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Jul 31, 2023 Britt Cohen

14 Memorable Customer Quotes from Let’s Go Customer Panel: Regulatory Data in Today’s Operational Landscape

We had the pleasure of hosting colleagues, customers, prospects, and industry peers at the 2023 annual Let’s Go event in Birmingham, AL this past July. The itinerary included technical discussions, inspirational speeches, and sneak peeks galore of where energy regulatory data management is headed. But among the more inspirational events at the conference were our customer panels, in which real HData users got together to talk about the role our platform has had in their day-to-day lives and where they hope we’ll take the technology next. You can bet we were feverishly taking notes along the way. Read on for 3 top themes that emerged from the discussion and 14 customer quotes that especially stood out. 

Panel participants were: 

  • Susan Gamble - Rate Design at Alabama Power Company
  • Brian Rose - Treasury at Alabama Power
  • Carissa Ledbetter - currently at Southern Company, but spoke most about her recent role in peer metric analysis in the treasury department of Alabama Power

THEME 1: Manual Data Collection Is Painstaking and Prevalent 

CARISSA: “We painfully worked through getting manual data out of different sources. It would take us months, months to be able to put together analysis and get data keyed into where we could actually come to the table and say how we compare to our peers, here is the variance, and here’s the explanation between the two of those.”

BRIAN: “In my world as an analyst, what HData has done is save time from just pulling data - manually pulling data like some high schooler can do - so now I can actually take this data and produce it into some kind of reporting.”

CARISSA: “We used to look at things annually, but that’s because we were limited. With HData, we can look at it quarterly. If we’re looking at it quarterly, we can look at the variation between our peers and actually analyze what’s actually happening instead of having to spend so much time making sure the data is accurate. And now, we can respond to ad hoc requests without having to say we have to get our data together first. We’re able to dive into HData and pull information fairly quickly. A lot of efficiencies have been gained in a short period of time.”

BRIAN: “In terms of peer metrics, we’ve made significant progress over our old manual process in collecting data. It’s legwork upfront, just because we have a specific need in looking at the expense side of the equation. But even that heavy lift was days of formula writing, not months. Once we got there, it’s a couple clicks of a button - drag this here, look at our peer group - and we have the data. What it’s done is consolidated our process, but all the data is still there.”

BRIAN: “This was typically a once-a-year kind of look, but we can update it to run more frequently or even expand it across other utilities. It’s been really good for us, it’s saved us a lot of time, and helped us out in our process.”

BRIAN: “It’s a value add. Instead of taking the 3 months to gather the data and finally getting to review and analyze it, it’s a much quicker process and we can be a lot more prepared and dig in a lot deeper to variances against other utilities for our quarterly calls.” 


THEME 2: You Don’t Have to Be Technical to Use HData

BRIAN: “It becomes live data that any executive can pull up in the palm of their hands, simply on their phone. They can be in a meeting and a question will come up, ‘What is the ROE of Duke?’ and it’s just click click, there it is.”

BRIAN: “I find it really intuitive. I’m a bit technical and I can stumble around this program pretty easily. The problem with being so tech driven sometimes is that you get a new analyst in and their tech skills aren’t up to par. HData is simplistic in its nature such that someone who isn’t very technical can get a couple hours crash course, and they’re off and running.”

CARISSA: “My favorite thing about HData is - I don’t have an accounting background, I went finance and I went engineering; I understand the accounting function but my brain doesn’t work that way. The intuitiveness, the search function in FERC form 1, that I don’t have to search through the whole thing to find what I need is amazing. Not only amazing, it’s really easy to use and honestly is the only way I was able to create formulas in that tool is because I could plug the number from FERC form 1 and know that it’s accurate and it’s the number I wanted to grab and then put it into the system. That’s my favorite part.”

SUSAN: “One of my favorite things is that the HData tool meets power user needs but also meets the needs of someone who’s an executive maybe. I call them a “cruiser user” - they’re just cruising around looking at the highlights. That is my favorite part, that they’re able to do that, to have those pre-built functions in.”


THEME 3: It Helps Expand the Team

SUSAN: “It is almost like having a new employee that can analyze data so quickly. We’ve had a lot of turnover in our group. Having a tool that’s already programmed means the person coming in - there’s a whole piece they don’t even have to learn now because it’s already been developed and it’s easy to pass along to the next analyst. So as a new analyst comes in, they’re set up to start analyzing right away”

SUSAN: “In bringing in a new analyst who’s never seen a FERC Form 1, the fact that he was able to jump in from a knowledge point of view so quickly is a huge win.” 

BRIAN: “That’s where Regulatory AI comes in. [The new person] can ask it something simple, and it can go ‘that is here, here, here’ for them.”

The panelists were generous in their storytelling, their feedback, and their ideas about how HData can continue to improve. We’re taking notes on expanded data sets and improved functionality to heart right away. But in terms of what this technology has meant for their experience of the work so far? Susan’s quote from the very beginning of the session sums it up well: “This [technology] is moving at the speed of light, we are usually running  a marathon but with HData we’re sprinting.”

Are you interested in learning more about the HData platform and what it can help your team do? Sign up for free access today.

Published by Britt Cohen July 31, 2023