However, communication with end-customers and commercial clients is also changing: surveys such as the Monitor Deloitte survey 'Kundenerlebnis@EVU' (Customer experience at utility companies) show that more and more clients receive their invoices digitally, retrieve their customer and consumption data via apps, and wish to be informed about special events, such as a power failure, via their smart phone.
Utilities failing to react to these developments are quickly replaced on the highly competitive market for energy services providers – often by a start-up. According to the result of the PwC survey 'Deutschlands Energieversorger werden digital' (German utilities are becoming digital), 58 per cent of utility companies feel threatened by the market entry of companies from outside the energy industry. Approximately one-third of utilities interviewed in this survey even believe that one in four utility companies will disappear from the market in the years to come.
In short, utilities are under considerable pressure, and must adjust their business and operating models. To remain successful, they don't only have to optimise their structures, but also modify them and, in some instances, even establish new ones.
Most utilities are initially focusing on enhancing their process efficiency. 76 per cent of the companies interviewed in the PwC survey see increasing digitalisation as leverage to automate existing processes within their structures.
This comprises processes related to the preparation and review of invoices: establishing interfaces between the ERP systems of utility and housing industry companies can significantly reduce manual effort to record and review invoices on both sides. Aareal Bank's BK01 eConnect solution is one example. In connection with BK01 immoconnect, payment processes between the energy and the housing industry can be completely digitalised, enabling an easy exchange of invoices and data, as well as further processing in the respective ERP systems without manual efforts.
An example: the local public utility service in Lübeck.