Four Ways to Champion for Change in Utilities

Delivering innovative projects can accelerate your career

By all accounts, change is hard for utilities. Most utilities have operated the same way for decades. In a sense, these businesses know what it takes to get the job done and innovation can be viewed as disruptive.

Similarly for employees, championing for change can be seen as risky. Who wants to put their neck on the line to advocate for a new and innovative process when failure could mean losing your job? For many, the risk outweighs the reward.

The odds may be stacked against you, but champions for change are often rewarded. Delivering successful projects can have transformational benefits for you and your employer. Whether you’re increasing safety, profits, or productivity, becoming a change agent can accelerate your career. 

Innovating is key for utilities to thrive in a digital world. But what’s the best way to champion change in what can be a change-resistant environment?

How to lead transformational change

There’s no shortage of opportunities for change at utilities. And if you’re reading this post, you’re likely someone who can deliver on hard projects. The challenge lies in choosing the right opportunity and taking the appropriate steps to bring that vision to life.


For more than a decade, PrecisionHawk has pioneered applications in remote sensing and analysis for essential organizations, market leaders, and Fortune 500 companies. This experience gives us a unique perspective into what it takes to champion for change. Here’s what we’ve learned from our clients.


1. Start with the problem

Utilities already have hundreds of ideas for projects. Rather than devise a new plan from scratch (which can fail due to lack of funding and stakeholder alignment) start with a known problem and figure out how to solve it. 

Common problems for utilities include:

  • Parsing huge volumes of electric asset data, such as pole measurements, maintenance issues, and geolocation, into actionable insights
  • Accelerating the time it takes to inspect assets without sacrificing quality
  • Reducing safety hazards for linemen

Take it from one of our clients: “When I decided to stand up an aerial intelligence program, there was already a business pull. People all across the business wanted to use aerial data. My challenge was to figure out a way to harness that energy and bring it forth in a safe way. So I picked an opportunity that had good funding, strong leadership alignment, and a solid use case… Now we’re getting the job done cheaper, faster, and safer.” 

“I picked an opportunity that had good funding, strong leadership alignment, and a solid use case… Now we’re getting the job done cheaper, faster, and safer.”



2. Understand funding

Utilities categorize funding into capital expenditure (CapEx) and operation and maintenance (O&M). CapEx funds are easier to justify because of the way accounting is done over time, but those dollars usually dry up. If you can write a business case that your internal accountants can justify as CapEx, your chances of getting funding go up as much as 70%, according to one client.

Whether CapEx or O&M, before seeking funding for any project, you’ll want to assess the financials such as value for the money invested as well as projected cash flow and return on equity, if applicable. Work with your internal finance and accounting partners to understand how your company funds projects and what it takes to make the case for CapEx if your project involves bringing new and innovative capabilities to the business. 

3. Learn the metrics

You can’t bring positive change without first understanding the metrics your business uses to evaluate success. Whether it’s safety-related data such as the number of lost days work, or productivity-related data such as percentage of on-time projects, your business is already tracking KPIs, so it’s critical to understand which metrics you’re going to address in your business case. 

Doing so will not only improve your chances of getting your business case accepted, it will also allow you to evaluate your project’s performance from a business perspective to ensure goals are being met throughout the process.

4. Build the business case

A strong business case brings together the costs, risks, and disadvantages of the current situation and quantifies a vision of the future so your organization can decide whether to greenlight your project.

In our whitepaper, Making a Successful Business Case for Drone Technology, we provide specific guidance for those who want to champion for the change, including how to set short- and long-term goals, document costs, assess the business impact, and communicate program benefits.

Modernize for the future

For utilities, change is essential. Utilities everywhere are dealing with old infrastructure and an aging workforce. The world is evolving around these companies, and innovation is key to adapting to a digital world. 

Technology can help utilities modernize for the future. Becoming a champion for change will not only help your company grow, it will help you stand out in your career by becoming the change agent your business needs to be successful. 

At PrecisionHawk, we’ve been involved in many different business cases and can provide expert guidance to help you become a champion for change. Contact us today for help bringing geospatial data analytics services and tools to your organization.