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Utilities worldwide are navigating an environment rife with significant change across their internal and external operations. Executives are faced with challenges that are also opportunities, if handled with foresight.
How can utilities transform these challenges into opportunities and establish the basis for future high performance? Via the power of cloud computing. The technology advances brought about by cloud computing, in conjunction with mobility and analytics, open up new vistas for utilities.
Over the coming years, utilities will become data-rich businesses that will need to excel in collecting, interpreting and acting on information. In other words, utilities will stand or fall by their ability to unleash the full value of data—be this through smarter use of social media with business customers and consumers; more effective collaboration with joint-venture partners; or faster and more responsive management of transmission and distribution (T&D) networks.
Those utilities that successfully exploit data can achieve a combination of agility, speed and deep business and customer insights—potentially changing the game for themselves and their competitors.
In Accenture’s view, the current gradual, yet steady, progress of cloud adoption will accelerate dramatically over the coming years as utilities reap the benefits cloud can deliver. As the momentum of cloud adoption grows, those players that move earliest to assess and seize the cloud opportunity also will likely seize the initiative from their competitors, by adjusting faster and more fully to the imperatives of the new environment.
Cloud computing is a proven model for providing and sourcing IT hardware and software services on a pay-per-use basis using Internet technologies. Cloud services are highly configurable, adaptable and scalable, and require less up-front investment and ongoing operating expenditure than traditional IT models.
Clouds generally take one of four forms (or a combination of these forms): private, public, hybrid and community.
Private clouds are dedicated to a single company for private use. They can either be built within a company’s own data center, or located off premise and provided by an external third party to deliver virtualized application, infrastructure and communications services for internal business users.
Public clouds are owned and provided by external third parties over a network.
Hybrid clouds blend the benefits of public and private clouds by enabling a company to retain confidential information in a private cloud, while providing access to the wider choice of applications available in public clouds.
Community clouds are collaborative resources shared between a number of organizations with common interests, perhaps in the same industry, with the costs spread across the users. Community clouds can be hosted internally or by external third parties.
The utilities industry will continue to change, and cloud computing will help shape the new rules. Utilities that have not yet taken their first steps toward their cloud-enabled future should make it a priority to examine the potential of cloud computing—and also take a close look at what their competitors are doing in this space.
The good news is that this is a journey rather than a one-off change. Utilities can begin with small steps or bite-sized chunks, testing out cloud models in specific areas of their business. Over time, their cloud maturity and comfort levels will increase, as will the resulting generation of higher value and lower costs.
The cloud-enabled future has begun—and is already starting to change the game for utilities. It is time to embark on the journey. To learn more about how Accenture can help utilities to seize the cloud computing opportunity to achieve high performance, please contact:
Nigel BarnesMaster Technology Architect
Matthew CoatesGlobal Cloud Strategy Lead
Martin de WeerdtUtilities Technology Lead
Oscar van den BergUtilities Cloud Lead
October 4, 2012
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