For banks and financial institutions managing data is almost second nature, enabling concrete decisions to be taken on the basis of anything from a single credit report to corporate investment records. The same is true for telco and utilities firms who might instead be looking at even larger datasets such as the detailed tracking of electrical and natural gas consumption on hourly basis.
We start talking about Big Data, however, when these internal data channels become integral to new processes and products, perhaps involving external data sources, such as website scraping, social media or other public data. Over the last few years there has been a growing interest in how the likes of Amazon, Google et al leverage these vast seas of information and insight to the advantage of their core business.
What to do with this all new data?
While there are a great deal of systems available to gather this new data, the bigger question remains what to do with it once you have it. Those (by no means minor) issues of data security and privacy aside, we can be certain that data in itself or efficient data management are not the business case here. Especially when we move into the world of predictive and prescriptive analytics, the critical outcome remains the actionable knowledge that can be extracted from that data.
We believe that once the hype has died down we will start to see more compelling usage case scenarios evolve and these are what energy & utilities companies should be looking for right now. In our article we propose some concrete steps to start doing exactly that, which means innovating processes in areas such as:
- Marketing & Sales Analytics
- Credit & Fraud Analytics
- Corporate Function Analytics.
Marketing & Sales Analytics
The goals to start out with here might be related to building better customer relationships or reducing churn. To achieve this one needs to go beyond simply analyzing customer behavior and, instead, move towards a more sophisticated omnichannel management.
Credit & Fraud Analytics
In Credit & Fraud analysis, Big Data is an opportunity to systematically gain a wider set of information, perhaps from social media or other sources, which could improve decision making and credit management policies. There are countless strategies to adopt though all of them start with concrete goals in mind such as, for example, enabling more effective fraud protection.
Corporate Function Analytics
Sadly overlooked as innovation drivers, corporate functions instead can be excellent deliverers of value for the organization as a whole. With their daily bread being the core industry processes they have the potential to deliver massive benefits to each area of the company. Think monitoring employee satisfaction, understanding a priori when someone might leave the firm, or enabling IT departments to reduce hacking risks.
How to put it into practice?
For energy and utilities players, the bottom line is that, above all, the “old” way of dealing with data is not enough anymore. Tip number one, therefore, is get ready. Secondly, it doesn’t make sense to try to emulate Google, by contrast separating the quick wins from the longer-term goals, looking at getting actionable results from analyses is key. Finally, don’t get bogged down in the data swamp.