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Envision the Utility of Tomorrow

How will the industry change in the future?
Fortnightly Magazine - June 2004

by constantly striving for continuous improvements in scale, synergies, and automation.

Three Pillars of Change

Explaining the three forces that will change the industry forever.

Scale: The march toward optimum cost structures and world-class delivery capability will lead the industry into searching for scale opportunities in every aspect of business operations. If an enterprise is not large enough to devote the resources and funding to develop these scale capabilities, they will then be delivered by providers who can deliver top world-class performance levels on a contractual or partnership basis. This quest for scale also could drive another wave of M&A activity.

Synergies: The interplay between talent, technology, and innovation will provide the high-performance foundation for tomorrow's utilities. With an aging workforce (in some cases averaging in the mid to late 40s), and future projections pointing to the decreasing size of the available workforce pool, the need for more sophisticated means of attracting, training, motivating, and compensating people will be at the forefront. Technology-enabled connections between utility and customers, utility and suppliers, utility and other utilities, all will be dramatically transformed as a result of enriched networks of "inter-"and "intra-" connections between industry stakeholders. The landscape suddenly becomes ripe and supportive for synergies.

Automation: To provide reliable and continuous energy product in a cost-competitive manner, any process that can be effectively automated will be. In field-service-oriented businesses like utilities, we are only now at the beginning of pervasive wireless, mobile, high-powered digital links across the entire enterprise. The ubiquitous application of RFID technology will dramatically change the perceptions and processes of how functions as diverse as inventory management and human safety procedures can be performed.

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