Utility providers have a fundamental role to play in our transition to more sustainable living. Mike Carruthers, General Manager – UK & Europe at Gentrack, unpacks the learnings of 30+ years of partnering with utilities on their transformation journeys by summing up the four key areas for success.
Two hundred of the world’s leading utility providers are expected to embark on transformation journeys over the next two years, leaving legacy systems behind to enable them to meet this mission-critical challenge and create exciting solutions and better customer experiences.
How do they ensure a successful transformation journey and lead the way to recharge, reshape and renew for a more sustainable tomorrow, while unlocking significant bottom line savings?
Utilities providers face a perfect storm of rising wholesale prices, political pressures, sustainability targets, regulatory change, consumer struggles with the cost of living and the impact on debt across utilities as a result, as well as demands for better customer experience.
But they also need to protect profitability.
Exciting opportunities to deliver innovative new services, better digital engagement and develop new revenue streams are within reach – and they come from delivering successful transformations.
Moving from legacy systems to deliver successful transformations can help utilities providers reap the rewards of leaner, faster operations, supporting them to control complexity and go beyond improved customer experience to lead in total experience. This results in tangible business benefits: up to a 30% reduction in cost-to-serve as well as improvements in debt management and the percentage of unbilled customers; and also demonstrates how successful transformations can make a quantifiable difference to the bottom line by improving and protecting profitability.
However, the first step in this journey can be daunting. We know from experience that it needn’t be.
So, what makes a successful digital transformation? The biggest driver for achieving success is that the system replacement is seen and managed as part of the overall business strategy, not as a standalone project. A successful digital transformation is therefore dependent on the system replacement and business adoption of the new technology working together in harmony. To truly unlock the potential benefits, it should be a business-led transformation – not technology-led.
We’ve summarised our learnings into four key areas of focus to help anyone about to embark on this exciting opportunity, leaving behind clunky, legacy systems – with their many ‘workarounds’ and Excel spreadsheets – and embracing the chance to drive efficiencies, innovate for a better customer experience, and drive more effective operations:
1. Right scope & partner from the start
Getting the scope of a project right and understanding what it’s designed to achieve is crucial from the off, as is choosing the right vendor, with credibility and proven expertise to partner with you on the journey.
2. Know where to invest expertise
Understanding the strengths of your staff in-house and where they can add value is key. Taking them on the digital transformation journey with you is too.
3. Go steady, not slow
Slight delays to a transformation’s timeline are often to be expected, but when the scope begins to creep or expertise is lost to other areas of the business, it can end up running away completely. But a transformation cannot be rushed either, so it’s crucial to go steady, but not slowly, so that once it’s delivered it’s fully adopted and delivers the benefits it set out to achieve.
4. Get the data right
Time should be taken to do data analysis and research the market thoroughly. Identifying where there may be gaps in data is vital, as is investing in getting the data right and testing it using real scenarios.
There are so many benefits to be had through successful transformation, and at a time of increasing volatility, it is crucial utilities providers don’t miss out.