Driven by climate goals, the utility industry is in the midst of an imminent transition to cleaner and cheaper new energy. Utility consumers will play key role in this shift as they invest in electric cars and in distributed green energy resources. Consumers need utility companies to provide robust self-service platforms and innovative products to ease the shift. For utility companies, this move is driving cloud adoption to enable improved customer experiences and the agility to support new products. According to a recent Wipro FullStride Cloud Services report, nearly 50% of utility applications will run on the cloud by 2023. Utility companies will need to renew/refresh their customer engagement and billing platforms to support superior customer experiences, and they must increasingly leverage cloud to provide innovative and evolving energy products.
The Challenges to Updating Core Platforms
In the energy industry, customer management and billing platforms are considered core to the retail energy business. These systems have traditionally been complex and expensive to maintain, so systems with huge budget outlays and high cycle times to build and maintain became the norm. Today, however, enhancing these systems to support digital customer journeys and the integration of new products and services is proving to be expensive, complex and time consuming.
New cloud-native or “born-on-cloud” solutions for customer management, billing and other functions are becoming the solution of choice to deliver big improvements, fast. Cloud-native solutions improve customer experience and service, and they enable utilities to rapidly integrate products and services that deliver clean energy. These solutions provide scalability and speed to market. Leading utility companies, including those with a customer base of 20 million, are advancing their transformation goals through born-on-cloud platforms.
Extra Benefits from Cloud Adoption
In a recent Gartner report, by year-end 2026, 30% of Tier 1 utilities will be using a new-age digital ecosystem. Cloud adoption will reposition their IT applications from “built to last” to “built for change.” Accordingly, utilities should leverage their cloud transformation as an opportunity to position their brand as a digital energy company.
The cloud can deliver more innovation opportunities, such as smart meters that provide an in-depth view of consumption patterns. Distributed generation is creating small, intelligent (supported by IoT, AI/ML) agile networks that can respond to ever-changing demands. And embedded analytics-based insights and automation capabilities reduce the cost to serve and accelerate deployment and installation times.
In the journey ahead, utilities can leverage the power of born-on-cloud platforms and digital technologies to create new paradigms – and not just for managing customers and improving their financial scorecards. These platforms can change the brand identity. By becoming customer-focused and agile in product innovation, utility companies can recreate their role in the green-energy transition.
Quick Transformations Using Born on Cloud Solutions
The utility industry is beginning to migrate core systems to the cloud. Born-on-cloud solutions provide a good alternative to the time and expense required for updating traditional core systems. These cloud-native solutions transform retail processes by providing richer, personalized self-service experiences with greater control, and omnichannel services that are segment- and customer persona-sensitive. Many solutions also have the scalability to support emerging capabilities like EV, peer-to-peer energy trading and home energy optimization. As the utility industry makes the move to the cloud, born-on-cloud solutions can be highly transformative.