Australian Energy Supplier Uses Alation to Accelerate Digital Transformation

A wind farm and solar panels

Challenge: Siloed data hinders digital transformation

The client is an Australian energy company with distribution, retail, and energy services businesses. Like most utility organisations worldwide, it is making the leap from a traditional network to a digital energy market. To stick the landing, it must resolve data gaps beforehand. 

Luckily, the company is no stranger to innovation. It has created a vast poles-and-wires network alongside a roadmap for sustainable energy consumption. In the past five years, the company has undergone significant growth, creating a complex and challenging data landscape. Disparate systems led to duplicative work, reduced data quality, and increased the time needed to make data-backed decisions. 

To overcome their data silos, the company embarked on a Databricks Lakehouse Platform migration. For the data team, a successful migration meant ensuring users could find and trust the migrated data. Leaders also sought a roadmap to enhance data maturity; this roadmap would ensure that the company becomes more business, safety, and customer-focused far into the future.

Objectives:

The energy supplier’s data management team sought to:

  • Reduce the duplication of work in searching for and assessing the viability of data

  • Improve enterprise-wide data literacy and trust in data quality

  • Enhance collaboration across the enterprise

The team sought to deploy a user-friendly data management platform to achieve these goals. 

Solution: Curation boosts smarter data usage

“We needed a data catalog tool that everyone wants to use to help us improve our enterprise data literacy,” says a data management lead at the utility. “We knew that a data catalog with active data governance principles would help reduce data duplication and workloads and, importantly, build a new level of trust in data quality.” The team chose Alation because of its ease of use and accessibility for both technical and business users. 

Curating data enables leaders to reduce duplication of information. To this end, they use Alation’s QLI feature to identify valued data to migrate to their Lakehouse. The data team is also overhauling data classification to improve user controls and use cases for private data. Improved classification will also enhance data privacy protection and reduce the operational costs of prolonged searches. 

“The implementation of Alation is part of our phased approach to curating data and ensuring we remain compliant with an active data governance framework,” says the data management lead.  “It’s not just numbers – our teams can see customer and network statistics and graphs. [They can] assess the overall meaning of information to confidently analyse what is at their fingertips.”

Results: Planning for the future with Alation

As the utility transitions towards a digital energy market, it will use Alation’s products to provide enterprise-wide visibility into their data. This includes network visibility for market planning and new transparency benchmarks to support consumers. As the company introduces more sustainable energy options, it will need in-depth customer metrics to plan smarter grids, plus real-time insights into changing consumer needs and behaviors. (For example: Where should new EV charging stations be installed?)

A better understanding of data, with easier, governed access, will also reduce duplicative work and search times, reducing costs. “Our vision is to build a very data-driven organisation with a major focus on technology-enabled business data and decision-making,” the data manager shares. “Adopting Alation helps us deliver an intelligent platform to further accelerate and enable the business's success."

The Alation Professional Services Right Start team, whom the data manager describes as “extremely knowledgeable and efficient,” provides key support to the utility. “The Alation Right Start team is very adaptive to our needs and has great insights into the challenges we are going through,” she continues. “This means they can advise and guide us towards the best results. This includes the technical implementation, configuration, and data governance. It's a whole package."      

“I have had considerable experience implementing a customer-focused and mission-critical data program with the Alation Data Catalog previously,” concludes the data manager. “I see great synchronicity with the improvements and benefits achieved in that program that I can apply for our staff and consumers.”

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About the Australian Energy Supplier

Industry

Energy & Utilities

Use Case

Data discovery, governance

Data Platforms

AWS, Databricks, Power BI

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