Digital utilities
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Technology is rapidly transforming many Australian and global industry sectors. For electric, natural gas, and water utility companies, the need to embrace digital transformation and evolve to become a “digital enterprise” has never been clearer.

What is a digital enterprise?

A digital enterprise can be defined as an organisation where digital technology plays a central role in how the company: operates, creates products and services, generates revenue, seizes competitive advantage, and produces value. A digital enterprise is more competitive, more efficient, and more dynamic.

Barriers for the utilities sector

While the Australian utility sector faces opportunities ripe for digital solutions, there are also some unique barriers. According to a McKinsey & Company article, three issues appear to inhibit digital transformation within the utilities sector. 

First, working methods of the typical utility company are built around safeguarding large, long-lived assets and minimising operational risks. 

Second, the popular perception of utilities as analogue-era companies makes it hard for them to attract people to fill digital-economy roles, such as data scientists. 

Third, utilities typically have complex legacy operations and IT environments that inhibit rapid innovation.

The need for change

Given the critical nature of the services utilities deliver, the risks inherent in digital transformation may be difficult for utilities business executives to contemplate. However, consumers motivated by environmental concerns are cutting energy and water consumption, which means stagnant growth for the first time in the utility industry’s history. 

This presents opportunities for suppliers to offset the cost of decreasing consumption by offering new energy efficiency (EE), distributed energy resources (DER), and analytics products and services that interest consumers. 

It’s becoming clearer than ever that IT teams within utilities companies may have to fundamentally rethink their organisation’s approach to digital infrastructure and services. 

Digital transformation is essential for utilities companies to survive and thrive – it will help:

  • Enhance customer experience to satisfy the needs of digitally connected and conservation-minded customers
  • Increase efficiency and optimise production, distribution, and service to keep pace with fast evolving regulations; as well as old and new competition, and
  • Capitalise on new business challenges and opportunities

Becoming a digital utility

Utility companies have collected vast amounts of data over the years – and with the right technology this can now be utilised to enable new types of services, inform and accelerate decision making, and increase operational efficiency. 

In addition, delivering a seamless experience for customers across physical locations, phone support, web, mobile and even social, is vital. However significant organisational change, skill building, company training, and senior executive support will be required.

How can Nutanix help?

Nutanix is already helping leading companies in the utilities industry to transform their IT operations and tackle digital transformation. Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS provides a way forward – with a unified IT operating environment that melds critical production facilities; remote offices; and private, public and distributed clouds, providing a single point of control for managing infrastructure and applications. 

Nutanix solutions are 100 per cent software-based and built on the industry’s most popular hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) technology, delivering a full infrastructure stack that integrates compute, virtualization, storage, networking and security to power any application, at any scale. 

Download this white paper to learn more about how to accelerate digital transformation in the utilities industry.

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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