Utilities, Energy & Infrastructure

Whether helping to support customer billing systems, or providing the information backbone for complex modelling and development projects, data storage is crucial to the success of firms operating in the utilities sector. 

In the face of pressure from shareholders to deliver increased returns, water and electricity firms must find new savings and efficiencies wherever possible, strengthening margins without raising customer bills.

At the same time, utility customers are demanding an improved level of service – more accurate bills, faster resolution of problems and greater personalization of the services on offer. 

The utilities CTO is faced with a triple challenge – they must supply the IT infrastructure required to drive innovations like smart grid services, improve existing services, and cap additional spend to keep operating costs down. 

In an ultra-competitive utilities marketplace where innovative start-ups are challenging established players, customers are unwilling to accept ever-increasing bills.

In fact, the more money that can be reclaimed from your IT budget, the more you will have available to spend on projects like dynamic pricing and smart grid technologies that help your business reach its strategic goals and outpace the competition. Savings will also help to fund much needed infrastructure improvements in the physical delivery of electricity or water too.

 

New developments come at a cost however. Aside from the capital outlay, OEM 3 year warranty fees add a significant overhead to every new system, increasing the time to ROI. One industry report suggests that 7% of the annual IT budget is spent on storage – plus OEM costs. And when your organization adheres to the vendor-defined refresh cycle, these costs are unlikely to reduce at all.

At a time when utilities companies are under pressure to break down data silos and simplify sharing of information internally, storage strategy will be extremely important – as is the funding to make this a reality. Factor in transfer of data belonging to incoming and outgoing customers as required by law in certain territories, and it becomes clear that effective storage lies at the heart of the utilities industry.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the utilities sector is facing unprecedented challenges, from industry disruption to changing market models. Among the most significant risks is the possibility of cyberattack, increasing the need for strengthened IT security. Disruption of the utilities model cuts both ways though. The CTO also needs to develop platforms that increase operational agility and digital transformation – like software defined storage provisions.

Effectively the utilities industry is under pressure to do more with less, and help meet the challenges of the future at the same time.

At a time when utilities companies are under pressure to break down data silos and simplify sharing of information, storage strategy will be extremely important – as is the funding to make this a reality.

How can CDS help?

As a provider of vendor-agnostic maintenance services for storage equipment from all the major vendors (EMC, NetApp, IBM, HDS, Cisco), we can help organizations in the utlilties and infrastructure industry escape the vendor-defined upgrade cycle.

Among the many ways CDS can assist are:

Interim support

The decision to switch storage providers allows your organization to take advantage of new technologies and features that support your business needs. As well as the capital outlay for the new systems, you will also need coverage for those you are migrating from. And if maintenance has lapsed, or the equipment has been declared end of service life, the cost for protecting it may be extreme.

Partnering with CDS can help to mitigate these costs however. Our team of storage experts are on-hand to deliver OEM-class maintenance and support for the outgoing hardware, ensuring everything continues to function correctly during the transition process.

Backed by a multi-million dollar spare parts inventory, and a global network of over 5000 field engineers, CDS is always on hand to assist at every stage of the project. And because we are fully conversant in hardware from all the major manufacturers, we can liaise with your new OEM’s team to further streamline the handover process.

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By maintaining platform stability, CDS help your utilities firm maintain service levels and protect profit margins.

Fully-compliant data management services

The security of your customers’ data is paramount – both in terms of protecting their privacy and upholding your compliancy obligations. Every CDS operation is designed to ensure these standards are upheld.

As well as supporting your older hardware, CDS provide a secure data migration service. Our team of specialist engineers transfer information in such a way that the data itself is never viewed – we work exclusively with the metadata to make sure that confidentiality is maintained at all times.

Where CDS provides ongoing maintenance and support services, our unique RATRIX tool is used to facilitate proactive monitoring, preventing data loss and system outage events remotely. All traffic is encrypted end-to-end to ensure that your sensitive customer data is never at risk of exposure and that you remain compliant with local data protection legislation at all times.

And as assets reach end of life, CDS can also provide secure data destruction services to prevent information leaking once hardware is retired.

Asset value reclaim

At the end of your storage migration project, or once your storage systems are surplus to requirement, our engineers can provide advice about how best to release any residual value in each asset. We will discuss options including resale of hardware, or redeployment in another role – such as providing capacity for a software defined storage platform.

From extending your development and modelling capacity, to building your own in-house private cloud, CDS can help you realise an even greater return on your storage investment. Our vendor-agnostic, post-warranty support and maintenance services can extend the lifespan of your assets for up to five more years beyond OEM end of service life.

Discover more about CDS and how we serve businesses in the utilities and infrastructure sector, please get in touch.

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