PwC’s COVID-19 US CFO Pulse Survey unearthed the growing concern of utility companies regarding the financial turmoil, supply chain disruptions, and decreasing workforce productivity in Q2 2020. Regrettably, not much has changed since then, with the pandemic threat still looming large in Q1 2022.
So, it comes as no surprise that the utility sector is undergoing a long-term transformation, driven by the convergence of new technologies, customer demands, global regulatory changes, and rapid digitalization.
“Consider if the crisis can be used as a catalyst to usher in the future of work by rethinking how and where work is done and accelerating adoption of automation and digital capabilities.” – Felipe Requejo, ER&I leader at Deloitte
While the shift away from large, centralized infrastructure is helping in boosting business performance, it is also creating a new set of challenges. One such challenge is the rise in sophistication of the systems underpinning complex industrial processes — combined with an apparent failure to keep pace with changes occurring on a global scale. This has left a gap in the ability of the utility sector to monitor and manage their assets, affecting how they think about and do business.
Thus, the endgame is a move towards more modern, intelligent, flexible, and automated systems that will drive increased levels of digitization across the entire utility value chain. This translates to the need to adopt a new way of thinking and managing a rapidly expanding suite of options.
To make this shift, utility companies must take the lead on the actual development of new systems. And it begins with implementing low-code/no-code solutions that can:
- re-engineer traditional processes
- design highly integrated and energy-efficient service systems
- respond to dynamic regulatory conditions in real-time, etc.
How Low-Code/No-Code Solutions Can Help Utility Companies
Low-code/no-code solutions are key to automating and streamlining the design and rollout of new utility products or services that seek to meet the needs of the connected world. In general, they can provide a “code-free” solution to designing and building application logic, interfaces, data models, and business rules – based on the needs of the organization.
As such, they can address challenges across the entire lifecycle of the utility system, from product and service design to data integration and management, analytics, and governance. To that end, let’s look at some of the benefits and opportunities that come with a utility organization’s move toward low-code/no-code.
More Promising Business Processes
Lowering barriers to change and streamlining the transition to a new standard is central to achieving greater organizational agility. By addressing the entirety of the benefits/risk model, low-code/no-code solutions can help to avoid lost time and wasted efforts by ensuring full system integration.
The new breed of business analysts can save significant amounts of time and effort by relying on low-code/no-code to create and deploy new systems in a matter of minutes — not months. This is one of the major contributing factors to the tremendous growth (CAGR of 26.1%) of low-code platforms since 2020.
Using cloud-based collaboration tools and platforms, application development teams can tap into a broader range of technologies and processes from their competition — all while benefiting from a centralized repository of components.
Efficient Resource Utilization
Increasing adherence to delivering on the needs of customers and regulators continues to drive the demand for energy systems that are more cost-effective, efficient, and intelligent. Low-code/no-code solutions can automate the creation of more robust and feature-rich solutions that respond to ever-changing conditions by leveraging off-the-shelf components.
Data Analytics & Integration
These tools provide the foundation for more sophisticated business intelligence services that give utility companies greater insight and control over their networks. With the ability to manage and visualize both structured and unstructured data, organizations can make better decisions around critical resources, service provision, and infrastructure.
” Industry research suggests that utilities which apply customer analytics and big data to their decision-making are 23 times more likely to outperform their competitors compared with those that do not.”
A critical element of the strategic approach should be the empowerment of data-driven problem solvers. Low-code/no-code tools can help boost creativity by removing many structured technology constraints and allowing employees to build what they need and when they need it.
As utilities look to expand their reach into new markets and service sectors, they will need solutions that can be easily customized to align with industry-specific regulations and support regulatory compliance. Low-code/no-code tools can lend themselves to this purpose by facilitating a “code-free” platform that can be easily adapted to address local, regional, or national requirements.
In the event of a natural disaster or system failure, low-code/no-code solutions can serve as a lifeline for organizations. This is especially true when it comes to remote assets that have been designed to operate autonomously. And, due to their ability to deliver an operating platform that can be significantly customized and configured, these applications are particularly well-suited for utilities seeking a more distributed energy model.
A New Approach to the Digital Transformation of Utility Systems
The evolution of low-code/no-code platforms – along with open standards and processes – are all part of a broader, fundamental shift toward more agile business practices. However, this shift alone won’t be enough.
Consumers have well-documented expectations for increased transparency and the ability to communicate at their will. This presents a significant challenge for utilities, which are challenged by different regulatory bodies regarding their energy management practices.
To help navigate this new reality, utility organizations must utilize a services-based approach that allows them to be agile and able to respond more quickly to dynamic conditions and needs. As elucidated above, this is where low-code/no-code platforms can prove essential.
Connect with us to learn more about how you can transform your business with low-code/no-code technologies.