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Closing the gap: What an As-a-Service approach can do for utilities

Thomas Lenze
By Thomas Lenze - 15-Oct-2020 10:29:27

AdobeStock_132386487-1A key challenge in the digitization of the energy industry is to build and manage intelligent infrastructures that are flexible, efficient, and secure. This, however, changes the way and the scope of a utility’s work: the deployment, operation, and development of a smart metering system with devices, communication, software, and possible additional applications might be opening up gaps when it comes to time, resources and skills. This is where an As-a-Service approach comes into play.

Why consider a service?

New technologies, new customer needs and the availability of data have created a whole new world of services. Terms like Software as a Service, Managed Services, or Cloud Services have long left the IT sphere and are becoming more and more relevant also for players in the energy industry. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Services give peace of mind! Security topics or reliable data delivery are covered and taken care of.
  • Technology is changing at a rapid speed. Services ensure that you are not stuck with outdated equipment, but that technology is always up to date and the necessary expertise to run it available.
  • With Services come predictable and transparent costs to support robust financial planning for today and in the future.
  • Services provide flexibility to react to changing requirements.
  • The digitization of the energy market creates challenges and opportunities. Services help to conquer the first and leverage the second.

How do I know if and where I need a service?

A utility is key player in a critical infrastructure, their responsibility: Ensuring security of energy supply. This includes a long list of tasks, such as building, maintaining, and developing the network, billing, load and flexibility management or customer service. The deployment and operation of a smart metering infrastructure – especially in countries with a first wave rollout – adds a completely new range of additional things to take care of. Especially in the areas of metering and IT processes, the areas of responsibilities further expand.

The meter reading processes change and come with tasks around meter data management, reporting, system state testing, device administration and configuration. To set up the IT infrastructure to run a Smart Metering system​, the necessary hardware, server and data-base capacities​ need to be provided, monitored, and maintained. Patches, upgrades, automated backups and data and disaster recovery and communications and network security come on top.

Depending on the circumstances and the set up of a utility regarding size, resources or skill set, different types of services maybe required. Therefore, we organized our service portfolio along the utility value chain.

Managed Services_EN

Depending on where support is needed, a respective service offering is available to close gaps and help to leverage existing resources.

How do services improve my business?

At Landis+Gyr, we have been in the service business for over a decade. We have worked with over 30 managed metering reading service customers with different SLA levels in the EMEA region, each of them tailor-made and individually defined.

Click here for our blog on how to define Service Level Agreements.

The positive impact of services is seen in various areas. Take a Softwas as a Service (SaaS) solution, for example. Here we have witnessed a minimum of 15% higher availability due to remote in-time system maintenance and updates. Also, customers have saved up to 20% in their operational environment due to an obsolete need on the required IT infrastructure, such as for servers, licenses, maintenance, or training. When it comes to productivity and efficiency, we have even seen improvements by up to 25% because internal processes have become smoother and quicker while expert resources have been freed up to now work on other tasks.

Last, but not least, with a service approach a whole new level of flexibility becomes possible. It is a lot easier to react to evolving environments and with that, to ensure that a utility’s infrastructure remains safe, reliable and state-of-the-art.

We have undertaken research to understand the value of Managed Services for our utility customers. The results provide key insights into the expectations, benefits and, last but not least, how to select the right partner.

White Paper Series

The detailed results of interviews done with customers in North America and the Nordics are available in a series of White Papers. Find out more here.

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