The Future of the Water Industry

It might be raining (a lot) in the UK this summer but whilst we all take shelter from the weather what are the current challenges and opportunities in the water industry? Read our independent market assessment below..
August 19 2021

Regulation and business change means continued challenging times ahead for the water industry. As an objective guiding voice to ensure our customers always thrive, no matter what the circumstances, we believe there are five key areas of focus to enable you to address the challenges ahead:

External Challenges
Technological Innovation
Customer Service
Water Supply and Waste Disposal Operation and Culture Change
Culture Change
Industry Trends

The water and sewerage industry currently faces a number of external and strategic challenges. Business and domestic market deregulation will lead to increased competition and market disruption from lower cost-base new market entrants. In addition, the “water usage imperative” will have a direct impact on profitability as water companies will need to “cannibalise” their own income as part of encouraging customers to use less water. A trend we are seeing to meet these challenges is SaaS billing. The energy market deregulation experience has shown SaaS is the biggest differentiator in not just cost base but customer service. Transitioning from legacy billing systems to Software as a Service “utility billing in a box” solution will not only drive significant cost reductions (e.g. call centre FTEs and IT legacy support costs) but will also enable greater flexibility and agility at times of customer moves/billing/regulation changes.

In addition, Business Intelligence solutions provide visibility to accurate, reliable data and inform management decision-making. Our experience means we can realise your plans for a number of initiatives including:

  • Application Strategy
  • Migration from Legacy IT Billing to SaaS
  • IT Architecture Redesign
  • Business Intelligence Dashboard Design and Delivery
  • IT Team Capability Assessment

Technological Innovation

We are seeing innovations in 2021 that will fundamentally change how the water industry operates. Some of these have been around for a while but are just starting to come into the mainstream.

  • Increased use of sensors and IOT technology – constantly monitoring supply and treatment
  • The use of AI and Machine Learning to sort, analyse and review data received from sensors and IOT
  • Automation technology to drive repeatable actions based on the results from machine learning
  • Use of 5G and mesh technology to collect data easily, quickly and cheaply

Our expertise in IT innovation and automation will enable us to assess your readiness to embrace new ideas and modernise your current ways of working.

Customer service

The Ofwat league table shows that there is considerable room to improve customer service standards across the industry, particularly in the following areas:

  • Complaint handling
  • Billing accuracy
  • Unwanted billing queries
  • Compensation claims
  • Customer perception around time lag between action to – fix and perception shift
  • Cybersecurity/GDPR requirements
  • Delivering good, cost-effective service to vulnerable customers

We work with organisations to review customer journeys, policies and processes and look for ways to strengthen service, data management and communications. Our aim is to improve your customer’s experience using our wide range of expertise. This includes:

  • Call centre optimisation and automation
  • Field service operations including efficient and accurate meter reading
  • Service calls and incident response
  • Process pain point evaluation and plans to fix
  • Business process review and simplification
  • Data quality and processing solutions
  • Positive brand communication to be woven into all customer touch points
  • Cyber maturity assessment
  • Root cause analysis to identify failure points

Water supply and waste disposal operations

We understand that the reliability of supply and safe waste disposal are vital components of your business. Often there is worth in optimising infrastructure assets and maintenance operations ensuring they are operating at maximum potential. Focusing on asset management in terms of upgrade, maintenance, minimising downtime and refreshing has provided our clients with some quick wins. We provide knowledge of emerging technologies to help you run your operations as safely, efficiently and as cost effectively as possible. Example technology solutions can include cloud migration, IoT deployment, virtual reality development, data storage and retrieval and business intelligence dashboard delivery.

Culture change

We listen to our client’s core values and strategic goals. This insight together with our expertise in internal cultural transformation from assessment through to staff engagement, ensures the intelligence you receive from our customer service maturity assessment is an accurate view of your strengths and pain points ensuring you have a culture of ‘zero harm’.
About Us

We understand your complex and regulated market. With 20 years of IP and development within our service portfolio, we provide solutions that enable CIOs to fast-track key initiatives with certainty of outcome, typically shortening delivery timescales by 33%. We have a proved track record of high quality delivery on over 1,000 client projects resulting in 95% of CIOs re-engaging with us when they move to new organisations.

We help organisations succeed in today’s dynamic and digital age. When the rules of business are regularly rewritten and disrupted, our intervention has seen us deliver and transform organisations across multiple industry sectors. We support our clients to deliver their business strategy, underpin cultural change effort and support greater workforce collaboration and mobile working across their organisation.

Interested in learning more?