Last month I spent a week visiting customers and partners in the UK. December is always special in the UK, as it’s the week of the Utility Week Achievement Awards. I travel all over the world and I have never seen an event where the Electric, Gas and Water industries come together for what is often called the Christmas party for the Utility industry in the UK. It’s an amazing event showcasing the innovation that comes from one of most interesting Utility markets in the world. We were very pleased to host over 20 customers at our tables with our partner OSIsoft. I was fortunate to sit next to Shaun Williams, CIO of SSE, as SSE was the winner of the IT Initiative of the Year for their Power Track application that provides consumers with outage information on the SSE network.
My favorite part of these frequent trips is visiting with customers, and we certainly spent a lot of time doing so during this trip. During our visits, we discuss the various solutions that we and our partners offer to help Utilities improve their operations and reduce costs. If you had to ask me what was the one thing that got the most attention I would have to say it was Power BI. IT organizations around the world are quickly realizing that they cannot afford BI solutions that require significant IT support and are not familiar and easy to use. This is a common theme I hear from most all customers as they need to empower their users, reduce the need for IT support and at the same time, provide a foundation to support their data strategies. In a recent meeting I recall showing a Power BI video from our summer partner conference to a major Utility CIO. The CIO pulled his chair close to the screen and watched in amazement and kept saying “Is this real?” Here’s the link to the video. Take a look as I bet you will amazed as well. – Jon C. Arnold