After three years away, people from companies across the utility spectrum were keen to talk about the issues affecting the sector, and innovation and digitalization were hot topics on the agenda.
Digital transformation in the utility sector
Digital transformation featured across the programme with keynote sessions about creating the conditions for innovation, and challenge programme presenters discussing how to deliver best-in-class customer service. On the collaboration front there was a range of sessions around how to drive the digitalization of utilities. Our stand was a hive of activity and we talked to people from across the sector about the challenges they face implementing their digital transformation programmes, and how we have helped other utilities to tackle them. Here, Macro 4 colleagues give their view of the conference.
How application decommissioning assists digital transformation
Declan Hutchings, Sales Account Manager, Macro 4: It was great to attend Utility Week Live and showcase our utility sector customer success stories Severn Trent Water and Cadent, alongside Macro 4’s software, solutions and services to existing and prospective clients. I had many conversations with visitors about what digital transformation could mean to them if they were using Macro 4’s solutions. Particular areas of interest included application decommissioning, where we talked about helping companies to reduce potential cyber threats, reduce their data storage requirements and how we could help them transition to the cloud. We also talked about how digitizing customer communications can help companies to go green and improve their ‘eco’ credentials which is, of course, very topical within the utility sector at the moment.
Using customer communications management to improve CX
Sam Dix, Client Services Consultant, Macro 4: I had a number of detailed conversations with visitors to our stand. As I work with our customers to help them understand how to get the most from their Macro 4 information management software, it was interesting to hear how many organizations do not have a joined-up approach for providing employees or customers with a single view of customer data, whether that relates directly to a customer or to tasks connected to the customer. I explained how our customer communications management solution gives staff immediate access to all customer information, allowing them to resolve customer queries much faster. Visitors were interested to learn how they can empower staff in different departments to interact with customers across multiple channels quickly and easily and tailor messaging to individual customers, helping to provide the personalized service customers expect, which ultimately builds customer loyalty and improves the customer experience.
Diccon Grayling, Partner and Alliances Manager, Macro 4: Having visited many worldwide conferences and exhibitions in the past, Utility Week Live 2022 has to be up there as one of the most beneficial and rewarding I have attended. After the hiatus and anxiety of the last couple of years, there was a general high-spirited vibe to the event – a 'good to be back' feeling. Visiting nearly 30 stands to discuss potential partnering opportunities, I was welcomed warmly by companies for a chat.
Increasing innovation in the utility sector
Lynda Kershaw, Marketing Manager, Macro 4: The last time I visited the NEC was with a couple of excited twelve-year-olds in tow to attend a science and technology show. Six years on, the audience may have changed but the excitement was still palpable. It felt like everyone was delighted to get back out there and meet in person. There was a real buzz and it was great to have so many visitors drop by our stand to learn about our digital transformation solutions. It’s an excellent show to meet and exchange ideas with people from right across the utility sector, and join sessions on everything from decarbonizing heat and the future of wastewater and bio-resources to supporting vulnerable customers and delivering smart energy networks. There’s definitely something for everyone!
I was impressed by the level of debate in the conference sessions I attended and the standout for me was the final keynote on the second day, 'Leading the digital transformation'. A senior industry panel offered advice on a raft of topics, including setting your DX strategy, recruiting the right digital talent and getting the most out of new technology. A key takeaway for me is that utility companies want to increase innovation – taking a lead rather than waiting for the regulator – and improve the customer experience in the communities they serve.
Paul Lewis, UK Sales Manager, Macro 4: The first major event attended by Macro 4 since the pandemic began was exciting, being able to mix and mingle, as well as speak and interact with people face to face was refreshing. The success of the event means it looks like we’ll be back for Utility Week Live 2023!