5 ways utilities can exploit the cloud

We are live at CS Week in Fort Worth today, and our utility-filled Synergy meeting is bubbling over with juicy tidbits. We’ve made a lot of lists—of lessons learned and problems to avoid and topics into which we all need to grab a spade and dig a little deeper.

And even though we’re here to talk about the customer—CS Week is short for Customer Service Week, after all—the more we want to offer the customer, the more tech, platforms, partnerships and software we’ll need.

Highest on that “we totally need it” list is the cloud. From our roundtable discussions with utilities in this closed-door session, here are our best “you just had to be there” secrets.

1. Regulators are on the verge of letting you do cool cloud stuff.

In our last survey, nearly 70 percent of regulators in North America have or plan to have committees focused on the role of cloud technologies for utilities—and they’re talking about letting you put it under capital expenses. (Yes, really.)

2. Did you know you can outsource the complex and the scary with cloud?

Staying up with the changing market in the utilities biz, which is going to go faster and faster, means you need to give the responsibility for keeping up to a vendor. Don’t take on the adaptability problem yourself. Outsource it.

3. Mull this: Browser-based concepts like cloud means you’re totally mobile.

Yep, it's about to be just like buying movie tickets or depositing checks via an app. Everyone’s going mobile these days. Take your data, services, sources and details with you anywhere. And don’t fear the rural. Things your field people are working on offline can be synched later, too.

4. But you don’t have to go whole hog with the cloud right now.

We realize utilities are in a lot of different places in their journey to the cloud. Don’t feel like you have to jump right into to a full cloud adoption right now. Perhaps you want a hybrid option. That’s available. You can, in fact, baby step your way to the cloud.

5. Look for a cloud package rather than buying options piecemeal.

Vendors are looking more at standard interfaces and the blending of options and best practices to pull together smarter, more complete options to help utilities get the most value—the most cloud bang for your hard-earned buck. So, if your budget is smaller than you think you need when you price out each program, circle back with a request for a bundle.


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