Digital Solutions for Retail & Energy Services

Digital is transforming the customer’s journey. As retail- and energy-services firms shift their focus to the customer experience, leading companies are implementing digitally driven process improvements that cut costs, boost satisfaction, lower churn, and increase profits. Expertise in data analytics will separate the winners from the also-rans.

Customers want a fast and user-friendly digital experience in all their online transactions. Energy retailers, energy-service firms, and power and utilities companies that touch the customer need to modernize their operations, systems, and business models in order to succeed. 

Today’s leaders are using advanced technology as the basis for engaging with customers and developing new areas of growth. Companies that undergo this digital transformation are capturing the benefits of lower costs and higher revenues—and building a substantial and durable competitive advantage over rivals.

Dealing with the Data

Now that deployment of advanced digital meters is approaching ubiquity in the US and Europe, incumbent distribution companies, energy retailers, and energy-services firms are hunting for actionable intelligence in the mass of data captured by these advanced meters.

The data stream from those digital meters will likely be dwarfed by the rivers of data created by various smart-grid digital-communications technologies that transmission and distribution companies have installed on their networks to detect and react to local changes on their grids.

Although some firms have built data science departments and deployed advanced algorithms to identify and extract profitable insights, many are overwhelmed by the amount of data and are falling behind the curve.

Digital Transformation Framework

We have developed a comprehensive framework to support a full-scale digital transformation for all companies that touch the electric and gas customer. The transformation is driven by three major imperatives:


Digital transformation can’t be accomplished piecemeal. Instead, companies must digitize the core of their operations. They need to engage current and prospective customers through multiple digital channels and provide personalized services. Companies must understand evolving customer needs and adapt quickly as those needs shift.


Digital technology has created value pools for power and utilities companies beyond commodity electricity and gas. To identify and capture these opportunities, a company must be willing to disrupt its own business.


Digital energy retailers need a technology infrastructure that enables them to engage with customers in new ways and create fresh growth opportunities. They must derive meaningful customer insight through advanced analytics and other digital tools. 

But analytics alone aren’t sufficient to fully realize digital opportunities. Power and utilities companies and energy retailers must also design and implement an organizational structure that fully incorporates digital, as well as create a culture that maximizes digital’s potential.

The Impact of Digital in Power & Utilities

As part of its broader digital-transformation effort, BCG works with companies in energy retailing and services to establish self-service offerings that improve the overall customer experience. Mobile phone apps now allow customers to book an engineer, view appointment details, submit a meter read, and check energy usage. As a result, the customer journey has been significantly enhanced, costs have been reduced, customer satisfaction and loyalty have increased, and the potential for future churn has gone down. 

Robotic process automation is a central part of this transformation. This process replaces repetitive tasks—usually involving multiple legacy IT systems—with specialized software, resulting in no need for investment in major changes in IT infrastructure or the setup of costly APIs. BCG partners with retailers to set up the organization and governance of these processes in order to ensure long-term benefits. In our experience, even when a process involves only a single employee, the switch to robotic automation pays for itself in under one year.

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Center for Digital Transformation in Power & Utilities