The benefits of automating data processing in the utilities sector

By Sebastian Schrøder

The challenge with data processing in utilities

Utilities that deliver water, power and gas to households hold large amounts of data regarding their customers’ consumption, addresses, billing information and other related data. Effective and compliant data processing is critical to monitor usage, identify inefficiencies, ensure regulatory compliance and detect faults or leaks in the system. This is crucial to ensure that the right amount of money is collected from the right customer. However, the process is often complicated due to issues such as incorrect or complex ownership information and legal matters. If they charge the wrong customer the wrong amount, utilities risk ending up in long and expensive case-handling processes. Moreover, utilities are subject to strict regulations that dictate how they collect, use and store customer data.

As a result, utilities are faced with the challenge of managing extensive data sets that are stored across multiple systems, leading to difficulties in maintaining an overview and ensuring transparency. Furthermore, data processing in the utilities sector is predominantly carried out manually by humans, which is not only a repetitive and tedious task but also an expensive one that can often lead to errors.

The advantages of automating data processes in utilities

As the vast majority of the data processing tasks in utilities are rule-based, they can easily be automated. Automation is a powerful tool that can help companies to streamline their operations, reduce costs and improve the quality of their work. By automating repetitive tasks, organisations can free up their human resources to focus on more strategic and high-value work. This means that employees can spend less time on mundane tasks and more time on matters that create value for the employee and for the company.

The benefits of automating data processing in utilities include:

  • Increased employee satisfaction – Robots are not here to take your job, they are here to improve it. The automation of standardised processes means more human resources can be freed up to do higher-value work. Employees’ work changes from being repetitive to being more strategic and decision making-led.
  • Technology is available 24/7 – Unlike humans, robots aren’t restricted to set working hours, and no matter how repetitive and tedious the task, they don’t get bored with it. They will work on data processes all night, ensuring that when you arrive at work in the morning, only the complex and exciting tasks are left on your desk.
  • Less cost, more accuracy – Human resources are far more costly than an automated solution, which can help soothe those organisations put off by the expense of automation solutions. As automation is standardised and rule-based, it will improve the accuracy of the data, resulting in fewer mistakes
  • Data compliance and searchability – Automated processes can help utilities comply with regulatory requirements, such as data privacy and security regulations. It will also in most cases help companies structure their data, making it easier to perform searches and find dependencies.
  • Improved customer service – Automation can provide utilities with real-time data insights, enabling them to identify and address customer issues quickly, resulting in better customer service and ultimately saving both the company and the customers a lot of extra work

Our automation solutions

Valcon has a proven track record of helping utilities digitalise and automate their data foundation through business applications ranging from organising data for one point of data entry to building entire systems that help you navigate through multiple screens to perform various tasks. For instance, we worked with a Danish energy provider to optimise core processes, freeing up resources for scaling commercial operations. By automating data into one system using Appian, we were able to identify over 40 initiatives to improve efficiency and potentially save up to 50% of their time. In a similar project, we helped another energy company reduce costs and become more efficient by digitising and automating 80% of their case-handling processes.

The common denominators of our automation solutions include the following:

  • Our solutions are tailored to the specific needs of each customer – We always begin by conducting a thorough analysis to identify areas of improvement and determine the most cost-effective and reliable way to automate processes.
  • There is no limit to where our solutions can be implemented – Our solutions can be used in any department or area that works with data, such as customer service, sales and finance.
  • We design our solutions for self-sufficiency – We do not sell a solution that requires us to come in every other week and make adjustments. Therefore, we offer training for self-sufficiency in low-code solutions that we have helped develop and implement for our clients.
  • Our solutions are quickly developed and easily adjusted – We deliver solutions that can be quickly developed and adjusted to meet the evolving needs of our clients.
  • We assess the tools available to us – We take into account the tools that the client already has to reduce costs, and we offer solutions that can be seamlessly integrated with them.

Our preferred platforms are Microsoft Power Platform, Appian and Mendix, and we have certified personnel who are skilled in using these platforms. Read more about our offered services within technology and data, or reach out to learn more about how we can help your company automate your data processes.

Want to learn more? If you would like to learn more, please email [email protected] and we’ll be in touch right away.