Data analytics – 10 emerging findings by EPRI

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The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has reported in its latest ICT newsletter some emerging insights from the ongoing “Big Data immersions” with the sponsors of its big data-related transmission modernization and distribution modernization demos.

The top ten emerging findings are:

  1. There continues to be an underlying concern that there is more data being collected than there is value derived from that data.
  2. Integration of disparate data sets and getting data out of silos is a major undertaking that has not been well resolved by the industry just yet.
  3. Many of the data analytics efforts outside of smart meters are at the pilot stage and not fully deployed – the majority of the value to date is centered on AMI data.
  4. Some utilities are making a concerted effort to reinvent the role and integration of their IT groups – some have brought in IT management with experience in the banking and data center industries where “big secure data” and “streaming analytics” is not a new concept.
  5. There continue to be hurdles with getting the analytics area funded – this is a twofold issue, first because many analytics projects and efforts to date involve point solutions for point problems, and secondly because of staffing and budget constraints.
  6. Many utilities purport their programs and analytics capabilities to be much further along than they really are – a lot of the analytics are in the pilot demo stages.
  7. Some utilities are successfully implementing secure cloud solutions for data cost management, although these are point solutions and don’t yet traverse the enterprise.
  8. Many utilities are grappling with the questions around ownership of analytics and applications – most believe this ownership should be across business units and not residing in IT, while IT should own and maintain the platforms, tools, security, etc.
  9. Many believe that data governance should be a corporate function and not an IT function so that any point solutions can ultimately get mapped to the corporate smart grid business plans and feed/support the longer range vision.
  10. At the end of the day, every data set and every data analytics project must stand on its own based on the value it brings to the enterprise.

The DMD and TMD projects are 5-year R&D projects focused on data analytics and management for transmission and distribution operations, planning and asset management.

In the current phase the focus is on identifying data-oriented applications and kernels of knowledge that are useful and insightful, establishing a baseline for analytics preparedness, and identifying best practices for managing data as an asset. The next phase will comprise data-related demonstrations.