Investing in Platforms and Business Models
Mackinnon Lawrence is a director at Navigant and leads Navigant Research, the firm’s global market research and intelligence unit. Jan Vrins is the global Energy practice leader at Navigant.
Customer engagement has rocketed up the ranks of priorities for utilities and energy companies in recent years. In our third annual State and Future of the Power Industry report (June 2018 issue) in collaboration with Public Utilities Fortnightly, customers were the only other critical stakeholder for utilities, besides utility regulatory commissions, ranked at the top of the pack for importance to successfully navigate the industry transformation.
We are in the middle of an energy transformation defined by a wholescale shift away from the centralized hub-and-spoke model toward a network of distributed assets, customers, and value exchanges.
New energy products and services are delivered on customer-centric, digitally enabled platforms, and are generating much greater interactivity among market actors, including prosumers. These are increasingly restructuring power markets into a customer-centric networks of networks. At Navigant, we call this the Energy Cloud.
But how do utilities capitalize on this paradigm shift effectively when specific demands and preferences vary so wildly among customers? For residential customers, cost savings and reliability needs may look very different than they would to operators of data centers, large retail stores, or owners of EV fleets.