Current Digital Transformation Trends within the Utilities Sector
Changing Customer Expectations
Digital channels are fast becoming the most popular way for consumers to interact with brands. They want these experiences to be faster than phone channels and they expect relevance and personalisation. As such, every B2C organisation is expected to provide retail-like experiences. With rising expectations, utilities organisations are expected to respond. Therefore, the trend has been shifting more and more to proactive customer services, transforming customer service agents from reactive problem solvers to proactive trusted advisors. But this is only possible if the architecture supports providing the right person with the right data and information at the right time.
Setting Digital as a Priority
In this digital era we live in today, change is not just inevitable but has become a requirement for survival. But it’s not for the faint-hearted. With any change, there’s risk. Risk of not delivering on the value required to keep up with competitors, risk new digital business processes won’t be adopted. But it all boils down to the biggest risk of all, the risk of being left behind. As such, digital has progressively risen to the top of board room agendas, and it’s down to leadership to deliver a new innovative, connected, and digital culture in keeping with the times. It must take the leap and leave the comfort of old working practices that have been developed over decades to embrace a change literate workforce that seeks out innovation rather than cowers at the thought of it. Only when change becomes a habit that gets people excited rather than fearful, will true transformation be realised.
Reigning in an era of innovation is more easily said than done. Businesses are recognising they need to come up with innovative ways to transform their core business processes, but driving change at the heart of the business requires a dramatic shift in mindset. Old ways of working need to be completely left behind and only few will have the creativity and the bravery to reimagine processes from the ground up. This is often the hurdle that is too big to overcome, particularly for large businesses that have built up a strong ‘immune system’ against change. Would you expect any differently in a sector that has never experienced this level of disruption before?
A solution some businesses have been exploring is running sidecar businesses. This involves creating a new business model by taking an innovation team out of the day-to-day BAU and allowing it to operate with the creativity and autonomy required to achieve true innovation. This might seem like a drastic approach but it has led to a lot of success with organisations forming separate ‘X’ organisations with a tech profile, its own branding and clear purpose. I expect to see more and more of these cropping up in the Utilities sector.
At the start of the pandemic, we all witnessed and lived through one of the biggest workforce shifts in living memory – the transition to working from home. To make this feasible, many organisations had to very rapidly shift to cloud-based solutions. For many of us this completely changed the way that we work. But the ramifications for businesses in the utilities sector were even more far reaching than that. Due to the security, regulatory and governance implications of running national utilities infrastructure from home, the sector had to pivot a lot more than others.
But this has actually become a big opportunity, the opportunity to completely transform operations. This means creating an anytime, anywhere environment that goes beyond just connecting an individual’s individual device and ensures they have the necessary data and information they need to perform their work remotely in a secure, regulated way. This trend is seemingly only going to gather more pace over time. In fact, 74% of companies have said that they will permanently transition to more remote work post pandemic rather than just switching back to old working ways.
Internet of Things Data Volume
Over the coming years more and more of a company’s infrastructure will be transformed into a smart estate. If there’s one statistic that summarises it, it’s this: 90% of all data that exists today has been generated in the last two years alone. This will be made up of assets and control devices creating reams and reams of data on status, usage, anomalies, and events. This data needs to be collected, stored, and processed in order to create the insights and trend analysis that is paramount to offering the proactive experience discussed above. Having sensors in place drastically improves responsiveness if an asset goes above or below a threshold, or it can be monitored for usage to manage predictive maintenance. Similarly, data can be aggregated to make AI recommendations such as automated scheduling of work orders. This trend is only going to gather more and more momentum in the coming years.
With momentum behind these trends snowballing, the only question remains how do businesses make sure they ride the wave of opportunity?
Ultimately, businesses will have to rely on technology partners and trusted advisory partners to deliver an effective digital transformation programme. The NowPlatform created by ServiceNow has the ability to bring your digital transformation onto a single platform, with a single architecture and a single source of truth. This allows you to digitise your processes end-to-end using workflows to reimagine and automate how you currently operate. To help you implement this will require an advisor that you trust, not just with the short-term future of your organisation but also the long-term. Crossfuze is the leading ServiceNow Implementation partner in the ecosystem when it comes to putting the customer first.
If you would be interested in discussing with us how ServiceNow as a technology, and Crossfuze as a business partner, can support you with your digital transformation programme, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or with me personally at email@example.com.