19 Aug Four reasons why you should read Accenture’s New Energy Consumer report
In case you missed it, global professional services consultancy, Accenture, published the results of its New Energy Consumer research programme earlier this year. The report, entitled ‘The New Energy Consumer: Unleashing Business Value in a Digital World’, is must-read material for energy companies everywhere.
For those of us involved in the delivery of this project, the insights explored within the report give validation to so much of the thinking behind what we are working to create with Futurewave. This is both exciting and inspiring, and we’re keen to share our enthusiasm for the contents of the report with you.
While we urge you to read through the document for yourself, this post summarises some of our top takeaways to get you started:
1. Four key forces are shaping today’s energy market. The report identifies these as:
Connected Everything – in our super-connected world, digital technology is changing how we live and how, as customers, we interact with industry. This gives consumers greater control and creates opportunities for businesses to shape new markets. Within this context, successful energy companies will be those who position themselves at the forefront of this brave new world.
Personalised Energy – relationships between energy companies and customers are becoming more complex as the choice facing consumers grows and their needs become more sophisticated. Developments such as distributed energy generation and energy storage are giving consumers greater power and creating opportunities for them to become suppliers of energy themselves, making the market less centralised. As this trend continues to grow, digital platforms that connect consumers with different energy options will emerge and disrupt the market. Energy companies need to establish what their role in these platforms should look like.
Asymmetric Competition – energy market incumbents now face competition from a growing number of competitors from outside the industry. Think Apple with its HomeKit, Tesla with its Powerwall home battery system and in the UK, the domestic supply propositions that many high street retailers have been offering for some time now. Where competitors are agile and fleet of foot, they can pose new and unknown threats to traditional energy companies but they may also open up a world of new opportunities.
Shifting Regulatory Framework – market trends that are being driven by the ‘New Energy Consumers’ identified in the report are also having an impact on regulatory frameworks across the world. While in the UK, the regulatory focus has been on creating long term customer value, encouraging ‘shopping around’ and increasing price transparency, other territories have different priorities. However the report finds here that ‘the power of the consumer to influence the energy market is universal’. Leading energy providers around the world are proactively talking to regulators and stakeholders to shape new ‘energy ecosystems’ which will gain dominance in the future.
2. The disruptive power of digital cannot be overlooked. Digital is proving to be transformational in other industries and the energy sector must follow suit. For consumers, digital unlocks new services that facilitate self-service and creates value. For energy companies, increasing digital engagement with consumers can help to build trust, improve customer satisfaction levels and futureproof against new market entrants.
3. Digital platforms are the catalyst for the next generation of ground-breaking innovations. The Accenture report cites a quote from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which states that: ‘In 2013, 14 of the top 30 brands by market capitalisation were platform-oriented—companies … that now dominate arenas in which buyers, sellers and a variety of sellers are connected in real time’. The concept of digital platforms that are flexible enough to deliver value for consumers, facilitate collaboration and level the playing field is gaining ground. The energy industry may not be fully on board yet but – though through initiatives including Futurewave – it certainly feels like it is teetering on the brink of joining what Accenture describes as ‘the platform (r)evolution’.
4. In this evolving landscape, the most successful energy providers will be those who recognise the opportunities that digital is opening up and develop future-forward strategies that will leverage its potential. Once developed, implementing these strategies will require a shift from the traditional operational mindset to one which is fit for purpose in the customer-centric era.
To read the full report, click here.