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Gartner: Keys to Utility Digitalization

Jenna Harvey, Global Manager, Emerging Industries
May 7, 2019

Last year, many utilities took the initiative to adopt digital technologies. Now in 2019, over one-third of utilities are scaling their efforts, demonstrating proof ofdigitalization's value for the sector.

As utilities take this vital leap, how can they ensure success? Gartner recommends theybalance optimization of existing resources with initiatives for digital transformation. Read on for an overview on why this balance is important and tips for getting there.

"37% of utilities are moving their digitalization efforts from initiating to scaling asignificant leap from last year."

- Gartner

Optimizing resources

Utilities today are primarily using digital technologies to optimize their existingprocesses for example, automating processes to boost operational efficiency and costsavings or leveraging data to improve asset performance and customer engagement.

Think drones for asset inspection, artificial intelligence (AI) for predictive maintenance,the Internet of Things (IoT) for grid-based generation, and robotic process automation(RPA) for customer service.Optimization is a logical place to start, given utilities' large customer bases and theasset-intensive nature of their business. But it's only one part of the digitalizationjourney.

Transforming revenues

Game-changing technologies such as AI, IoT, cloud, and automation must also beleveraged for digital transformation, which Gartner defines as revenue generation fromdigitally enabled products and services.According to Gartner: "If you are not developing, partnering, or investing in new digitalbusiness ventures for the new distributed energy world, the competition, traditional ornew, could steal your business."

Consider how digital innovation might support new business models in generation,production, trading, or customer services for example:

    • Blockchain for electric vehicle charging networks

    • Peer-to-peer energy exchanges

    • Services for distributed energy resources (e.g., solar and virtual power plants)

    • Digital products for home energy management

Meanwhile, as utility businesses become increasingly information-centric, they can'toverlook the significance of data and analytics. Imagine how data analytics can drawout even more insight from the information collected by intelligent devices such as network sensors, drones, and smart meters.

Scaling efforts through a balanced approach

As digitalization becomes a top priority for utility CIOs, they must work with stakeholdersfrom IT and business to pursue digital optimization and digital transformation.The full report Gartner 2019 CIO Agenda: Utility Industry Insights is a "must read" for insights on:

    • Where utilities are focusing their digital innovation efforts

    • How they are balancing the demand for digital optimization with theimperative for digital transformation

    • Recommendations for adopting digital technologies and transforming into adigital utility

To learn more on how Appian is helping energy organizations to realize their digital potential and achieve impressive results,

Jenna Harvey

Industry Marketing Manager