Last updated October 26, 2023
The utilities industry has traditionally taken a more conservative approach to embracing new technologies and transformations. However, recent trends in the industry, from increased competition, regulatory changes, and evolving customer expectations, have created a need for more rapid innovation and digitization. A cloud strategy is a critical aspect of that digitization.
The initial value proposition of moving to the cloud is based on a multitude of factors, including a utility company’s short- and long-term strategic initiatives, business drivers, regulations, and risk tolerance. In addition, the company structure—whether regulated, non-regulated, public or investor-owned, or co-op—shapes the digital strategy and value proposition. Today, most companies are already operating from the cloud in some capacity, but those same sets of factors will continue to influence their cloud strategy.
SHAPING A CLOUD STRATEGY
When defining a cloud strategy, it is imperative to complete an assessment of the current state technology environment. This includes taking a deep dive into the current operating systems and applications and then evaluating the efficacy of each. Where can your technology stack do more?
There are several key drivers behind a move to the cloud, including scalability, disaster recovery improvements, infrastructure agility, and cost reduction. In addition to identifying the drivers, it’s also important to identify how a cloud transformation or refresh will impact other areas of the business.
- Understand current customer demands and how your technology can support the overall CX strategy. As extreme weather and aging infrastructure contribute to grid instability, customers have demanded more transparency. A robust cloud system can help ensure that customers have access to real-time data and information.
- Leverage real-time cloud capabilities to help manage environmental concerns. You can’t control the weather, but you can control how you prepare for extreme conditions and how you troubleshoot problems during extreme temperatures, hurricanes, and wildfires. Cloud technology can ensure that employees have access to the protocols, data, and information they need, when and where they need it.
- Prioritize cybersecurity. Data breaches and cyber-attacks are a threat to all utility companies. When evaluating the cloud strategy and making decisions about vendors and processes, don’t lose sight of the cybersecurity strategy.
FOCUSING ON THE “WHY” INSTEAD OF THE “WHAT”
The cloud is a useful tool for growth, innovation, and operational effectiveness. In order to make the most of your investment in the cloud, here are four key recommendations:
1. Engage your change champions. Recognize personnel who are passionate and believe in the cloud transformation journey. Engage with them early on as they will be instrumental in advocating for a cloud transformation and in promoting the change from within the organization.
2. Define your strategic initiatives. Understand your organization’s goals and vision and how a cloud transformation helps achieve them. Map out the cloud initiatives required and how these initiatives tie into the overall goals.
3. Identify the business drivers. Recognize the key components and activities that are required to ensure a successful cloud migration. Ensure they are tracked and monitored.
4. Develop your cloud roadmap. Map out the plan, steps, and milestones required to ensure a successful cloud transformation. Communicate the plan and ensure all key stakeholders are aligned.
Use the cloud to do more. After a company makes the move to the cloud, they’re better positioned to implement best-in-class digital solutions, maintain strong cybersecurity standards, and keep pace with evolving industry best practices. In addition, cloud technology can have tangible physical benefits, like supporting a move toward carbon neutrality. While the actual inputs and outcomes of a cloud strategy will look different depending on the company’s profile, risk appetite, strategy, and regulations, it’s important to understand the full scope of what cloud technology is capable of.
Are you making the most of your move to the cloud? Fill out the form below to connect with one of our consultants to start the conversation about your current—and aspirational—digital strategy.