Data is at the core of a modern utility, highly sought and meticulously gathered—and then left to sit in silos, misunderstood and underutilized. Utilities must find a way to break down those data silos if they are to build the complete picture of their business—but how?

This report discusses the results of a recent ABB-Zpryme survey of 150 North American utility executives, focusing on how data—and its critical role in generating the total picture of physical assets—can positively impact key areas across a utility such as:

  • Asset health management
  • Distributed energy resource management
  • Cybersecurity
  • Customer engagement

Key findings from the report include:

  • Operational excellence, customer satisfaction, and financial performance top the list of drivers for utili­ties to invest in data analytics
  • Over two-thirds of respondents said IT integration is the most common challenge with data analytics, even before budget constraints
  • AMI meters are the most frequently-mentioned contributors of data, but half of respondents also collect distribution sensor, asset, and substation IED data
  • 28% of respondents expect their largest return on investments to come from emerging areas such as renewable power, energy storage, and microgrids
  • Outage management was listed as a top area for investment in the next five years by more than 40% of utilities
  • Social media opportunities for customer engage­ment include: general customer notifications (68%), and energy information and education (63%)

According to Rick Nicholson, Senior Vice President, Product Management and Marketing, ABB, “These survey results validate what we have been hearing from our customers and give us confidence in our product strategies around Connected Asset Lifecycle ManagementTM. Utilities must leverage the value of the data they collect through integration and advanced analytics to empower decision making in support of their business objectives.”