For the many not the few: how data is helping customers manage their energy

Category : Future of energy

At SSE Business Energy, I’m responsible for running and developing the data and digital services that support the delivery of our energy supply services to businesses operating in the UK. As part of this role, I’m regularly invited to take part in conferences.

I most recently participated in a panel discussion on data and innovation. This was organised by Everywoman – an international network set up 20 years ago to advance women in business – to mark International Women’s Day. SSE Business Energy has a long-running partnership with Everywoman and this supports our inclusion and diversity agenda.

The discussion was on “Dataversity – holistic approach to value creation of data”, and boasted an all-female panel of Sue Daly, Head of Big Data, Cloud and Mobile Services at techUK, Emma Kendrew, AI and Intelligent Automation Lead at Accenture, Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Founder of Ness Labs and Holly Armitage, Head of Data Services at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence. We talked through the critical need for an organisation embarking on the data journey to value collaboration if we are to realise the value of data. Another priority was the need to have data ethics as a core competence in the organisation to manage the risks and benefits of Artificial Intelligence tools.

This matters because SSE Business Energy has stewardship of your data in order to provide the services that matter to you. And we need your consent if we’re to do this effectively. Recent advances in technology allow us to do so much more and I am an enthusiastic advocate of providing those insights. My own experience of the digitisation of business is so positive – unlike my millennial colleagues, I know what it felt like to have had only monthly updates on my bank balance by mail. Could I exist today without online and mobile banking services? No way! Did I know I needed this back in the day? I’m not so sure.

My challenge is to support our engagement with you, our customers, to create an informed, consent-led relationship where we can provide insights and information to help you manage your energy consumption. Traditionally, energy has been a ‘silent’ commodity service; in other words, our role has been to keep things working seamlessly in the background rather than playing a more visible role in the lives of our customers.

That era is gone – we are all engaging in actively managing our energy consumption to help the elimination of waste. SSE Business Energy is currently working on building greater insights to serve our customers with some technology investments. As a passionate advocate of the power of data, I am delighted about this. It’s data for the many, not the few.

I will keep you updated on our progress.

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Nicola Wadham

Head of IT Solutions

After leaving Oxford and completing a master’s degree at Edinburgh University, Nicola joined Shell as a graduate trainee in its IT department. She then worked for SC Johnson, Cadbury and Rolls Royce before joining SSE, where she now looks after the information and technology needs of three businesses including Business Energy. Some of her main challenges include the introduction and embedding of data and analytics in the power generation business and building from the ground up new IT for the commercial energy supply business.
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