Oracle Utilities has unveiled a new research paper, titled ‘Utility Innovation Blueprint: How to Manage the Challenge of Dual Transformation,’ providing a perspective on how utilities can approach innovation across their people, processes and technology.
Prepared in conjunction with Navigant Research, the paper includes short case studies and "an action-oriented framework that offers a global perspective from executives interviewed in the United States, Europe, and Asia/Australia, across electric, gas, and water utilities."
In a company release, Oracle highlights that historically utilities have focused on core business objectives, namely, safety, security, reliability and shareholder returns. However, with the massive amount of disruption currently occurring within the industry, they are also experiencing fundamental changes to "business as usual."
The white paper explains that simply knowing that disruption is coming is not enough. A blueprint for a transformation path is required, one that needs to be agile and pragmatic.
Utilising a dual innovation blueprint, whereby a utility pursues two tracks simultaneously: one focuses on increasing the efficiency and resiliency of the core business, while the second centers around increasing agility to enable the iteration of new business models.
According to the report, utilities looking to address innovation challenges should:
- Adopt a set of processes that will optimise the success of innovation projects by evaluating accountability by project type, balancing finance with risk, and constantly monitoring progress.
- Understand which technologies will enable innovation by digitizing then automating, deploying cloud analytics and iterating on new services.
- Create a culture in which innovation can flourish by securing executive sponsorship, embracing new organizational perspectives and empowering employees.
“Changing business culture to incorporate innovation is one of the hardest things to do. Innovation teams must influence the business, but this can be very difficult to achieve. Increased communication around innovation is critical” said Ian Cameron, head of innovation, UK Power Networks.
“Utilities are increasingly facing the challenge of how to maintain reliability while simultaneously operating in an agile manner conducive to innovation,” said Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Utilities. “We believe the framework for dual innovation described in this paper provides an actionable model for utilities to respond to disruption.”