Digitally Powered Utility : Digitally Powered Utility
11 | Building the digitally powered utility of the future An Australian perspective Nearly 60% of the global utility workforce is aged over 40 years13 Case study A leading UK infrastructure operator was under increasing pressure to improve operational effciency and safety, realise fnancial savings and increase the capacity available to its customers on its network. The company determined the need to increase its enterprise-wide view on network and asset information leveraging visualisation, analytics and mobile. EY worked with the client to structure the major IT and business transformation programme, setting out a clear vision and roadmap. A strong focus was establishing upfront and ongoing engagement with the workforce. Through agile and accelerated delivery, the programme has delivered a detailed and multi-layered visualisation of the network, with decision support tools realising millions of pounds in savings. The company now has a mobile- enabled workforce. Using tablet computers, regularly released apps and augmented reality, engineers can visualise infrastructure and diagnose faults remotely, saving time, reducing operations and maintenance costs and improving safety. But the success of these initiatives is not due solely to the technology but the fact that these digital solutions were implemented with a focus on the people using them, who played a key role in the development of these apps and tools. Engage and empower the workforce via digital Imagine if a feld worker could be guided by an expert in another region through augmented reality technology. Just as utilities tackle the challenges of an ageing workforce, they face an urgent need to acquire digital-savvy employees with the skills and capabilities needed to build a digitally enabled, customer-centric utility. The battle to attract talent with the right technological and customer skills, as well as an entrepreneurial mindset, pits utilities against almost every other global industry, many of which are far more advanced than they are when positioning themselves as employers of choice. Energy companies will need to drive a culture of ambition, boldness and agility if they are to attract staff with the right skills and then make the most of this potential to help become a utility of the future. They will also need to be mindful of bringing current long-term employees on the journey into this future as well, ensuring that their experience and knowledge is respected and transferred to the next generation of workers. In the future, digital tools and insights will improve the productivity and job satisfaction of a utility's workforce and, crucially, enhance the customer experience. For example: • Analytics can predict potential customer issues and proactive options for workforce responses. • Real-time data and digital channels can allow quicker resolution of customer issues — fxed frst time with closed loop real-time feedback. In many industries, digital technology is already making feld work safer, more effcient and with less environmental impact. For some utilities, gaining innovative skills quickly may be best achieved through partnerships while others may consider spinning off separate "innovation hubs". These may better give employees the room to collaborate on projects in entrepreneurial environments that allow the freedom to innovate quickly, fail quickly and learn fast. • Fieldworkers can be better directed to where they are needed and access real-time information to enable faster response to problems. • Service delivery personnel can use apps and other mobility tools to directly engage with end consumers and improve both the customer and employee experience. • Building a "digital twin" of the network that is continually refreshed with data from LiDAR and other sources can ensure that feld crews are working proactively and minimise disruptive "false alarms". • Smart wearables could ensure safer working in high risk situations. "A company that embeds an 'intrapreneurial' spirit is able to encourage innovation and therefore raise productivity and effciency. An added beneft is that it curbs high levels of employee turnover and will help in the long-term with attracting new talent." Nancy Altobello, EY Global Vice Chair, Talent "Innovative utilities across Europe are embracing digital to enhance grid intelligence, optimise work processes and improve effciency across the value chain." Benoit Laclau, Global Power & Utilities Leader, EY 13. Source: EnergyCentral, energybiz website, www.energybiz.com/event/webcast/aging-utility-workforce-business-impacts-and-strategies.