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How Digital Transformation Will Save Power Utilities Projects

The Power Utilities industry faces an unique series of challenges both now, and as we move into the future. When 2020 began, the Power Utilities industry was already in the middle of a sustained period of change – growing demand, decarbonization initiatives, and the move toward a smart grid. Then, COVID-19 forced a series of emergency adaptations to a completely new operating environment. And it won’t stop there, more change is certain to come.

“There are likely to be more changes in the next ten years than there have been in the previous 100 as the grid is made ‘smart’.” – Deloitte

The way in which the power utilities companies react to the most pressing challenges now could have a major bearing on their future. Capital investment in major infrastructure projects and new product development has slowed dramatically, but the need for increased visibility, control and efficiency has never been greater.

Digital Transformation for Power Utilities Projects

The disruption of COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation in almost every industry. It caused a systemic shift in technology adoption, from the very beginning of the pandemic.

For the Power Utilities industry, there are two key factors driving the move toward digital technologies. According to McKinsey, it has become apparent that to survive in the wake of COVID, companies must get to the next level on cost efficiency and adaptability. Second, the pandemic forced companies to abandon business as usual, providing a strong incentive to be more digital and lowering the barriers that typically slowed or stopped digital initiative.

Investment in digital technology is already proving to be worthwhile for power utilities. From improvements in production, to efficiency gain and cost reduction, to increased revenue – it is clear the extent to which organizations invest in digital initiatives now will determine how competitive they are in the future:

Source: PwC

A Practical Approach to Digital Transformation

While the benefits of investing in digital technology are undeniable, it is equally important how you invest.

“Companies increasingly need each employee to bring greater digital skills to bear on every activity. That’s the only way to unleash innovation and capture efficiencies at an institutional level. For executives, the first step is to identify digital priorities, keeping in mind the overall business transformation needed to maintain a competitive advantage.” Harvard Business Review

Small steps such as pilots and proofs of concept are often too weak and don’t move the needle. Large, forceful initiatives can cause too much disruption within an organization, threatening user adoption and satisfaction.

The answer is to create a vision for where you want to go that is comprehensive, reimagining how people work – but then to roll it out in iterations. This allows you to unlock value quickly in a particular area of need, generate buy-in and ROI, and then move on to the next area of need.

How to Improve Power Utility Project Performance

Even if non-essential or long-term investment projects have been placed on hold, power utilities firms should be still be investigating the potential of technology to gain a competitive advantage. Evaluating opportunities, selecting projects, and executing with high performance is more important now than ever.

A specific area of digital investment that can prove particularly beneficial to power utilities organizations is an Enterprise Project Performance (EPP) solution. Going beyond project management, an Enterprise Project Performance system adds project portfolio management and project controls functionality. EPP brings all project and productivity related data into centralized location. It provides granular insights into project efficiency, the ability to assess progress towards goals and outcomes, and allows corrections and adjustments to be made as required. EPP also provides historical context, so that lessons learned from previous projects can be applied for improved outcomes.

EPP software connects project data to achieve a single source of truth that significantly improves efficiency and data accuracy. Eliminating manual processes and errors can help organizations make better decisions faster, and lead to consistently high performing projects. And when you are running thousands of concurrent projects of all shapes and sizes, the impact can be immeasurable.

The Benefits of Enterprise Project Performance for Power Utilities

Hexagon’s Enterprise Project Performance solution, EcoSys, brings your entire project portfolio (or multiple portfolios) into a single system, offering a range of tools for improved visibility and control. Increased visibility allows for superior strategic alignment and delivery. The ability to view project data, costs, scheduling, productivity and performance allows you to make informed strategic decisions more quickly to increase efficiency and protect margins.

EcoSys integrates key processes across projects and portfolios for the Power Utilities industry, such as:

  1. Portfolio Planning & Control – Prioritize and select the right mix of projects to meet business objectives. Simple project portfolio management allows you to easily report on portfolio performance.
  2. Resource Planning & Management – Compare resource capacity to demands across the entire portfolio, then allocate your available resources to the projects providing the most value to the portfolio and growth of the business.
  3. Capital Budgeting & Planning – Manage long- and short-term capital budgets and plans. Gain greater accountability and measurability of investment decisions. Communicate plans to stakeholders.
  4. Cost Control – Manage and control thousands of projects of all sizes and types consistently within a single solution.
  5. Progress & Performance Management – Full visibility into projects allows for better transparency and accountability, helps you identify performance trends and makes it easier to take corrective action.
  6. Budgeting & Forecasting – Create accurate budgets and avoid surprises with built-in metrics and robust forecasting capabilities. Be more predictable, avoiding overruns and making forward-looking decisions with confidence.
  7. Risk, Issue & Change Management – Create simple but powerful risk scoring mechanisms to identify and mitigate project risk. Comply with changing regulations with strong change management capabilities.

Learn more about challenges and solutions

To learn more about what the future holds for the Power Utilities industry and how a digital transformation strategy can help the industry to overcome the current challenges, download your copy of our latest eBook, Energizing Power Utility Projects: Overcoming Today’s Challenges Through Digital Transformation.