An In-Depth Interview with Ananda Goswami
The energy industry shall continue to rapidly evolve with a focus on decentralization, decarbonization and climate action. This is being accelerated by the adaptation and wide implementation of demand response programs, rooftop solar, community solar and battery storage.
That's why we sat down with SVP of VertexOne Retail, Ananda Goswami for this in-depth interview about energy industry predictions, challenges and trends.
What are the challenges facing the industry today?
Though some challenges continue to persist among reactive organizations, innovative energy suppliers must focus efforts on mitigating future roadblocks and choosing innovative, sustainable paths forward. Specifically, the Great Resignation, climate change, increase in regulation, decarbonization and data lake security are some of the biggest challenges facing the industry.
These challenges are rapidly redefining industry priorities and where capital must be deployed. The industry needs to invest in human capital and technological advancements to create a stable workforce, reduce volatility and maintain reliability.
How can energy companies cope with The Great Resignation and hire and retain during the pandemic?
The Great Resignation has created a need for reimagining the workplace and creating an engaging work atmosphere. This is applicable for an onsite, remote or hybrid work force. This is especially important with training new hires and getting nascent employees engrained in the company culture. There is a need for offering well-defined career paths for both existing and new employees.
Furthermore, building and retaining the employee talent pool by empowering employees throughout the implementation of secure platforms is more important than ever. Creating proper processes for the delegation of tasks and measurement of deliverables will go a long way in recognizing performance and cultivating a diverse leadership. Of course, balancing productivity with employee well-being, supporting working parents, and encouraging community work is equally important.
How can energy suppliers improve their bottom line?
First, energy suppliers can improve their bottom line by automating their processes and adapting new technologies.
Next, customer service teams can implement advanced CRM platforms with built-in AI capabilities to create a better response and enhance the customer experience. Energy companies can capture customer data from AMI/AMR meters and create data lakes for proper segmentation of customers. They can then leverage this data in building predictive analytics to provide meaningful and actionable data to end customers.
Then, operations can adapt Restful APIs to better integrate platforms thereby improving efficiencies and reducing costs. However, energy companies should still have to implement and balance security implications with access to data for customers to ensure ethical and sustainable practices.
Lastly, sales can segment customers better with data and bundle non-commodity products to create a stickier customer base and increase margins. Sales can use granular data to create products tailored to individual customers and proactively reach out to customers as customer behavior changes. This may include retooling of their platforms to handle complex algorithms that support these products. Furthermore, incorporating 3rd party data streams will create a more intelligent data lake that can be mined for a better sales journey. Energy companies can build our predictive analytics using this data to estimate customer behavior and then implement programs to reduce the churn.
Where do you see the industry 10 years from now?
The energy industry will continually accelerate with a focus on 3D transformation - decarbonization, digitization, and decentralization. In fact, many facets of the industry will culminate to create a new standard of innovation.
The roll out of AMI/AMR meters is an enabler for helping energy companies to better segment and understand their customer base while simultaneously helping customers achieving carbon neutrality goals. Additionally, the digitization of consumer engagement with customers now having access to data on their fingertips with the adaptation of smart home devices and automation is contributing to fundamental change in customer behavior. However, it also creates challenges for storage and security of these data lakes. We therefore see a continued investment in data lake security.
Furthermore, we see the adaptation on EV vehicles and supporting infrastructure continue to grow. This shall have a dual effect on both the residential market and the commercial market. The transportation industry is responsible for most of the overland freight movement in the United States, with the market being worth 732.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. They are expected to also undergo a rapid change with the new phase of electrification of America.
As this trend accelerates, we are going to see a shift in the profile of customers, both residential and commercial. Energy companies shall have to adapt their infrastructure, technology and risk management methodology to this new paradigm.