Energy providers do not escape what seems to be a golden rule of economic evolution. They all enter into the age of digitization. If this movement becomes obvious, it adresses a more complex reality than it seems.
The first dimension of this digitization is that of the customer’s interface. All the energy companies approach it in the first stage. It is simple to understand and therefore gives the illusion of being easy to implement. However, it contains all the traditional traps observed in other industries.
It consists in developing a new relationship with customers, thanks to web technologies:
- A web portal
- A customer’s area in which the customers find the data concerning them, manage their account and their subscription, possibly interact with their utility.
- Dematerialized processes such as management of removals / removals, electronic invoices
- Possibly newsletters and other information.
The second step is the digitization of the energy systems themselves, which consists in transforming these systems into providers of energy data on behalf of multiple actors, the consumer being one beneficiary among others. This second step is generally less well controlled than the previous one; it is often reduced to the deployment of smart meters (gas, heat or electricity) from which very little value is drawn.
The challenges of economic performance and value created for customers are very important, but few energy providers are efficiently organized to face it and have a clear vision of their strategy in this area, highlighting the links between the various stages of digitalization.
The third step is the digitization of the monitoring and management of energy flows. Between the production, consumption and storage units of the various energies develop increasingly complex flows. Valuing and optimizing these flows becomes a major challenge that requires “coordinated” operations of the various actors involved. These operations can only be global and digital.
Even fewer are the energy companies who, even if only through a pilot project, approached this level.
The economic players are convinced: it is impossible to resist the digitization of the world of energy. It is now necessary for this belief to encompass the three levels mentioned above at the risk of suffering rapidly from the consequences of a vision that is too limited.
And you ? At what level are you?