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How Energy and Utilities Organizations Can Maximize Return On Technology Investments

 


You’ve been reading it for nearly a decade: technology advances will change the way your business works. In response, you’ve invested in new tech for your organization, hoping to take advantage of the new opportunities created by innovation.

For many organizations, the investment is delivering results, but there is untapped potential. Companies have evolved quickly and have risked efficiency for speed. How can you improve the outcomes of your investments in tech?

It starts with a shift in thinking. Utility providers have approached their Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) departments as distinctly separate parts of their organization. IT is responsible for supporting functions like billing, customer service, inventory or accounting. OT handles grid technologies like SCADA systems, independent sensors and other distributed data management systems.

Organizations need to see IT and OT as branches on the same tree. If you continue treating them as separate entities, it will become increasingly difficult to adapt to the increasing number of connected systems and devices on the grid. The two departments need to collaborate for you to achieve the results you’re aiming for and meet the expectations of key stakeholders.

Regulators are increasing their scrutiny of utility companies, focusing on their ability to restore power quickly and efficiently, operating the grid securely, and tracking their year-over-year costs. By aligning IT and OT, you can meet these expectations and reduce your costs.

Now, where do you start? Aligning two departments is easy to suggest and much harder to accomplish, especially if your organization doesn’t have the knowledge in-house to accomplish this.

Our Energy and Utilities technology team, with over two decades of experience in building data warehouses, data lakes, machine learning and applications at scale, can help you bridge the gap.  Through a deep understanding of the energy and utilities industry, our applied data team can support you in building your data strategy, target operating model and a roadmap for digital transformation. We work to understand your goals, whether that’s adding a new revenue channel, driving down costs, improving service levels or lowering risk, and then tailor an action plan to achieve those goals.

A collaborative approach is critical to creating successful alignment. We start by establishing multidisciplinary groups, including stakeholders from IT, OT and business function leadership. Creating this group leads to a stronger integration effort because the team is working together to find solutions utilizing tech, not having a third-party group come in and force tech with limited application and change adoption issues.

As an example, MNP’s team built a solution to predict maintenance requirements for wind farm blades, by analyzing images of the blade taken by drones, and forecasting energy demand while driving a +200% growth in profitability. This project lead by MNP Digital (formerly T4G) won the Data Innovation Impact Award from Microsoft.

To read more about this project, click here.

We also understand that tech is more than a one-time transformation. Tech change is an ongoing process, including periodic reviews of your data connections as the network evolves, ensuring your systems remain integrated and you can access the same information.

Integrating your IT and OT silos have the potential to help you reach the tech advances you were expecting when you made your investment. To learn more about how we can help, contact Gord Chalk, Consulting Leader, Energy and Utilities, at 403.647.4123 or [email protected]