Innovative ideas for every utility

Dealing with disruption now and understanding disruption as the new normal

Tech is the creator of our industry’s disruption, but it’s also the key to working through disruption, said Charles King, SVP and CIO of Evergy to kick off the “Leading through Disruption” panel discussion at Customer Edge 2020 in Austin today.

Along with King, the panel also featured Matthias Kurwig, CEO and Cofounder, Enervee; Mike Sicilia, EVP, Oracle; and, Hillary Martin, VP, Oracle.

As your utility works through all this change today, here are a few concepts to keep top-of-mind according to these insiders.

Grab that digital brass ring. While it will take organizational oversight and a whole lot of planning, the push into digital across the board is absolutely how you both survive and thrive in this new environment. Look to other industries for insights (and potential hurdles to avoid), as you feel out how to use blockchain, AI, 5G and ML (specifically pattern recognition).

One caveat: Don’t forget the people behind all that technology. Bring along those employees. If you get them on board, they will help drive this change.

Get that consumer attention. Personalizing offers along those “moments that matter” is the current movement, but there’s a larger challenge as utilities—and all industries that serve end-use customers—evolve, namely that a lot of the upgrades and updates that are required to create customer love may not be the most obvious to customers (but it will be assumed that you have).  

              One caveat: This move from a commodity business to an experience/service business is going to be a stop-and-start (and start over) bit of strategy planning.

Shift to a predictive service model. Preventing potential issues commercially (and residentially) and understanding that a little investment in tech upfront to be proactive rather than reactive can keep consumer love more of a constant. Figuring out what’s next and what’s coming (with data) will soon be the new normal every single day.

              One caveat: There may not be a direct correlation to ROI that you can easily and quickly track.

Make every moment with your customer count. Build a relationship with your customer by seeing every time you connect (even if it starts with a negative call or an innocuous request). Looking to be involved in consumer marketplace decisions may be a new concept for utilities is one place to grow in this arena, but it’s not going to be easy to break into that silo of customer thinking.

              One caveat: You may experiment with this and fail. It’s not going to be easy to understand or easy to complete, even with the smartest plan.


Were you not able to attend Customer Edge 2020 in Austin? Learn more lessons from the conference here and here.


Learn more about the Oracle Industries Innovation Lab: https://www.oracle.com/industries/utilities/innovation-lab.html

Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.

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