IT in Smart Grid
Information Technology (IT) has a significant role to play in smart grid space. Industries like banking, telecom and other business suites have already recognized the importance of information & data management using IT and now the energy companies will have to follow the same. As utilities are deploying the smart meters and smart grid solutions the role of IT will grow and will be one of the essential elements for utilities, not to a surprise. Smart Grid IT will make the today's utilities customer- centric by transforming them to understand their customer's need, communicate them effectively and provide new services that will benefit both customers and utilities.
IT not only plays an important role in transformation of the utility - customer relationship but also equally plays and important role in providing solutions and key information to utilities operator to manage, control and monitor the electrical network in most efficient and effective way. Smart grid needs a more holistic view of how utility will operate at both a business and network level, which will require a greater co-operation between IT and OT teams. Historically IT and OT teams have work in isolated mode with a limited minimum communication between them. IT majorly focused on business process model and customer management systems whereas OT on monitoring and managing the electrical networks. Now both OT and IT have to join hands strongly to improve the operational efficiencies and drive the utility business to a next level of maturity.
IT provides a smart customer portal with key informations derived from the Advance Meter Infrastructure (AMI), Meter Data Management (MDM) applications and customer information system. It also provides utilities with smart operational and executive portals which play a significant role in obtaining operational efficiency in areas such as asset management, outage management and work force management, where there are sure benefits from a broader integration of operational and enterprise data. IT provides solutions and consultancy services to utilities which help them in their smart grid roadmap to define the new or modify business processes accordingly for e.g., the trouble call reporting and outage status information handling process changes with introduction of AMI/smart meters and OMS systems integration. With greater integration among several systems in Smart Grid space the IT will play significant role in large volume of data management & analysis, defining business process and system security. As the utility data and information will get exposed to out-of-box (utility closed entities) the need of right standards and frameworks are important for grid security. IT can help in development of these standards and frameworks for the integration of utility data across applications and devices securely.