Data is a key resource for utilities. It’s compared to crude oil, it’s extracted, cleaned-up, and processed. Few utilities are taking action to make effective use of the data they have at their disposal. Data quality is often problematic with myriad spatial and temporal issues present. Correct and accurate information is necessary for proper decision making.
Modern utilities understand the importance of big data and are implementing ways to plan for a digital future. Data is being used to create “digital twins”, digital representations of the physical infrastructure that allow for better analysis and modeling.
To harness the power of data, utilities need to consider:
- Data diversity
- Data access
- Data quality
- Data governance
Data Diversity and How It Unlocks Data Value
For every utility, a wide variety of data sources exist. Those data sources can include billing systems, customer information systems, asset management systems, and geographic information systems (GIS).
“Strong data governance ensures that the right information, of the right quality, is available to the right person, for the right purpose, at the right time.”Evan Rawstron, Partner, Global Lead, KPMG
To extract full value out of the data, a powerful and versatile application is essential. That application should use the combined data set that is pulled together from all available data sources. Diversity and intact contextual relationships are key. The sooner utilities realize the added value that comes from intertwined data, the sooner they can prepare for the challenges of a disrupted utility industry. It is important to build a high integrity database that has consistent datasets. Implementing this approach to data will help unlock grid efficiency and improve utilities’ operations. A bridge must be built to connect an ancient system to modern complex technologies.
Awesense understands the potential of combined data source synergy. The True Grid Intelligence (TGI) platform takes advantage of this. TGI processes and aggregates all available datasets to achieve better actionable decision making.
Cross-Functional Data Access for Utilities
To conduct powerful data analysis, accurate access to data is critical. One of the biggest problems utilities face today is that different datasets are maintained by different departments and cannot be assessed across teams. For this reason, an application and/or appropriate data storage layer is necessary. An effective solution is key to ease data access issues and maintain all necessary information in one place.
Data access goes two ways; the first is to ensure that there is a proper, scalable API bus used for internal and external integration; the second is access control to ensure that only approved applications and users can read and/or write the data.
Awesense’s True Grid Intelligence (TGI) platform includes a versatile data model that can ingest a wide variety of utility datasets (SCADA, AMR/AMI, billing, etc.). TGI’s data storage layer provides a single point of access. Data is then available for TGI applications as well as for conducting the user’s own analysis.
Data Quality for Better Results
Reaching the best possible data quality for each of the data sources should be the primary goal for digital utilities of the future. Competent data quality allows the utility to maximize and optimize the data’s value.
When we discuss data quality, we often diagnose the following symptoms:
- Data quality is not consistent across various data sources: some data sources have good data quality and others do not;
- Despite knowledge about poor data quality, there are no processes or plans to address it;
- Data quality for various data sources are not measurable and thus cannot be measured as a KPI;
- It is difficult to learn and apply various validations and data correction methods for different types of data;
For solving these issues, it’s a must to have extensive data validation, estimation, and editing (VEE) solution. VEE provides not only a tool for correcting data but also increases data quality awareness. Previously impossible data governance processes can be unlocked and implemented.
Data Governance for Achieving World-Class Data Quality for Utilities
Effective data governance should be hardcoded into the DNA of a digitally-focused utility. While on the journey to digitalization, one thing is certain: new technologies cannot be applied to old processes. Precise data governance processes are the foundation of world-class data quality. These key processes are:
- Implementation of proper data handling and data quality that will not degrade;
- Establishment of data ownership and data accountability;
- Adaptation of regular data quality check-ups;
- KPIs aimed to improve data quality;
Data governance should be embraced by the utility’s strategy, including digital initiatives. The strategy should also allow for the creation of an agile implementation of digital architecture.
Awesense’s TGI platform is the industry leader in utility data governance and allows utilities to achieve data excellence.