The utility industry is in the midst of significant transformation with new technology approaches facilitating agility and innovation while at the same time decreasing upfront investment risk. One of the these new technologies utilities around the world are turning to is the cloud.

The cloud provides utilities with an attractive alternative to traditional, on-premise software delivery with its ability to align with key business goals, allowing them to innovate quicker, simplify IT management, and increase flexibility.

More specifically, cloud provides two broad categories of benefits to an enterprise: business benefits and technical benefits.

On the business side, it’s all about innovation. Companies worldwide spend trillions of dollars on IT every year. Of that, Forrester Research notes that, “Typically the costs to maintain and operate the tech organisation, systems and equipment consume 70 per cent to 75 per cent of total cash outlay on technology.” This leaves very little that can be spent on innovation.

On the technology side, the enterprise benefits from the cloud provider’s expertise in running specific applications, as well as robust technology around security, privacy and performance.

For many utilities, these types of skills and technologies would not be available to them outside of a cloud application as they’re expensive, and complicated to design and run.

But what are the best ways for utilities to begin to utilise the cloud today?

Begin with the routine and the bold

When looking for ways to start incorporating cloud within your utility, it’s best to start with base applications that are standardised, and areas of exploration for your utility.

Standardised applications are those that are critical to running a business, but do not vary much from one company to the next, including financial, human resources and payroll applications, and even some critical applications such as the customer information system.

Areas of exploration refer to those applications and projects that are more focused on quickly evolving, new ideas. These are often launched in a pilot mode to allow the utility to try out an idea, quickly iterate, and retain some flexibility to change course along the way.

For these areas, cloud offers the speed and flexibility to ‘play in the sandbox’ by trying things out, and then quickly changing course when necessary.

Here are the top five ideas to get you started.

  1. Offload routine IT and systems of record tasks
  2. Manage contracted work more efficiently
  3. Assign temporary needs to the cloud
  4. Leverage cloud technology for new service offerings
  5. Use the cloud as an innovation playground

Are you ready to make the leap?

Oracle is dedicated to building best-of-breed applications for the markets we serve. In the utilities industry, this is exemplified by our world-class, end-to-end solutions in customer systems; grid, meter and asset management solutions; analytics and more.

We have extended these best-of-breed applications with other back office and customer-facing applications that span the entire value chain from financials, human resources and payroll all the way through to customer interaction and engagement.

Now, we are moving all of these applications to the cloud, and helping ensure our customers continue to enjoy a seamless experience regardless of whether those applications are on premise or in the cloud.

Further, as we have built our technology and our cloud infrastructure, we have designed seamless choice into every step – something unique to Oracle’s cloud solution.

Traditionally, one of the concerns about adopting cloud solutions has been the possibility of being locked into them for life, with no flexibility for change. Our technology, our infrastructure and our agreements with our customers allow them to move easily and seamlessly between on premise, public cloud and private cloud, in any way that they choose to deploy the solution.

This gives our customers the ability to start up very quickly on an iterative, innovative cloud solution and later move it to an on-premise application, or to take an existing on-premise application and move it to the cloud.

As we continue to build this comprehensive cloud solution, Oracle Utilities is simultaneously exploring how cloud edge innovation can drive the utility business model to new frontiers and deliver even more innovative solutions to our industry partners. The options and possible new opportunities are boundless.

This partner content is brought to you by Oracle. For more information on how cloud can benefit your utility and how Oracle can help, view the white paper here.

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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