Data Analytics In Energy Sector: An Untapped Potential

Data Analytics In Energy Sector: An Untapped Potential

Energy CIO Insights | Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Businesses have the potential to capitalize on the data they own, but a very few have succeeded in doing it. The gap in execution is elaborated in the article.

FREMONT, CA: The exponentially changing energy market is facilitating a data landscape underpinning the rapid and un-relentless disruption. Data is playing a prominent role in supporting the security, and reliability as the entire system moves toward a more varying, decentralized generation and innovation-driven technologies and services. 

It is a well-known fact that businesses of all sizes in the energy sector are queued to capitalize on the data they possess. The information provides knowledge that actionable, real-time insights underlie the ability of these firms to drive efficient markets. However, the businesses have regulatory and technical barriers while on the verge of supporting digital and data transformation, especially when conventional approaches are adopted. It seems impossible, too cumbersome even and prohibitively expensive. Is there a solution on the horizon?

Real-Time Data Interoperability is Necessary for Efficient Markets:

For a continually re-inventing market to perform much efficiently, ridding the data friction due to inaccurate and incompatible data and increasing transparency is a necessity. To solve this with enhanced, seamless data interoperability between Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), Distributed Energy Systems (DESs), Operational Technology, and IT systems in real-time is the endpoint.

Organizations are barely securing the integrated data within, among entities and organizations is far-fetched.

Lately, organizations understand the value of data in delivering seamless end-user experiences. The supply chain integration, driving innovation, and new business models are being applied since recently. But, there exist plenty of challenges:

• The multitude of systems, processes and applications, legacy and advanced technologies, all filled with data and none of it functioning together as a whole;
• Conventional and present technological systems which aren’t built to deal with the surplus of unstructured data;
• An inefficiency to create a real-time, unified view of a customer or a company;
• Rising needs to satiate data sharing internal and external to organizations, entities, and technologies in real-time; and
• Issues with data security, cybersecurity, and data regulatory compliance.

Additionally, the realities of business complications include, but are not limited to:

• The integration of data with every merger and acquisition;
• Business partners at one firm and competitors in another;
• Third-party vendor networking;
• Complex relationships; and
• Blurred boundaries among the customers and suppliers.

These occurrences pinpoint that companies are spending excess capital on unsuccessful attempts to handle, organize, and control data. A recent study by IDC indicated that at present more than 80 percent of the time is spent on discovery, preparation, and protection of data, and only a mere 20 percent on conducting actual analytics to obtain insights.

The Renewed Energy Value Chain is A Complex Interlinked Web of Data Points:

Ingenious to the energy sector, the no-longer linear, energy value chain prominent players are increasing. With buyers and sellers interacting in a complex asymmetrical manner, many are not capitalizing on the same to date.

The complex buyer-seller web has transformed into an ecosystem of expanding connections and digitized data points at an exponential rate. The demand-supply requirements from the distributed networks of producers, consumers, and prosumers of energy are increasingly insistent for transparent service switching provisioning.

Rising complex, sophisticated, and advanced demands are placed on organizations and demands are accompanied by:

• Rise in hybrid products and services merging among energy firms and smart home technology providers;

• Hybrid-multi-cloud Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) platforms for holistic governance and regulatory compliance;

• Transparent, end-to-end energy consumption of data and demand trends to boost the energy requirements across fragmented cloud services; and

• Digital transformation enforced via disruptive technologies, that are not limited to Quantum Computing, AI, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), cloud services, distributed ledgers, mobile devices, wireless networking and Internet of Things (IoT)  all of which must, optimally, work securely and to scale with embedded, decentralized, conventional, latest and future-facing operational and IT systems.

A recent report of Mckinsey and company observes that 40 percent of industrial sites have at least one direct link to the public internet, and 84 percent have at least one device that can be remotely accessed. Annoyance arrives considering the exponential rise in the unstructured data from smart sensors, IoT, and connected devices and the moderately growing quantities of structured data from business systems. Any attempts to achieve actionable, real-time insights, through decentralized data assets, at the point of interaction and demand have been unfruitful. The need for unified identity, device authorization, and access management cannot be depreciated as the ability to manage critical assets is severely curtailed without them.

To Fulfill New Market Demands, Data Must be Seamlessly Combined in Real-Time:

The solution is obtained by forming data ecosystems which effortlessly integrate the fragmented and dynamic characteristics of the devices, systems, and application from within and among organizations. By enabling data from these ecosystems to be combined, in real-time, a unified data view is created.  It is utilized for actionable purposes that are specifically personalized, regardless of data format or what system it came from.

 The ingenious views need to be updatable in real-time, as the demand is presented, and the solution is also expected in real-time. This two—way dataflow within the ecosystem, allows a new breed of distributed applications and business models to be created, while transparently dealing with data complexity, compliance, security, and integrity issues.

The provision of chain-of-evidence for the provenance of the data, the access controls rules around the data, and automatic audit record generation for all data access. The highly secure business will provide a reliable, trusted, unified data view, which can then be utilized by auditors and compliance monitors to improve risk management.

Real-Time Actionable Data Insights Power The Digitized Energy Sector:

Many organizations have made massive investments in data lakes and associated analytics, ML, and AI as the filtering or refinement of data is where the real value exists. To monetize on this requires extraction of the essence from the data and refining it into a sharp, real-time, usable data insights. These insights will drive innovation, efficiency, integrated supply chains, streamlined services, new business models, and opportunities along with enhanced, end-to-end engagements of users.

The sheer scale and complexities of the challenge leave traditional approaches caught at the starting line. Distributed ledgers alternatives have managed to kick start the journey, but do not possess the capacity to deal with the volume and real-time nature of the challenges.  Hence, making Distributed Ledgers, unsustainable for the energy sector considering the energy consumed.

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