Bart Thielbar, head of Capgemini’s utilities practice, recently wrote an article for Energy Central magazine on how technology and regulations are finally catching up with our long-held aspirations for how analytics can help improve service for utility customers.

In the piece, Bart argues that we need a “consumer-empowered, energy conserving, asset-optimizing, automated and self-healing transmission and distribution system that is more secure from, and responsive to, natural and man-made events and one that more easily assimilates electricity that has been generated from multiple and distributed sources, including renewable sources.”

Around the globe, Capgemini helps utilities achieve the art of the possible. While there are many different routes to reach this desired end state, there are common questions about our practice that we often get from current and potential clients. In response, I share here a few insights about our firm and capabilities. I’ll soon share additional thoughts in a follow-up blog.

1.It’s Nearly 50 Years Old

Capgemini has been working in data science and its antecedents since the company’s founding in 1967. Capgemini launched its Global Insights & Data Practice in May 2015 as a worldwide service line to meet the increasing and accelerating needs of our customers who are seeking to obtain the massive business value available to them via data science, big data and analytics capabilities.

The core of Capgemini’s data science approach is the ability to abstract models of real-life problems that are intuitive to use, yet sufficiently realistic to support robust decision-making. Using a combination of the latest data science techniques and big data technology, we are able to provide insights into all aspects of business operations. Capgemini’s focus in data science is business outcomes-oriented, focused on the value data can bring to a company, and aligned with business strategy and/or business operations performance.

2. Releases Thought-provoking Studies and Reports

Our diverse client work and thought-provoking thought leadership gives Capgemini a pulse on the current state of the market, what the future holds, how utilities should respond and where data fits into that strategy.

Utilities are using data science in most, if not all, areas of their business from HR, finance, legal, customer service, field service and electric network operations. Utilities have been doing data science for a very long time, particularly in technical areas including management of assets – transformers, capacitors, switch gear, etc. – and in electric operations including network monitoring and system balancing.

With the wide-scale deployment of advanced metering and smart grid technologies, it is commonplace for utilities to be using data science and analytics to enable energy efficiency and conservation programs, outage management and improved customer service.

A recent study from Capgemini Consulting found that utilities have not met their customers’ digital expectations. For example, only 32 percent of customer opinions on the mobile apps offered by utilities are favorable. By harnessing data from smart meters, utilities can “segment customers more accurately and offer a range of customized energy management services.”

Now, leading utilities around the world are operationalizing and industrializing data science, and analytics and adjusting their business strategies based on heretofore difficult to obtain insights and predictive views into the future. It’s no surprise then that analytics was highlighted as the trend with the most impact over the next five years in a Capgemini/IDC Energy Insights survey of executives from top utilities.

Predictive analytics and the data science that underpins them are enabling some very powerful and exciting business capabilities including 360 degree views of the customer, electricity service personalization, theft and fraud detection, integration of renewables, field services that are responsive to changing weather patterns, and other new pervasive grid operating paradigms such as distributed energy resources and storage.

(About the author: Ethan L. Cohen is a principal at Capgemini. This post originally appeared on his Capgemini blog, which can be viewed here)

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