All utility providers want to spend money more effectively, implement measures to improve efficiency, and introduce technologies to minimize downtime, all while creating a better customer experience that drives customer satisfaction.
That’s why many utility providers are increasing their investment into cloud-based technologies.
According to a survey from Oracle, a large majority (71 percent) of utilities now use cloud software - up from just 45 percent three years ago.
An increasing number of utility providers are embracing cloud computing due to the wide range of benefits they can bring. Before we get into those, however, let’s first take a look at what cloud computing actually is.
What is cloud-based computing?
Cloud computing refers to the use of computing services - such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software analytics and other computer software - that are delivered through an internet network as opposed to physical hardware or software.
The word “cloud” is used as a metaphor for the internet. That’s because cloud computing is an on-demand service that is delivered, stored and accessed entirely through the internet. Cloud services are typically used on an as-needed or pay-per-use business model, and can be easily scaled depending on the user’s specific needs.
By using cloud services you will be moving data outside of your organization’s firewall. Cloud computing data will be processed and stored securely by remote servers. By not saving data directly on to your utility’s physical devices, you will create more efficient and reliable operational processes while also ensuring your data is protected by an outsourced expert.
Why are utility providers transitioning to cloud-based technologies?
There are a number of reasons why businesses in all industries are benefiting from cloud-based technologies, such as the ability to easily scale up or down, faster software performance, improved security measures from cloud providers, and the removal of expensive hardware maintenance fees.
SilverBlaze has listed the top four reasons why utility providers are rapidly moving to cloud-based technologies here:
1 - The need to offer an improved customer experience
Based on experiences in other sectors, customers demands and expectations have evolved significantly in the past few years. Improvements in customer-facing technologies across other industries mean that utility customers now expect improved ways to engage with their utility, whether that be paying their bills online, receiving outage updates in real-time or having accurate access to their utility usage.
That’s why innovative customer-facing utility technologies, such as the award-winning SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities, have revolutionized the way utilities provide positive experiences for their customers.
2 - Saving money
Now more than ever, utility providers have to invest an increased amount of capital into the customer experience. Hosting, maintaining and managing these technologies in house can be incredibly expensive.
In fact, according to Gartner, energy providers invest up to 56 percent of their total IT budget in infrastructure and hosting. However, a study from Accenture has found that moving to the cloud can help cut these costs significantly. The report claims that a utilities’ average annual expenditure on IT infrastructure is approximately $624 million, but moving to the cloud could potentially help utilities save costs between $70million and $168 million.
3 - Improve data security
In a recent blog, ‘How Utility Providers Can Secure Themselves From Cybercrime’, we looked at how damaging cybercrime can be for utility providers. In fact, a study from Accenture found that companies in the utilities industry have the highest cost of cybercrime out of all sectors, with a 16 percent increase from the previous year in the average annual cost.
Thankfully, the cloud is a great place to protect your utility from hackers, infection, internal data theft and ransomware. That’s because cloud providers use a wide range of security measures - such as encryption, authentication, access control and firewall technology - to ensure your company’s data is secure.
4 - The cloud fuels innovation
If you are worried that your business is falling behind other firms in the utility sector or customer-facing industries in general, cloud-based technologies will help you get back on track. With low start-up cost and small monthly expenditures, the cloud represents the perfect opportunity for your company to test out innovative new technologies at little risk to your bottom line.
Do you want more information about how cloud-based computing will benefit your utility? Contact SilverBlaze today. Our team of customer experience experts would be more than happy to answer any questions you have.