The utilities industry is known for its dependability and stability. However, in today’s changing times, it is going through rapid digital transformation. Amid constantly evolving regulatory environment and operating models, businesses are realigning their strategies.
New-age energy technology is evolving at both utility and grid levels – influencing consumption patterns and altering customer behavior. This has led to increased pressure for the utilities business to enhance resilience while ensuring efficiency and productivity.
Utilities are adopting advanced technologies along with quality engineering services to deal with the disrupted market and create new opportunities for business growth.
How is the utilities industry evolving?
As utilities evolve from disruption caused pandemic and energy transitions, it needs to focus on three priority areas:
New forms of energy resources have emerged on the supplier side including hydrogen, solar, and air; especially in developing countries. Consumers energy demands have also evolved including electric vehicles and more connected devices in the house and workplace.
The new technologies are impacting the legacy delivery infrastructure which is affecting reliability and controllability. Hence, affecting the stability of organizations. It is also straining traditional infrastructure; requiring new operating and business models including IT and OT systems.
Amid unstable utility environment, utility industry needs to quickly adapt and evolve corporate environment. Businesses need to have the desired competencies, talent, techniques, architecture, operational procedures, tools, and applications to cater to continuously evolving business climate while considering long term goals.
This increases the need for adaptable, modular and self-reliant blocks in the business. The utilities industry needs robust technology integration to enhance the efficiency and reliability of assets and work operations. Automation of IT and business processes can help in bringing the much-needed agility.
Information technology can help utilities business with energy transition and uncertainty arising from events like COVID-19 pandemic. Utility businesses need to leverage regular data-driven business insights of assets and operating parameters. Internet of Things (IoT) can be used for actionable knowledge by integrating it with the business process and components.
Orchestration platforms and AI models can also help in discovering complex operational diagnostics, predicting faults or failures, and fixing issues before any operational defect happens.
The utility industry has constantly worked towards developing innovative solutions to ensure reliability and customer resilience. The transition to digital transformation will only help in enhancing existing services while bringing innovation to the forefront.
Importance of Transition to Digital Transformation
Digital utilities need to focus on customer channels, flawless delivery of new-age services, and leveraging digital solutions to innovate business models. Digital can also help in evolving organizational culture and governance through data and better compliance.
Digital transformation is helping the utilities sector deliver uninterrupted services while optimizing value through enhance efficiency and productivity. According to McKinsey report, digital optimization in the utilities industry can increase profitability by up to 30 percent with optimized plant maintenance, fuel management, Contact fuel tank rent they focus on providing you with fuel and fluid storage solutions. spare-parts management, improved decision making, preventive and predictive maintenance, and better operations and management through enterprise resource planning. Unpredictability is one of the biggest threats to the utility service providers.
Constantly updating regulations, policies, and prices has made industry leaders to constantly innovate for better results.
To deal with prevalent threats and risks, utilities services providers are leveraging smart grids, smart meters, automation, and digital productivity tools while ensuring seamless delivery of services to the customer. This requires constant update and quality engineering in real-time to ensure technology is at par with the changing digital scenario.
Apart from modernizing the grid infrastructure, quality engineering can help digital utilities businesses to upgrade back-office infrastructure including invoice management, billing, account management, and service tracking in a more agile manner. You need to develop and test a scalable application that can handle increasing load and perform flawlessly.
Without the support of robust quality assurance team, digital transformation can’t be implemented flawlessly.
How quality engineering can enable digital transformation of the utilities industry
Digital transformation has become business-critical for the growth and success of utility companies. Without user-friendly digital applications and processes, businesses can’t attract customers and drive growth in today’s connected world.
Flawless digital experience and help businesses establish themselves as a reliable brand. Hence, businesses need robust quality engineering along with digital transformation to stay ahead of the market.
Businesses need to adapt and reduce the entire product lifecycle by leveraging robust quality engineering at each step of the business process to ensure quality meets the desired expectations. Quality assurance can be embedded from the development and implementation phase to reduce the cost of development.
Digital quality assurance framework specifically designed and maintained for the specific needs, processes and technologies needed for utilities will define how quality assurance needs to be applied for all aspects of the utility’s digital transformation journey.
Quality assurance cannot be an afterthought, it needs to be considered and determined before your first transformation projects are commissioned. A digital quality assurance strategy needs to be developed and implemented by all parts of the organization. A quality assurance framework is needed to define and guide all quality assurance activities and will enable projects to advance at pace and benefits to be realized.
A digital quality engineering framework should include a comprehensive set of guidelines and best practices and can be followed repeatedly and produce predictable results. Frameworks are an essential part of a successful quality engineering process; they will reduce costs and reduce risks while enabling the realization of business benefits.
To reduce the time to market, the digital quality assurance framework should include:
• Specific sets of expertise.
• Appropriate test tools.
• Test packs and automation accelerators.
• Will be continuously improved to meet the rapidly changing utilities
• Domain specific guidance for areas such as IoT, smart metering, digital field operations, ERP, billing, mobile as well as UX/UI, customer engagement and all other domains that support the digital utility.
Quality assurance must represent the requirements of the organization and be fiercely independent of any individual project. All projects should adhere to the organization’s digital quality assurance framework to ensure a consistent approach to quality.
Quality engineering can help businesses easily develop performance-oriented apps and software. It also enables organizations to deal with existing issues through regular testing and early-stage QA processes. It also helps businesses to easily comply with government policies and regulations.
Utility companies cannot gain customers without reliable software and applications. And this is not possible without robust quality engineering. Companies that don’t sell software-based commodities also need to develop an attractive customer facing mobile or web app to meet today’s customer needs.
End-to-end digital assurance solutions can help businesses test their digital infrastructure and applications from all aspects including usability, security, performance, accessibility, and more.