ofwat championing the customer by making their services of the future are more engaging and ethically responsible.

Here are 5 Areas where Intelligent Automation can improve Operational Excellence:

1. Metering

Compile, manage and process capacity metering accurately and rapidly – without the risk of human error. Drive optimised billing, reporting and distribution processes by ensuring the foundation or measurement are consistently updated, this will resolve customer meter misreadings with automated validation and correction with our digital workers.

2. Customer Data Management

Maintain your customer records consistently across your systems with virtual workers. Our platform, SmartFlow, makes management easy. With your data automated and synchronised across systems you can be confident you have an accurate view, which is especially useful when handling customer complaints. Allowing this process to be automated by a set of company policy processes using SmartFlow will give valuable time back to your talent pool. 3. Billing and Refunds

Build consistent relationships with your customers by automating payment requests. Whether you are chasing late receivables, correcting overcharges, or just to need to process payments, act in confidence with virtual workers. It’s always up to date.

4. Human Resources

The automation of repetitive tasks of employee data management, absence management, payroll, compliance and reporting can free up HR to do want they do best - delight your current staff and recruit the highest skilled individuals for your organisation in a highly competitive sector with a limited resource pool.

5. Procurement

Maintain your supplier records consistently through automation. SmartFlow will manage procurement with ease, automating your data across systems and giving a single view of a supplier, updating inventory records, ensuring contracts are managed and up to date.

Focus on high-impact use cases and gain competitive advantage

Of course, there are many more use cases for intelligent automation, the above is not intended to be a comprehensive list.

We have seen companies use it in R&D for defect detection and in exploration/production for forecasting and yield optimisation. Whilst over a third of companies in the utilities sector are using automation with in-core business functions, they generally focus on low-complexity and low benefit use cases. It will be exciting to see how utilities companies discover even more innovative ways to implement intelligent automation and handle complex tasks – we believe SmartFlow is the best solution currently available to manage them.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that’s out there and not know where to start, we have written a simple 5 step guide on how to get Automation ready with SmartFlow – we hope it will help.

Maximise IT has over 15 years of experience in intelligent automation and through consistently delivering high quality solutions to our clients we have earned an excellent reputation. Our innovative products are revolutionising the way our clients work, helping them to gain competitive advantage through streamlining business processes and saving them £100M’s. We’ve won many awards, this year we were extremely proud to receive the ‘Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: Innovation 2019’.

Whatever stage of the process automation journey your organisation is at we would love to help you.

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