Perspective: Driving Utilities' Digital Journey to the Next Level: Highlights from the 2016 IDC Pan–European Utilities Executive Summit
This IDC Energy Insights Perspective summarizes the key themes and discussion points from the fourth annual IDC Pan–European Utilities Executive Summit hosted by IDC Energy Insights on March 14 and 15, 2016, at Villa d'Este on Lake Como, Italy. At the event, around 50 utility executives from 16 European countries, alongside IDC analysts and event partners — Ericsson, C3 IoT, NTT DATA, Omnetric Group, Capgemini, Infosys, Opower, and Oracle Utilities — discussed some of the hottest topics on the industry's agenda through presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and informal dialogue. Attendees heard from companies that are transforming their customer experience, operating models, and data game. An energy retailer showed how it "reset" the relationship with its customers by putting them at the center of its transformation and driving a digital-first agenda. A distribution network operator (DNO) showed how it redesigned the organization, transformed its processes, and moved to an IT landscape supporting digital business. A European multinational shared its view of key IT enablers to a successful transformation.IDC Energy Insights finds that:Utilities are embracing change. Almost two-thirds of the summit attendees said their companies are handling change as innovators, and no one thought they were resisting it — a significant shift compared with previous editions. At the same time, utilities feel they are gradual innovators rather than disruptors, and they are seeking effective innovation models. However gradual innovation may be, attendees expect that by 2020, their companies will generate around 40% of their revenues outside the traditional business.Utilities successfully transforming their businesses are developing a new vision and new core values to support change. A growing number of European utilities are creating "venture" business units to incubate technology and innovation as well as accelerate the pace of change.Digital transformation takes center stage, particularly omni-experience as well as operating model and information transformation. On one hand, utilities are pressured to respond to customer expectations that are formed in more digitally mature industries. On the other hand, they continue to invest in connected systems to support new revenue streams and operational excellence. The ability to leverage information for competitive advantage — or information transformation — is the cornerstone supporting both trends.Transformation is impossible without the right people and culture. As leading utilities experiment with ways to attract and nurture digital talent and foster a digital mindset, the industry is realizing that the "soft" side of the transition is the most critical to address.
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