‘Utilities need to be able to rapidly react to changing requirements’


Hermann Wimmer,
EMEA President,
Teradata Corporation
Interview with Hermann Wimmer, EMEA President, Teradata Corporation.

Utility companies have to handle an increasing amount of data, but many have yet to understand how to manage the data efficiently. Why is the utilities sector struggling and how can their data be managed more effectively?

The utilities sector does not currently have the internal expertise, or systems to fully manage and exploit the increasing amounts of data created by their business and customers. In fact, managing and exploiting the data created by business operations, customer relationships and of course smart meter/grid initiatives is one of the biggest challenges they face.

To manage the wealth of high quality information potentially available, utilities have to successfully navigate industry transformations driven by their data. A scalable and comprehensive data management system needs to be put in place to ensure that data is truly available for analysis and exploitation.

How can utility companies use the increasing amount of data to their advantage?

If a utility is provided with a robust, integrated and extensible data management foundation that works with all smart platforms, they can certainly do more with their data.

Over time, the utilities sector can gain a detailed understanding of customer demand. This can lead to better settlement deals along the value chain; a better understanding of the profitability of individual customers; opportunities to deliver better customer service; a key enabler to manage an active distribution network; and many other benefits.

Utilities need to be able to rapidly react to changing requirements and enhance efficiencies and profits in the long term. If they can manage their data successfully, these challenges become simple to manage and easier to overcome.  

When will utilities see the real benefits of using smart meters and analyzing this data?

Utilities have only recently started appreciating the potential value locked up in their data. The first wave of smart meter use is often seeing the new data created being used in isolation from other business data – for example other, existing customer data. However, the real value of smart metering will come when the data created is integrated with enterprise data. If silos are combined, utilities gain a very powerful source of analytical insight. Partners that enable this transformation will be a huge benefit to forward-thinking utilities.

Why would a smart meter manufacturer want to partner with a data warehouse provider, and what business benefits would it gain?

Most smart meter businesses have recently extended their business model to include meter data management capabilities. If a smart meter/MDM business was to partner with a data warehouse provider, they would be able to vastly extend the capabilities and the reach into the enterprise of their data management systems – and thereby enhance the value they provide to their customers.

However, it is vital that if a smart meter manufacturer is to partner with a data warehouse supplier, they ensure it is a business that can provide a data platform flexible and experienced enough to adapt to a customer’s local situation, such as local energy industry and regulatory environments.  

Where do you see the utilities market in the near future?

With the advent of smart grids, business intelligence and data analysis, the boundaries of knowledge are higher than ever before. Providing utility companies use a flexible data platform, they will be able to count on their data intensive environments for answers to previously impossible business questions. It is a very exciting future for the utilities that do more with their data.

Teradata Corporation, the world’s largest company focused on big data analytics and data warehousing, will present its solutions for managing utility data during the upcoming Metering Billing, CRM Europe.