Since 2012 I have been leading smart energy programs and helping develop digital utility roadmaps. The most important lesson I learned along the way is to focus on services that are in the best interests of the consumers and communities you serve. This in turn will be in the best interests of your shareholders. Having the right roadmap is just the beginning. You must have a compelling narrative. One that is authentic and can explain why your roadmap helps solves real world problems. You must engage your stakeholders early and often. Collaborating with stakeholders on your roadmap is a never ending journey.
Being focused on the consumer may sound obvious, but for most utilities I talk to their time and effort is all too often spent on satisfying internal stakeholders, improving capabilities and developing technologies. These are all important things, but must all be done through the lens of the customer. Too often they aren’t.
Based on my experiences, with lots of hard lessons along the way, I have built the ENERGY framework. A six-step framework to develop a Digital Utility roadmap that is in the best interests of the consumers and communities you serve, and secures the support of your key stakeholders. In my book, The Digital Utility, I dedicate a chapter to each one of the following steps:
Step 1: Explore
Identify your key internal and external stakeholders. Understand what they expect from you and how you are perceived. You need to inform them of what’s possible, and from that understand what products and services they value, and why.
Step 2: Narrate
You need to be able to tell your stakeholders why you are embarking on this journey. You need to describe what it is you are trying to achieve for them. Describe how you will measure success.
Step 3: Evaluate
You know the outcomes the business is looking for and the expectations of your external stakeholders. You now need to translate these expectations into a set services. You need to develop a roadmap that closes the gap between where you are today and where you need to be.
Step 4: Resource
You need money and partners to do all of this. That means justifying your proposed spend and getting the support you need, as well as identifying the right partners and solutions.
Step 5: Govern
There will be lots of stakeholders, all with different views as to how they define success. You need to ensure you have set up the most effective governance structure possible to give your company the best chance for success.
Step 6: Yield
With so many personal agendas, it is important that you do not yield to opinion. Instead, monitor performance of the services you are introducing, and make informed decisions based on what the data is telling you.
Utilities must place consumers and the communities they serve at the heart of everything they do. How does your Digital Utility roadmap solve your customers biggest problems?
You can find out more about the ENERGY framework s in my latest book ‘The Digital Utility’, available now.
Sign-up at www.chapel-group.com so you do not miss my future blog posts. If you are developing your digital utility roadmap, exploring demand response, or considering it, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.