Dealing with DigitalisationPublished: 22/06/17
It doesn't matter what your industry, in the 21st century there's no escaping the pull of information technology to aid a myriad of operational challenges. However, as a recent survey of UK power firms by OpenText for IDG Connect has shown, not all companies are finding it easy going.
Interestingly, whilst the survey found that improving customer service is the main driver behind digitalisation with "76% agreeing that it would create a more seamless interaction with customers across multiple platforms," one of the greatest barriers to further digital adoption is a lack of clear ROI. Fifty-nine per cent of respondents cited this as an issue, and 44% said that a lack of management buy-in and the presence of other pressing matters also created obstacles.
ROI is viewed as a purely financial matter, which makes it concerning that so many respondents felt the benefits of improved customer service weren't considered powerful enough to overcome the narrower financial view.
Other reasons given for greater digital adoption included, "maintaining service levels (48%), keeping customers (44%), and increasingly challenging asset management demands (41%)".
Clearly, there's a broad range of areas in which technology can help improve the sector. The fact that there's so much that can be done may also feed into slowing progress, as the scale of the task becomes more clearly understood.
The survey also found that "data silos" within companies are creating enormous challenges. In fact, 89% of respondents said that this was a problem, with 22% calling it a "huge issue that impacts customer service".
An explosion in the amount of information within the industry is seen as the cause of this problem, with Russell Vise, sales director for energy and utilities UK at OpenText, warning that “if not handled correctly, silos develop, preventing the seamless information exchange required for effective customer engagement.”
There's no doubt that energy firms have to use the digital tools available to them in order to provide the levels of service that their 21st century customers demand. Whilst this survey shows that there are plenty of challenges to overcome, it's clear that there's no turning back.
A matter of trust
In our experience, a key method of smoothing the process is to engage with trusted IT partners, which is exactly how Jendev operates. By working alongside our clients over many years, we build up a level of trust that makes future technological development that much easier.
Our Jenworks utility billing software has been used by utilities for more than two decades, and in our experience it's not just the technology that matters; it's the close relationship we've developed with our clients that means we're always there to help them overcome any challenges they face.B a c k t o K n o w l e d g e