We argue that utilities who fail to proactively embrace and invest in taking advantage of new data related technology but instead continue to operate their infrastructure with legacy methods will risk increased competition from both existing and new market participants. These new players treat data as core to their business. Utilities that continue a trajectory of investing in and maintaining outdated technology will lag and may risk acquisition or worse. Those who successfully reconstruct themselves as data-driven next-generation utilities will have a bright future.
Almost every industry is today being transformed and sometimes reimagined by an emphasis on data. Three trends have made this possible:
- The development of new flexible economics of on-demand cloud compute and storage infrastructure,
- The proliferation of new consumer devices and IoT devices, and
- Advances in and the commoditization of access to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms.
Companies in all industries must, to remain competitive, develop strategies to keep up and also seize opportunities to build lasting data-driven competitive advantages. We believe that strategic thinking about data-driven opportunities and a willingness to make smart investments can have compelling ROI, both in the near-term, because there is often low-hanging fruit, and in the long-term, because data initiatives often derive a cumulative value that compounds with more data over time.