Insights for the Innovative Utility

May 25, 2017

Build your very best digital road map with these suggestions

“We’re not being measured against our own—against other utilities,” said Eric Karcher, Manager of Digital Strategy with Eversource Energy. "We’re being measured against other experiences, other industries.”

Karcher and James Langdon, Digital Strategist with Eversource Energy, gave a little insight in their utility’s own plan to build out digital and transforming from reactive to proactive in that area during the “Building a Digital Strategy and Roadmap” session on Thursday at CS Week 2017 in Fort Worth.

Karcher and Langdon followed up with an imagined case study example based on a lot of general common assumptions that most utilities are working with right now: analog still being the main touchpoints, issues with the company being top-heavy and problems moving up ranks—so called “moving the needle.”

How do you incorporate Eversource’s direct lessons learned and finally move the needle for your utility.  Karcher and Langdon suggested:

  • Get a North Star. You need a strategy. You need a plan. If you think about things beforehand, you can strategize and prioritize (and maybe avoid a few dead ends).
  • Craft a mission statement. Mission statements can be powerful when they truly state the team’s goals. It needs to be meaningful, not corporate double speak. It should be focused. (To do that, think of it this way: It should be tweetable.)
  • Make an honest assessment of where you are. Is your site usable? Is it functional? Are you really at that stage yet? Are you really ready to push people to your digital space? Are you getting feedback such as: “You want me to send a fax? Are you joking?” or “You want to come to my house to do vegetation management. What does that mean?” or “It’s 2017, man. Why don’t you have an app?”
  • Remember anything is possible. Don’t talk yourself out of your great ideas too early. You’re going to face criticism—from coworkers, from vendors, from partners. But don’t let go without a good reason.
  • Think about compatibility and budget. You have constraints. So, you do have to temper those anything-is-possible dreams with those realities. Make sure you can sustain that dream and it won’t just “die on the vine” when it hits these road blocks.
  • Become customer obsessed. Not just focused. Not just with an ear perked to customer desires and needs, but absolutely zoned in and with no other #1 priority.
  • Do research and analysis. Take your North Star and your mission statement and start laying those against customer expectations. Become a detective. Engage experts.
  • Disrupt your organization. But do keep why you’re disrupting in mind. Don’t disrupt for disruption sake. Have reasons. Have goals.
  • Get as many people on board as possible. Otherwise, honestly, you won’t succeed. So, when disrupting, be charming. Be personable. Think about a little psychology during the process—because you will need those people you’re disrupting to get on board later. If they’re angry, that could be tough.
  • Reassess a lot. Not in 3 years. Not in 18 months. Think about this and reassess it constantly.

 

Read more from CS Week 2017:

 

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