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North American Utilities Go Digital to Rapidly Update Grids

As more customers generate energy and shop around for service, utilities are changing infrastructure, operations and customer experience, ISG Provider Lens™ report says

Energy utilities in the U.S. and Canada are transforming their electrical grids with new digital technologies to integrate renewables and distributed energy resources (DERs) while improving customer experience in an increasingly competitive industry, according to a new research report published today by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

The 2023 ISG Provider Lens™ Power and Utilities — Services and Solutions report for North America finds that as consumers become “prosumers,” installing energy sources such as rooftop solar panels, utilities need to adapt their infrastructure and software for two-way transmission and more complex customer relationships. The introduction of DERs, along with the rise of electric vehicles, has major implications for demand, billing, quality of power and reliability of assets.

“Decarbonization is changing how energy is generated, distributed and consumed,” said Bob Lutz, partner, Energy & Utilities, at ISG. “Service providers steeped in industry know-how are helping utilities make deep changes in technology and business operations.”

Those changes include tighter integration between IT and operational technology (OT), including intelligent edge devices, ISG says. Utilities are integrating sensors to collect more data about increasingly complex grids, along with analytics tools based on AI and ML to use the data for better decision-making. More distributed energy resources can also create new security risks, so utilities are rapidly upgrading their cybersecurity capabilities.

New operational demands make asset management more complex, leading to fast-growing adoption of next-generation enterprise asset management (EAM) systems, the report says. Service providers enable utilities to implement platforms that support predictive maintenance and other capabilities, reducing costs and improving flexibility.

As they adopt digital operating models to cope with the increasing complexity of energy production and consumption, utilities are working closely with service providers on business process management (BPM) systems that will optimize and automate their business processes, ISG says. While many have made a good start at implementing automation and AI for this purpose, scaling up those efforts may require significant investments in training and organizational change management.

Long-established utilities in deregulated markets in North America now face rising competition from new, cloud-native rivals using modern methods to engage with customers, the report says. High churn rates are driving traditional utilities to revamp user portals and invest in systems to provide omnichannel customer experiences.

“Utilities that once considered themselves infrastructure companies now realize they need to compete as service providers,” said Jan Erik Aase, partner and global leader, ISG Provider Lens Research. “The right consulting partners can bring their efforts up to speed.”

The report also explores other technology trends at North American utilities, including skills shortages in an aging workforce and market disruptions caused by government mandates and the war in Ukraine.

For more insights into the technology challenges facing North American utilities, including how to quickly meet rising demand for nuclear energy and how to prevent transformation costs from making energy unaffordable, plus ISG’s advice on key issues, see the ISG Provider Lens™ Focal Points briefing here.

The 2023 ISG Provider Lens™ Power and Utilities — Services and Solutions report for North America evaluates the capabilities of 27 providers across five quadrants: Intelligent Business Process Management Solutions (iBMPS), Next-Gen IT Services, Grid Modernization, Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Customer Information System (CIS) and Customer Experience (CX).

The report names Accenture, Cognizant, IBM, Infosys and TCS as Leaders in all five quadrants. It names Capgemini and Wipro as Leaders in four quadrants each and HCLTech and Hitachi Vantara as Leaders in three quadrants each. Tech Mahindra is named as a Leader in two quadrants. Genpact, PwC and Teleperformance are named as Leaders in one quadrant each.

In addition, Cyient is named as a Rising Star — a company with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition — in two quadrants. LTIMindtree and PwC are named as Rising Stars in one quadrant each.

Customized versions of the report are available from Cognizant and Cyient.

The 2023 ISG Provider Lens™ Power and Utilities — Services and Solutions report for North America is available to subscribers or for one-time purchase on this webpage.

About ISG Provider Lens™ Research

The ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant research series is the only service provider evaluation of its kind to combine empirical, data-driven research and market analysis with the real-world experience and observations of ISG's global advisory team. Enterprises will find a wealth of detailed data and market analysis to help guide their selection of appropriate sourcing partners, while ISG advisors use the reports to validate their own market knowledge and make recommendations to ISG's enterprise clients. The research currently covers providers offering their services globally, across Europe, as well as in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, the U.K., France, Benelux, Germany, Switzerland, the Nordics, Australia and Singapore/Malaysia, with additional markets to be added in the future. For more information about ISG Provider Lens research, please visit this webpage.

A companion research series, the ISG Provider Lens Archetype reports, offer a first-of-its-kind evaluation of providers from the perspective of specific buyer types.

About ISG

ISG (Information Services Group) (Nasdaq: III) is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. A trusted business partner to more than 900 clients, including more than 75 of the world’s top 100 enterprises, ISG is committed to helping corporations, public sector organizations, and service and technology providers achieve operational excellence and faster growth. The firm specializes in digital transformation services, including automation, cloud and data analytics; sourcing advisory; managed governance and risk services; network carrier services; strategy and operations design; change management; market intelligence and technology research and analysis. Founded in 2006, and based in Stamford, Conn., ISG employs more than 1,600 digital-ready professionals operating in more than 20 countries—a global team known for its innovative thinking, market influence, deep industry and technology expertise, and world-class research and analytical capabilities based on the industry’s most comprehensive marketplace data. For more information, visit


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