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The deregulated water industry: opportunities for digital and mobile innovation

Deregulation of the water sector in England will transform the industry with increased efficiencies, enhanced delivery of services and choice of pricing models. This deregulation will pave the way for digital and mobile innovation collaborations with English water suppliers.

Increased efficiencies, enhanced delivery of services, choice of pricing models, specialist services, better customer care – deregulation of the water market in England will transform the industry. This transformation will be driven by intensified competition between regional providers vying for business across England.

Water authorities will need to become marketing focused and commercially driven in order to compete in the market. These companies will have to be more attuned to customer needs and think more innovatively about the services they provide and how to drive efficiencies across their operations. Ultimately, deregulation means customers can choose who supplies their water, wastewater, and drainage services. Providers will have to give their customers a compelling reason to select them in a soon-to-be crowded market.

English water companies should be busy developing go-to-market and marketing strategies, along with customer acquisition and retention plans. This presents a monumental opportunity for individual water suppliers to drive enterprise growth. With the success of Scottish water companies since the industry was deregulated in 2008, English water suppliers have been set a benchmark and, with a population, ten times larger, English water companies can expect to see lucrative returns.

Scottish success story:

  • Achieved water efficiency savings in excess of £35 million
  • Experienced a 26% increase in customer satisfaction
  • Provided £20 million in savings for public sector customers over three years
  • Helped save 16 billion litres of water
  • Saved more than 28,000 tonnes of CO2

Water providers should be preparing to compete in the deregulated market by making significant investments in people, processes, and technology. Water companies will be competing in a crowded market, so it is essential that they define their core competencies and points of difference in order to align with respective marketing strategies.

Deciding what will drive the most value for the identified target consumer will define each water company’s go-to-market strategy. Providers should be looking at opportunities to differentiate their offering, including competitive pricing models, providing better service and greater innovation. Delivering innovations in customer service, metering, water efficiency and self-service, could also form part of a unique proposition to the water market.

Water companies will gain competitive advantages by driving improvements in services to end customers, lowering internal costs, increasing productivity and providing greater efficiencies across the workforce. Among the many technology options at the disposal of water companies, mobile and IoT can provide them with a multitude of innovative options to engage with customers and improve internal work processes across multiple sites and a largely field-based workforce.

Mobile can help:

  • Lower cost of operations by increasing engineer efficiency and/or effectiveness
  • Manage water quality, by equipping facilities managers or end consumers with tools to gauge water quality
  • Provide value added services, like tools providing efficiency reports on water usage
  • Support provider consolidation for large enterprise clients, through providing self-service tools or access to account information
  • Provide retail customer services including billing, account handling (payments, debt management, meter reading) and customer queries

There is a compelling opportunity for digital and mobile to help support English water companies in delivering competitive advantage in the impending deregulated water market. To see more on the role mobile technologies will play post-2017, look out for Mubaloo’s Water Industry white paper coming soon.

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Contact Mubaloo by phone +44 (0)203 327 8333 or email

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