The energy industry hampered in its drive towards digitalisation

OpenText research, undertaken by IDG Connect, has revealed the UK energy industry is undergoing digital transformation to address a myriad of industry challenges, with 96% of respondents stating they had already set out on their journey towards digitalisation.

Respondents cited multiple industry challenges for having to undertake changes, including maintaining service levels (48%), keeping customers (44%), and increasingly challenging asset management demands (41%).

The drive towards digitalisation

The benefits of digitalisation in the energy sector are clearly recognised by respondents, with 76% agreeing that it would create a more seamless interaction with customers across multiple platforms.

>See also: Five smart solutions transforming the energy industry

At the same time, 76% also felt digitalisation would create the ability to load balance with new technology, while 56% believed it would improve the ability to store and search media rich content effectively.

However, with nearly four-in-ten (37%) saying they ‘have a way to go’ and only 11% claiming full digitalisation, there is much more to be done to fully embrace digital ways of working.

“With customer service riding high on the priority list of all energy organisations – largely mandated by the sector’s regulators – organisations are looking for ways to improve engagement and ensure customer experience is seamless,” said Russell Vise, sales director for energy and utilities UK at OpenText.

“The drive towards digitalisation highlights this focus. Many energy organisations struggle with outdated processes and legacy systems, making it challenging to provide a quality service to the customer, and also ensure industry compliance. Only by digitalising these practices can all requirements be met.”

>See also: SGN’s mobile evolution in the gas and energy industry

However, a significant majority of organisations see several barriers halting their progress towards achieving full digitalisation, with 80% of respondents selecting three or more barriers when asked.

The top barriers included; a lack of obvious ROI (59%), getting management buy-in and/or project approval (48%), more pressing/urgent matters taking priority (44%) and compliance requirements (44%). Just 7% said there were no barriers stopping them from progressing towards full digitalisation.

Siloed data – the elephant in the room?

89% of respondents stated that siloed data was an issue within their industry. With nearly a quarter of respondents stating that it was a huge issue impacting customer service (22%), it is a concern that cannot be ignored.

>See also: Big data at British Gas: a new era of energy

“The sheer volume of information, as well as the increasing amount of documentation required by regulatory bodies, has resulted in an information management explosion within the energy sector,” said Vise. “If not handled correctly, silos develop, preventing the seamless information exchange required for effective customer engagement.”

“For forward-thinking companies, the challenge is no longer just organising information. It’s ensuring information is accessible in ways that make it easy to extract and utilise its business value for the customer.”


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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