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BPM key as utility companies grapple with big data

Ben Farrell
December 4, 2012

Data has not historically been a terribly important consideration for utility providers. While businesses in almost every industry have been embracing big data and using advanced analytics to improve strategic and operational capabilities, many utility providers are relying on outdated grid capabilities that limit their ability to make the most of data capabilities. This is changing, and the shift is happening fast.

Rise of big data in utility sector

A recent Intelligent Utility report explained that data is beginning to gain significant value for many utility providers, something that may have seemed unthinkable not too long ago. The rise of the smart grid has created an environment in which the ability to gather, store, manage and analyze data has become a key competency for utility companies.

The strategic and operational shift created by big data is monumental, especially because it pushes companies to refine how their various IT systems and applications communicate with each other in the background. As a result, business process management software is becoming a key player in many settings. The technology integrates and automates data sharing and processes to ensure end users gain access to the information they need without disruption. This is particularly critical in the utility sector, where smart grid is completely changing how data is used by providers.

In an interview with Intelligent Utility, a representative of the San Diego Gas & Electric company, a leader in smart grid innovation, explained that better use of data in line with smart grid deployment could completely revolutionize the sector.

"The advent of the smart grid is transforming the traditional electric grid into a network of new technology, including distributed generation, energy storage, wireless sensor networks, software and computing," the representative told the news source. "These advances will give customers the ability to reduce costs, improve efficiency and reliability, integrate renewable energy and enhance the environment that we live in. These advances will also generate very large amounts of customer and operations data."

Implementing BPM to improve utility delivery and service

BPM software can help utility companies deal with the large and varied data sets they have to deal with when implementing smart grid infrastructure. The process automation and integration capabilities offered by the technology are particularly important in ensuring that utility workers can identify information that requires immediate response and make the right decisions in terms of grid management, power delivery and repairs.

Ben Farrell

Director of Corporate Communications