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Process Automation Key as Digital Transformation Takes Hold Among Utilities

Joshua Hoffman
May 20, 2015

Utility operators are facing a changing operational climate as grid modernization takes hold. Upgrading grid functionality to provide more reliable, sustainable and cost-efficient energy is only the beginning of the process. Utilities need to leap off of this technological upgrade and start operate in a way that improves their ability to interact with an increasingly digital world. Business process management solutions can offer this functionality in a variety of ways, with process automation capabilities as the foundation for innovation in diverse areas.

However, process innovation needs to extend into internal operations. Automating key business processes is one of the foundational elements of this step forward that must eventually include a move toward digitization across the industry.

Utility operators are a prime example of organizations that can benefit from process innovation. Utility operators are a prime example of organizations that can benefit from process innovation.

Understanding the need for process innovation in distribution

The distribution segment of utility operations is becoming more complex all the time. The news source explained that distribution increasingly comes down to much more than just engineering tasks. Distributed generation models and other emerging trends have created an environment in which distribution processes must be aligned with specific customer requirements. This adds a layer of complexity that was not present in the past, and utilities need to refine their operations to meet these demands.

Process automation is a critical component of innovation when it comes to internal distribution operations, the report said. As customers and internal stakeholders become more diverse across the grid landscape, operators must be able to refine their processes to support these needs. Process automation provides the foundation for efficiency that is needed to enable digital innovation throughout the business.

"Process innovation needs to extend into internal operations."

Finding the automation sweet spot

Process automation offers organizations new opportunities to improve operational efficiency by allowing repeatable tasks to be handled by software instead of a human. It is possible to over automate, but don't let horror stories about eliminating the key human factor of business scare you away. Instead, the automation sweet spot is struck when you are able to automate the tedious manual process that slow operations down and, in doing so, empower your employees to work more creatively. In this way, process automation drives innovation and value creation. BPM tools can help utility operators - or any industry that is trying to diversify its digital functionality - free their workers from tedium and help them work in more intuitive, social ways.