The volatility of today’s business environment puts a premium on being fast and flexible. But speed doesn’t matter unless you’re moving in the right direction.
Our 13th Annual Global Power and Utilities CEO Survey underscores the importance of technology — with energy efficiency, falling solar prices, demand-side management and smart grids heading the list of technologies expected to have the biggest impact on the sector.
Clearly, solving today’s complex problems, navigating tomorrow’s technology-driven operating environment — and bringing your performance to the next level — demands more than a few incremental adjustments. It requires a total transformation and integration of your processes, people, and technology systems.
The ability to innovate is a top priority for companies everywhere — and, as always, technology plays a vital role. Not only does technology underpin most of your business processes, it has also fundamentally shaped the way you interact with your customers — not least by increasing their expectations.
The focus has now turned from pushing products and services to creating value for customers by personalizing the entire customer experience. So creating an organizational culture that promotes innovation — and getting closer to customers to find out what they really want — is more important than ever.
The problem is that just as the scope of needed innovation has expanded, the economic climate also faces considerable headwinds. So we’ve helped our utility clients embed new structures and practices, often supported by technology, to make innovation more systematic — and cost-efficient. We’ve also helped them develop new social media and mobile strategies to engage with customers in new ways, and brought those insights back to help them refine and reinforce their business strategies.
Companies that understand the strategic potential of information technology integrate it into everything they do. Their IT investments advance their business goals and work seamlessly with current people and processes.
But it's not always so easy. Your industry has a unique set of dynamics, regulations and opportunities to manage. Strong relationships between IT leadership and fellow C-suite leaders are critical to success. And well-designed, properly executed technology spending helps ensure the right resources are available when it counts.
At PwC, we view technology as an enabler to business transformation — not as an end in itself. We also know that the technology choices you make can make or break your business strategy. So it’s critical to harness the power of the right technology. Utilities the world over turn to us for our breadth and depth of knowledge of the technology ecosystem — from Oracle, SAP, PowerPlan transformations to Maximo GIS, to countless other customized IT solutions.
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According to respondents to our 2014 Global State of Information Security Survey, utilities’ security budgets averaged $3.4 million this year, an increase of 25% over 2012. This boost suggests that utilities companies understand that today’s elevated threat landscape demands a greater investment in security. Compromise of employee records is up sharply this year, potentially jeopardizing a utility’s most valuable relationships. And incidences of identity theft have more than doubled over the previous year.
Yet, while information security threats have evolved dramatically, security strategies — typically compliance-based and perimeter-oriented — have not. And hot-button technologies like cloud computing, mobility, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) are too often implemented before they are secured.
While many utilities have raised the bar on security, their adversaries, unfortunately, have done better.
What’s needed is a new model of information security, one that is driven by clear visibility of threats, assets, and the motives and targets of potential adversaries. This evolved approach requires that utilities identify their most valuable assets and prioritize protection. Security incidents should be seen as a critical business risk — one that may not always be preventable, but that can be managed to acceptable levels. And it is essential that security be a foundational component of your organizational strategy — championed by the CEO and adequately funded.
PwC has seen countless economic and industry cycles. Our clients count on our professionals to anticipate and navigate the next turn in the cycle. They value our deep industry and technology knowledge, our ability to deliver tangible value, and our willingness to work side by side with them, all the way from strategy through execution.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help.
Global Oracle Alliance Leader, PwC US
Industrial Products and Services Advisory Leader, PwC US
US Power and Utilities Advisory Leader, PwC US