Much has been written about the ongoing Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution. As with any technological innovation, there will be a period of disruption where the old norms are replaced by new norms. While there may be concerns about the motivations of persons using it, AI stands to transform how the Demand Side Management (DSM) business is conducted. AI can help utilities and program administrators optimize their DSM programs by providing data-driven insights, automating tasks, and enhancing customer engagement. Coupled with a Business Process Management Solution (BPMS), AI can improve the performance and outcomes of energy efficiency programs.
BPMSs are software platforms that enable organizations to design, execute, monitor, and improve their business processes to achieve their goals and objectives. For example, a business process for a DSM program may include steps such as identifying potential customers, conducting energy audits, providing incentives, verifying savings, and reporting results. A BPMS can help DSM program administrators manage their business processes more efficiently and effectively. A BPMS can provide features such as:
• Process modeling to help program administrators create and modify their business processes using graphical tools and templates.
• Process execution to help program administrators automate and coordinate their business processes across different systems, departments, and stakeholders.
• Process monitoring to help program administrators track and measure the performance of their business processes using dashboards, reports, and alerts.
• Process improvement to help program administrators identify and resolve issues, bottlenecks, and inefficiencies in their business processes by using analytics and feedback.
In administering complex energy efficiency programs, a BPMS is a necessity. With developments in AI, a BPMS is potentially an even more powerful tool for managing programs. With AI incorporated into BPMS, new capabilities are possible such as:
• Enhanced data analysis: AI can analyze large and complex data sets from various sources, such as smart meters, sensors, weather stations, and customer surveys. AI can then assist program administrators in discovering patterns, trends, anomalies, and correlations in the data that can provide valuable insights for improving their business processes.
• Improved data visualization: AI can help program administrators present their data analysis results in an intuitive and interactive way using charts, graphs, and maps. AI can help program administrators communicate their findings and recommendations to different audiences.
• Advanced-Data Prediction: AI can help program administrators forecast future outcomes and scenarios based on historical data and current conditions. AI can help program administrators anticipate customer behavior, energy demand, savings potential, and program costs.
A BPMS such as eTRACK+ can make an immediate impact on the implementation of DSM programs. eTRACK+ is a flexible, configurable, and scalable solution that can meet your needs. While an AI-coupled BPMS may arrive in the near future, AI is already facilitating certain functions like code writing and document preparation. Incorporating AI into the process management systems is a very logical next step.
Written by – Michael Stockard
Michael Stockard is an independent consultant at Stockard Energy Advising and is a member of the Advisory Panel at ANB Systems. Michael has over 40 years of experience in the design and implementation of demand-side management programs.