Electric utilities are informationally dysfunctional. When we surveyed electric utility managers from around the country, we found a general consensus: Individual employees may possess vital information, but typically they do not know what to do with it. They don't understand why it's important or who may need it. As a result, decisions proceed on the basis of old data or generally held beliefs (em not on reality.
Managers, feeling assaulted by competitive change, fear that the increasing number and type of new market entrants will only increase the data deluge. They also realize that, for the most part, their organizations have not built an effective "information infrastructure" to effectively channel and apply vital intelligence. More specifically, these managers feel their organizations suffer from intelligence deficits that will affect them in three areas:
s Customer Retention. Customer (em not competitor (em intelligence is desperately needed.
s Competitor Costs. As prices drive markets, utilities must learn how competitors use technology to gain a cost advantage.
s Market Savvy. Recognizing threats means more than just crunching the numbers. It means converting raw data into a strategy that will expose a competitive weakness.
Alex Mandl, head of AT&T's Communications Service's Group, was quoted recently in the Wall Street Journal on opportunities in the telecommunications industry: "It's a fast-moving business. You can't be a ponderous machine that studies everything as opportunity passes you by. Our challenge is to take advantage of our scale, but still act like a small company."1