Digital transformation is happening at an extremely fast pace, across almost every industry today. Although companies in the utility sector are also gradually embarking on the transformation journey, the pace is rather sluggish because many still face realizing the value they can create by accelerating their digital transformation program.
The power digital holds for the utility sector is massive. It can create new revenue streams and also disrupt established business models, completely revamping how the industry has been operating from the beginning: right from how they run their operations, to how they monitor their processes, serve their customers, and capitalize on new market opportunities.
But given how volatile the business landscape has become today, with economic uncertainties looming large, new players foraying, and new operating models emerging, there is immense pressure to transform the business, and transform it soon.
Here’s what utilities can gain by fast-tracking their digital transformation initiatives:
- Enable remote provisioning: Utilities are usually geographically distributed, which makes operating and monitoring them a big challenge. Mission-critical operational systems need to be provisioned in real-time while being protected from uncontrolled access and data breaches. Digital transformation, through the implementation of automation technologies, can enable utilities to remotely provision these systems: from setting up servers and networks to implementing identity and access management measures and managing data – without physically having to travel to the grid.
- Carry out real-time risk management: IT systems in the utility sector need to be constantly monitored, to detect issues and bottlenecks before they lead to a disaster, impact user experience or swell greenhouse emissions. Fast-tracking digital transformation can enable the power and utility sector to monitor systems, processes, and data in real-time and notify operators and managers of impending threats. Such real-time analysis can help in thwarting issues before they occur and enable companies to identify opportunities for improvements.
- Streamline the billing and invoicing process: Digital transformation, through the adoption of RPA, can enable utilities to streamline the billing and invoicing process. By automating repetitive, well-defined data management and processing tasks, utilities can reduce errors in the billing process, uncover insights through analytics, and provide faster invoices (and responses) to customers. Utilities can also use RPA to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions while improving the accuracy of billing and reducing operational costs.
- Improve field service management: Field service workers are often restricted by the tools they have on the field, which makes field service management run-of-the-mill. Empowering these workers with modern tools and systems can allow them to carry out field operations with far greater ease and efficiency – without continuous back-and-forth communication. By providing them with secure, reliable, responsive, scalable, and highly available tools, utilities can ensure quicker and more accurate analysis of issues, deliver better services, and boost customer satisfaction.
- Build an integrated partner ecosystem: Digital transformation can enable utilities to bring key players into a single, cohesive ecosystem. Providing producers, operators, traders, and service providers with a unified interface not only improves communication and collaboration between them; it also makes day-to-day management of complex grids, supplier/partner payments, and mediation extremely easy and straightforward. Since every stakeholder is in close collaboration with every other, issues can be looked into more easily, and opportunities can be capitalized more comprehensively.
- Enhance productivity: With digital transformation, utilities can enhance productivity through the elimination of mundane, repetitive tasks and the application of complex, rule-based algorithms to make fair, fast, and accurate decisions. By modernizing existing applications, enhancing current processes, and unearthing actionable insights, employees can have the capabilities they need, when they need them – to efficiently do their jobs. By giving employees their time back to do high-value and creative work, utilities can enhance resource utilization while also achieving faster ROI and greater revenue growth.
For some time now, the power and utility sector has been
slowly, but gradually, transforming their business using the power of digital. By embracing modern digital technologies, they are able to drastically alter the scope of their activities and respond to the emergence of new players and tech disruptions – thus transforming their operating model across the entire value chain.
Given how quickly business dynamics are changing, fast-tracking digital transformation initiatives is the only way to revamp operations, define new product and service offerings, and reshape go-to-market strategies to support new business initiatives.