Top 5 Digital Trends for Energy & Utilities in 2019

As we kick off 2019, there are several trends leading the way across the energy and utilities sectors. With a big focus on gaining efficiencies, operational cost savings, and continuous improvement, energy organizations are leveraging technology to transform the value they deliver to their organization, supply chain, and customers.

Trend #1: New Opportunities with Digital Innovation

According to Gartner, digital is the top priority for utility CIOs in 2019. Furthermore, Gartner shares that the rapid growth of digital ambitions are changing how oil and gas organizations operate. It is clear that across the energy value chain, the focus on digital is presenting new opportunities and challenges.

The digital world is faster, smarter, and more connected. To adapt to the new pace of change, energy and utilities organizations are embracing cutting-edge digital technologies to transform the way they operate, serve customers, and interact with partners across the supply chain.

Going digital may mean automating cumbersome paper processes, delivering mobile applications to increase field worker productivity, finding new ways of communicating with ecosystem partners, or improving stakeholder visibility across projects and assets. Whatever digital means to your organization, this is definitely an area to focus on in 2019.

Trend #2: The Value of Intelligent Automation

Organizations can now automate more kinds of work than ever before. With the evolution of robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning—coupled with process automation—the opportunities to apply Intelligent Automation (IA) across the business are exponential.

Energy organizations are incorporating robotic process automation (RPA) to automate repetitive, labor intensive and high-volume processes to see new levels of efficiency and quality. From supply chain to finance to compliance processes, freeing up employees to focus on value add work and customer-facing interactions is driving new efficiencies and cost savings.

In fact, automation is saving organizations 20-40% and according to McKinsey, 45 percent of work activities can be automated using technology available today. This all said, revisiting your automation strategy is a must for 2019.

Trend # 3: Possibilities with the Internet of Things (IoT)

According to Forrester, 85 percent of organizations will implement or plan to implement IoT in 2019.

Energy organizations have the opportunity to improve decisioning and safety by better leveraging IoT data produced by networks, sensors, and assets—all while having better coordinated control over operations.

The key is connecting the field to the business. Applications delivered should be able to easily integrate IoT by extending existing process control systems, aggregate sensor systems, and other critical data. Organizations can then kick off business processes, respond to sensor events, or push out active notifications—including triggering warning lights, sirens, valve shut-off, or closing security gates—to respond faster, communicate better, and reduce risk.

From leveraging the terabytes of data generated daily at a single drilling rig to driving energy grid innovation and smart home advancements, exploring the possibilities of IoT is a must for 2019.

Trend #4: Low-Code Means Faster Time to Value

With changing demands and competitive pressures, there is a need to deliver new, modern applications across the field and business, faster. That’s where low-code solutions come in.

There is no more waiting around for months and years of IT development cycles. Visual, drag-and-drop development makes building and changing applications fast and easy. Organizations can deploy enterprise-grade applications in just 8 weeks with the speed, flexibility, and power to meet today’s demands and tomorrow’s challenges.

Whether its improving operations, adhering to regulations, or transforming how customer service is delivered, low-code platforms are changing the game for energy organizations.

Trend #5: Improving Customer Experience with Intelligent Contact Centers

Transforming customer experience is critical for utilities. As consumers and organizations have more choices available to reduce their reliance on traditional energy suppliers, improving how customer service is delivered to retain customers and market share is critical.

Too often though, manual processes and disconnected systems present significant barriers to delivering a seamless experience—frustrating agents and customers.

Utilities are now turning to innovative platforms that support agents with a 360 degree view of customers, embedded knowledge management, and AI-assisted interactions—so they can resolve inquiries the first time and deliver the best experience for customers.

Whether it’s customer billing, provisioning, outage response, or field service inquiries, utilities are transforming the way they deliver customer service in 2019—and opening up opportunities to offer new energy products and services to customers.

Realize Your Digital Potential

This is just a sampling of the key digital technology trends to focus on in 2019. As you look to incorporate these into your strategy, Appian is here to partner with you.

Read this eBook for examples on four areas energy organizations are scaling their digital initiatives today across Asset Management, Incident Management, Field Service Management, and Customer Engagement.

To learn more on how Appian is helping energy organizations to realize their digital potential and achieve impressive results, visit appian.com/energy.

Jenna Harvey
Industry Marketing Manager

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