European Utility Week returns to Amsterdam in early October – a great place for Teradata, given the local affection for the colour orange and how well it fits our branding.

As we prepare to take the stage, and present our vision of asset and customer data in Amsterdam once more, I have been reflecting on where the industry is with data today. Just four years ago I began my mission at Teradata: taking data to the heart of the utilities agenda.

As with all technology-based phenomena, you can loosely map the journey of utilities and data against the standard hype cycle. In Amsterdam four years ago, there was hype aplenty – the stands were plastered with talk of ‘big data’ in particular. Unfortunately, with the exception of ourselves and a handful of others, behind much of this branding lay hollow PowerPoint slideware, or poor quality, single point solutions.

Whilst many have monetised their data in the intervening years, working with those of us who can deliver on that promise, the trough of disillusionment claimed many others. That trough peaked (or whatever the opposite would be… maybe bottomed out?) around mid 2016. By the time we got to European Utility Week in Barcelona last year, conversations around data were scarce. Yet those conversations were much better informed and targeted – a sure sign of a maturing market.

What to watch for at European Utility Week in Amsterdam.

Quantum leap

The other quantum leap I observed during 2016 was how data was being placed at the heart of key programmes, front and centre in the modern utility. This directly contrasted to the standalone project strategies of the past.

Digitization, the use of sensor data, the Internet of Things, industry innovation; these are all driven by data today, and the link is well understood as a result of this shift. Just look at how more mature customers such as Enedis are using data in these areas. Use of data and analytics is no longer a side-show capability – this is becoming part of something much greater in the modern utility.

What to look out for in Amsterdam

Which brings us to today, and more importantly the 2017 event in Amsterdam. Aside from taking the time to speak to us about the power of integrated data and analytics at scale, what else should you look out for at the event?

  • The number of times data and analytics are mentioned and/or clearly relevant in everything you see and discuss at the event, even when the words “data” and “analytics” are not used specifically. Data and analytics now underpin all areas of transformation in the modern utility. It’s all about data.
  • We are not all the same. Teradata and others that work with data co-exist within bespoke analytical ecosystems to enable utilities to drive revenues and reduce cost. Anyone you speak to in Amsterdam should be able to clearly articulate this and the role they play.​
  • Some things never change! As I said four years ago, speak to those of us who have already delivered tangible benefits with data in utilities and other industries. We are already massively matured in the deployment of data integration and analytics at scale.

So, all aboard for Amsterdam… and for those of you that attended four years ago, I promise I have upgraded from that slightly dodgy, pin-stripe brown suit! Come listen to and speak with us. Together we can keep up the momentum. Together we can do great things in utilities with data. See you in Amsterdam!

Iain Stewart
Iain Stewart works with utilities companies internationally – helping them understand the art of the possible in data and data analytics, and how that can deliver value to their business. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two children and is an avid supporter of Edinburgh Rugby, The Dogs Trust charity, good food, wine, and whisky.
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