Top tips to hit Ofwat’s ODIs

  • Posted on March 28, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 5 minutes

This year, many businesses in the water sector are feeling the pressure from regulators and COVID-related challenges. With Ofwat’s ODIs (outcome delivery incentives) demanding success in multiple areas of your business, how do you know where to allocate budget and resources? Here’s where digital transformation comes in. Seizing the opportunity to get ahead with data analytics, cloud and automation technology is the best way to generate positive change in your business and harness a more accurate view of your operations. We’ve put together this blog to help guide you on how digital transformation could be the key to addressing successes and struggles in your business, so you know exactly how to hit Ofwat’s ODIs.

Business challenges in the water sector
While industry-wide business challenges have occurred throughout the pandemic, Ofwat’s ODIs have not changed, putting pressure on your already-tight budgets – and preventing you from achieving financial rewards. Aside from regulatory pressure, you are likely to be facing an increase in costs and a decline in revenue as more customers struggle to pay due to COVID and an increased cost of living, with the industry declining 1.3% per year on average between 2017 and 2022. From daily operational tasks through to large-scale strategic plans, everything must be done smarter and more efficiently, thereby minimising costs and maximising performance.

For many businesses in the water industry, this is easier said than done. You’ve probably already recognised that the need for a detailed operational view has been amplified by COVID – for example, some water companies have reported that their survey results and customer interactions have decreased throughout the pandemic – an important factor for CMEX. With customer satisfaction being a key Ofwat driver, it’s important that the chances of you hitting this target aren’t hindered further.

Focusing on the simplification of processes and maximising data usage can give you the tools you need to easily track and manage key customer insights. If you’re struggling to engage customers in your surveys, wouldn’t it be easier to implement a real-time view of household water consumption? Switching to automated processes makes monitoring variable factors quicker and clearer and frees your workforce from mundane, low value tasks so that they can focus more time on providing a great customer service.

The path to agile practises
Change can be a daunting prospect for businesses and employees, especially in the water industry – with legacy technology and manual, formulaic processes, failing to adapt quickly enough to the fast-changing industry can result in failures to improve operational efficiency. The key to generating positive change is automation. Automating your processes can result in ground-breaking innovation that can have a positive impact on your business, your employees and your customers.

Transitioning to a fully agile way of working goes one step further than automating your processes – migrating to a cloud-first model is essential for giving your teams the scope to work together more efficiently. Using technology that runs itself allows your staff to focus on the important work, such as asset maintenance, customer care and decision making.

Digital transformation experts work together with your IT teams through consultations and workshops to ensure that all departments are working together in a more agile, faster, ‘cloud-first’ way. Predictive data solutions can identify and fix problems, like leakages and blockages in below-ground assets, in advance of the asset failing. Moving on from manual maintenance processes can help you react more quickly to repairs and leakages, so you can avoid penalties for not acting quickly enough.

Digital transformation: harnessing the power of data
In today’s data-driven world, you’ll already be using data to monitor your operations and infrastructure. However, knowing how to use, manage and interpret this data is another story. The water industry does not have a regulated data structure, which means that the quality of the data is likely to be lower, and many water companies lack confidence in navigating GDPR compliance in order to effectively harness their data.

Data analytics is widely recognised as the future of the water industry, and with so many valuable use cases for data – protection against cyber security (even more important with the NIS directive coming into force), testing new ideas at speed and gaining better customer insights, for example – it’s time for your business to rethink how data can be used to transform every aspect of your operations.

At Avanade, we recognise that water companies are under pressure from regulators, customers and the general public and are facing new challenges caused by COVID. You may already have an accurate view of your operations, but prioritising budget and resources could still be a problem when everything seems to require your attention. That’s why we’re using digital transformation to help the water sector make data-driven investment and budgeting decisions, and ultimately make regulatory penalties a thing of the past.

We have proven solutions that can be configured for the water industry in a matter of weeks, leveraged by our experience in other comparable industries like Oil and Gas, so you can ensure swift implementation of a proof of concept (POC) and begin identifying areas of transformation quickly.

As a leading digital innovator, we realise results for our clients through the power of our people and the ecosystem of our partner, Microsoft. We’d love to hear about your digital transformation plans for 2022 and how you’re using these strategies to help your business implement positive change. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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