Who would have predicted that the fastest growing taxi company in the world would own no taxis? Or that one of the largest hotel groups would own no hotels? Can we also envisage a future in which power and utility (P&U) companies own no generation and supply assets? After all, there are many examples of P&U organizations moving toward a new value chain, augmented and interconnected by digital technologies – from customer-owned solar installations that forsake normal grid utilization, to electric vehicles that power residential homes.
In reality, the days of utilities doing away with all their service delivery assets aren’t upon us yet – and clever money says they may never be, at least in my lifetime. What is abundantly clear however, is that digital disruption is changing how we produce and use energy. So, shouldn’t it also disrupt how we manage energy assets?
Information is king but people bring it to life
There is no doubt that the pressure is on for utilities to do more with less in a bid to balance cost, risk and performance. But I believe the asset management capability needed to achieve the necessary optimization is often overlooked when, in fact, its need is far greater than ever before.
Today, utilities are often data rich but intelligence poor, collating vast amounts of asset data in asset registers, without necessarily linking it back to an asset strategy designed to support long-term business goals. This takes its toll on utility asset decision-making, often resulting in lackluster return on (asset) investment and value leakage. In our report, Maximizing asset performance in a digital world, one in three P&U executives placed data collection and confidence in asset condition data in their top three challenges.
By its very nature, digital asset management depends on data and the insight that can be gleaned from it. Thankfully, digital disruption – digitization and machine learning in particular – is transforming how asset data is collected, collated and analyzed:
- It gives P&U executives access to vital information to manage and exploit asset portfolios better, gain greater control of costs, reduce risks and improve customer and shareholder value.
- It provides a foundation for utilities to reinvent asset management, run operations in a completely new way, and develop new more customer-centric business models.
Leading enterprise asset management involves overlaying technology solutions with strategic decision support, until an asset management organization is born, with data at its very core. It’s the human/technology interconnection that opens the organization up to a new world of educated and more effective business decisions.
The intangible corporate benefits of digital asset management are not to be overlooked: from energizing innovation right across the enterprise to demonstrating a commitment to revitalized shareholder, employee and customer interactions.