Hot Topics

Eventful Conferences along with SAP conducted an extensive research project with multiple utility industry ecosystem stakeholders. The project included North American customer focus groups with 60 customers and 25 utility organizations, as well as multiple one-on-one conversations. The goal, was to understand the most pressing challenges and opportunities that Utilities are facing in 2017.  The viewpoints and topics from these research groups are summarized in the hot topics below.

The 2017 SAP for Utilities conference will be built upon the topics outlined below, gathered as a result of our research. Download the full Research Report to see our comprehensive findings.

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  • Big Data

    There is no shortage of data as it pours into utility organizations from a variety of sources and connected devices in the field. With such an influx in information, utilities are looking to make sense of their data and manage it appropriately. Many utility organizations have purchased the newest in technology software & upgrades and are looking to use the data from these investments to uncover insights and strategically prepare for the future.

  • Data Governance

    The value of data is drastically marginalized without accurate and sustainable data governance policies. Utility organizations need to architect their data in a way that makes it both intuitive for users and compliant with regulatory standards. Only after data governance policies are in place and practiced by all levels of the organization can data be a reliable & strategic tool for the business.

  • Reporting & Analytics

    Utilities operate in a highly regulated environment, and must meet the reporting demands from constantly changing government regulators who demand continual improvement in business performance, outcomes, environmental benchmarks, and safety concerns.  Working in an environment of big data that only continues to expand creates high demand on analytical and reporting requirements. How can utilities take advantage of their systems to create more automated reporting and consumable analytics for all members of the organization?

  • Modernizing the Grid – Distributive Energy & Renewables

    The management of the grid becomes even more complicated and challenging as renewables continue to invade the marketplace. As quickly as Uber disrupted the transportation industry, new players in the utility space pose as both an opportunity and a threat.

  • Regulatory Landscape

    Regulators on both a national and state level create a true challenge for utility organizations. Utility organizations are often forced to comply with laws that are outdated and do not consider current market challenges.

  • Cyber Security

    As the technology world continues to evolve, one thing remains the same that the safety of your employees and customers remains top of mind. As part of the digital transformation, cyber security has emerged as one of the critical challenges facing utility organizations. Within a matter of seconds a breach in security can undermine the safety of your operations and infrastructure. Financial risks and exposure resulting from your data and information falling into the wrong hands can be ultimately shut down your business.

  • Internet of Things

    IoT is allowing organizations to connect their assets, machines, mobile workers and operational processes across multiple rapidly advancing platforms and create highly actionable data. Organizations are no longer able to separate information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT)—it’s converging as The Internet of Things continues to connect it all in the cloud

  • Aligning Business Processes with Technology Investments

    The success of a new technology is based on the business processes aligning with the advancements and upgrades the new investment offers. Forcing the new technology to match what the organization has always been doing will not reap little to no benefit for the business. Creating proper buy-in across both IT & business groups and developing new methodologies is crucial for success.

  • Change Management

    The utility industry has been constantly faced with overcoming change management. Challenged with an aging workforce and limited talent pool, resource allocation is a huge factor in new projects and change throughout the organization. In addition, the changing industry landscape leads to evolving ways of doing business. Creating buy-in from all areas of the organization and assigning ownership to one group creates a utility that is prepared for successful growth. Best practices for on-boarding, adopting and ensuring the continued ‘success of change’ are desperately needed.

  • Customer Billing

    Customer expectations continue to increase and utility organizations struggle to deliver the same customer experience as Amazon, Netflix or Google. Customers want more control of their billing rates and are asking for their usage data. As consumers continue to play a more active role in the market, utility organizations must be prepared for changing customer expectations and requests.

  • Consistent Customer Experience

    Utility organizations are focused on creating the ultimate customer experience across all platforms and touchpoints to satisfy and retain their customers. Messaging and information must be brand consistent on the website, social media and mobile devices. Most importantly, customers are seeking a seamless mobile experience from bill payment to alerts and notifications.

  • Predictive Maintenance

    Leveraging data, predictive maintenance combines condition-based monitoring and predictive analytics to help determine the condition of assets to predict when maintenance should be performed. This approach promises cost savings over routine or time-based preventive maintenance, because tasks are performed only when indicated.

  • GIS, Geo-Mapping & Linear Asset Management

    GIS offers opportunities to streamline asset management business processes through visualizing, sharing, analyzing, and monitoring asset data in ways that would not be possible with strictly numerical data. GIS, when applied to asset maintenance, can simplify data sharing, improve data access, support proactive asset management, inform decision-making, facilitate outreach, help project designs, and provide an interface for managing assets in the field.

  • MRO & Spare Parts

    Preventive and routine maintenance particularly for utilities rely on the proper management of spare parts to complete their work. Often challenged to keep inventory low, MRO & Spare Parts management becomes a balancing act of competing priorities.

  • Sourcing & Procurement

    Sourcing and procurement is ripe for digital disruption. Innovations are completely transforming capabilities for the utility industry. However, not all organizations are ready to make the switch and still have a multitude of unanswered questions.


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