A distribution management system (DMS) is a large-scale control system that serves as the brain of the power distribution network and supports all aspects of utility grid operations. Third-generation advanced DMSs offer a common user experience across many integrated distribution applications that share one common network model. Simply put, the DMS is the user interface to critical distribution infrastructure. Despite significant barriers to faster DMS uptake, this market will likely see steady growth over the next several years. According to a new report from Navigant Research, the worldwide DMS market will grow from $507 million in 2013 to $935 million in 2020.

“Following in the wake of large smart grid deployments, information technology upgrades are driving the rollout of advanced distribution management systems in the near term,” says Kristoffer Torvik, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “Also contributing to advances in this space is a range of benefits including increased reliability and cost-effective optimization. Moreover, rapidly growing interest in integrating distributed energy resources, motivated by renewables integration and demand response programs, is spurring innovation.”

Utilities of all sizes have installed management systems such as supervisory control and data acquisition, outage management systems, DMS, or a combination of the three. Smaller utilities must often fit their modernization efforts into tight operational expenditure budgets, while the bigger utilities typically have larger capital expenditure budgets. In either case, according to the report, utility managers must strike a balance between the benefits provided by a DMS and the cost of procuring, installing, operating, and maintaining the system.