I see a lot of articles, and hear a lot of people talk about becoming a digital utility. But what does it mean to you? How do you gauge if you are a digital utility and so what if you are?
Before embarking on our respective digital utility journeys, it is essential all stakeholders are on the same page. You’re going to get derailed pretty quickly if your stakeholders all have a different view as to where you are today. In the absence of any freely available tools that I could find to help utilities assess their current position, I created The Digital Utility Scorecard. It asks around forty questions and takes about ten minutes. It can be completed anonymously if desired. The questions are deliberately subjective, as the intent of the diagnostic is to help you start a conversation with your stakeholders, both across your business and external to your organisation.
To give an example of the value of a diagnostic tool such as this, I recently had a team of eleven leaders at an Asian utility complete the forms anonymously. The results were astonishing. They all worked for the same organisation, yet some leaders felt they were already scoring very high in certain areas, such as using energy data to determine insights about their customer’s consumption behaviour. Other leaders felt they scored poorly when it came to using energy data effectively to determine their customer’s consumption behaviour.
Discussions soon led to two findings. Firstly, they had a different interpretation of some of the questions. This is a great lesson, as it shows how important it is to make sure your communications are clear and you validate them with your stakeholders. The second finding was that people genuinely had different views as to whether a service they were currently providing was considered ‘optimal’. Once again, a critical lesson as one person’s view of ‘good enough’ is another person’s view of ‘inadequate’.
The objective of this diagnostic is not to be prescriptive, and to tell you what services you must deploy if you are to be a Digital Utility. Instead, the objective of this diagnostic is to help you start the conversation. To compare your results with colleagues and partners, and to work together to reach a common understanding.
I encourage you and your colleagues to complete the diagnostic today. Of course, I would welcome your feedback as this is very much a work in progress. My goal is to ensure this remains a freely available tool. One that continues to be refined over time and provides value to users.
What questions would you ask to determine if you are a Digital Utility?
Look out for my latest book ‘The Digital Utility’, to be published December 2017