Consumer Platform of the Future: Industry Insider Perspectives

Consumer Platform of the Future: Industry Insider Perspectives

  • Two utility digital engagement tool case studies
  • Insights into customer adoption challenges for digital tools
  • Industry insights into consumer preferences for digital engagement tool features

Industry Insights on Digital Engagement Tools

This report is based on a series of 16 interviews with industry insiders that were conducted in 2017. These interviews provided insights into how the interviewees see the opportunities of a more networked delivery model, the products and services their companies could provide by leveraging a broader digital ecosystem, and the hurdles they see in fully leveraging digital engagement tools.

We begin by defining platforms as a communications and control asset that performs certain tasks that may require cloud-based communications, application programming interfaces or specialized integration of certain functions.  It is built from both hardware, such as servers, and software, including algorithms, backend software, and interoperability and product integration code. We then explain how portals — which are one component of a platform — combine customer preference settings, energy provider and third-party programs, and provide access to different types of data.  Combined with an analytics engine, portals can also provide highly personalized information and offerings.

Next, the report discusses the current state of these digital platforms, including online marketplaces and energy usage data tools. It additionally covers future trends that industry experts see in this area and the key components that will make these solutions successful for consumers. Interviewees also shared their perspectives on features, capabilities, and options they think consumers likely want from a platform. Two case studies of how utilities have developed and/or acquired consumer digital engagement tools are discussed. Industry experts additionally identified several challenges they face with wider adoption of digital customer engagement tools, and SEPA and SECC proposed solutions and recommendations in each case.

What’s in the Report

  • Definitions of a platform compared to a portal, and how they are structured
  • Two utility case studies featuring developed or acquired consumer digital engagement tools
  • Industry expert insights on the features that make digital engagement tools successful
  • Features and capabilities of platforms that industry experts say consumers likely want
  • Challenges faced by industry experts with wider adoption of digital customer engagement tools
  • Proposed solutions and recommendations for identified challenges