Utility organisations are facing many challenges, from Government regulation, to agile start-ups, to aging infrastructure. But in a moment of challenge, there is also opportunity.
To differentiate and adhere to strict regulations, utility companies must put their customers first in order to retain their market share. Utilising the enormous amount of data that is generated is a challenge – not least with IoT networks generating unprecedented volumes of data and information. Previously, in-house heavy computing power along with complex software solutions was the only way to make sure that data sets were effectively leveraged – but not anymore. With the rise of AI technology, many barriers to achieving deep data analytics, improve network management, and build a single customer view, have been completely removed.
AI powered automation software, which provides a pool of digital workers who can operate at machine speeds, 24/7, with no errors, brings the opportunity for a scalable resource to take on the heavy lifting of administrative tasks and leverage data sets without the need for IT infrastructure outlays. This will improve operational efficiency, while staff are freed to add value to the business rather than be bogged down in administration.
With such a wide scope of capability, it’s hard to know where to start and what the real-world potential of AI technology really is.
Connected intelligence and network management
IoT networks are transmitting a large amount of data on the health of the network. The challenge is integrating this data to take action on what the sensor is telling you. Digital workers can use AI capabilities to monitor and understand management systems, so when a sensor flags that an asset is in distress or broken, they can execute field engineer bookings, repair requests and also order any parts needed according to stock levels. Not only does this cut down on the time your network is out of action, it also means that you can respond to issues around the clock. With digital workers monitoring your systems, they can recognise flags in predictive analytics to take actions to avoid failure of assets.
Automate back office functions
One utility identified over 1000 processes across multiple departments, which were previously being conducted by 2500 full-time employees. AI digital workers are now concluding tasks comparable to 250 full-time employees’ time. Employees who no longer have to complete these repetitive tasks have been freed to focus on valuable tasks needing human skills.
Customer service centre
The volume and variety of enquiries which are received in the customer service centre means large amounts of people sifting through requests. Previously, contact centre agents were the only way of interpreting these requests but deployment of digital workers can eliminate back log and free your agents for outliers. Using AI capabilities such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Sentiment analysis, digital workers are able to triage huge volumes of requests. The overall cut in agent time can be up to 80% and the remaining requests can be actioned by agents with care, such as an elderly person that needs to be prioritised for a human touch.
As utility organisations continue to compete with each other, while nimble new entrants upset the status quo, change is inevitable. It’s certain that you must adapt to retain and delight customers, while reducing operational costs and driving productivity gains. All of this is possible with AI technology allowing you to perform and transform to do more and achieve more.