Ninety-five percent of power sector respondents agreed that “Digital transformation is a top strategic priority at my organization,” according to research by Deloitte.
Whatever the reason you’re considering (or reconsidering) your tech stack, it can be difficult to figure out what tools to use and how they fit into your organization. So we talked with utility experts to outline where opportunities for improvement might lie, how to evaluate new technology, and how to ensure smooth integration into your existing technology.
Step 1 Recap: Pinpoint The Problems
To know what technology can help solve your utility’s unique challenges, you need to know what those challenges are. The first step is to take a holistic look at your organization to spot opportunities for improvement. This analysis will help you figure out where it makes sense to develop, change, or add to a tech stack—so you spend time and energy only in those areas in which your utility is heavily invested, and where there are real problems or risks.
Step 2: Study Your Workflows
Every process in your organization can be broken down into parts. For example, at PrecisionHawk, we break down the asset inspection workflow into a “data value chain” that includes collect, process, analyze, report, and take action. Now that you’ve gotten the 10,000-foot view of your operations, hone in on each process to find the weak spots that might be shored up with technology solutions.
For each workflow, consider your current tech stack, your in-house resources, and your outsourced resources. Are there in-house processes that might be better automated? Do you rely on vendors for areas you can’t insource and are those vendors up to par? Are there areas where your current tech stack might be changed or expanded?
To illustrate, let’s use a workflow that incorporates outsourced processes, in-house human resources, and automation. In this example, we’ll say that one of the main challenges for your organization is that a lack of speed causes delays in maintenance and repairs, which in turn decreases customer satisfaction. We’ll focus on the asset inspection workflow, but, of course, this can be applied to any process within your organization.
Example 1: The Vendor As Part Of Your Tech Stack
You contract with a vendor to perform the data collection stage of your inspection process, and the data is then integrated into a workflow that incorporates both human analysts and automation.
You have no control over the technology your vendor uses, but you do have an opportunity to evaluate, add, or replace vendors. In this case, you might look into vendors that have innovative aerial equipment or more streamlined collection processes, or that offer quicker ways of transferring the data to your organization. Another aspect to consider is the experience level of your vendor. While longevity isn’t everything, a vendor with more years of experience is more likely to have run into similar situations before and have vetted solutions ready for you to consider.
Example 2: Augmenting Human Analysts With Technology
Your utility is blessed with skilled and efficient data analysts, but humans can only work so quickly—and speed is key when it comes to uncovering areas of concern so they can be repaired before they turn into big problems. In this case, you might consider implementing automation, such as PrecisionAnalytics, that will help your analysts make the best use of their time.
Example 3: Strengthening Weak Links In Your Current Tech Stack
After assets are inspected and the data is analyzed, areas of concern are automatically compiled into reports and sent to key stakeholders. But the reports are not robust, which slows down the issuing of work orders. Here, you might focus on sourcing a tech solution that will integrate into your existing workflow to produce better, faster reports.
Learn the five steps to Evaluate and Integrate Your Tech Stack; to pinpoint gaps in your tech stack, evaluate new solutions, and work with vendors to integrate the tools into your existing technology.