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Technology Vision 2012 outlines the technology trends that forward-thinking utilities CIOs can use to position their organizations to drive growth, as well as focusing on cost cutting and efficiency improvements.
The annual Accenture Technology Vision report provides a perspective on the future of technology to complement the current conversations about the cloud, mobility and big data.
Accenture has identified six technology trends that will influence utilities companies over the next three to five years: Context-based services, converging data architectures, industrialized data services, social-driven IT, PaaS-enabled agility and orchestrated analytical security.
IT leaders must take action now—starting the journey together with their business colleagues. The collaboration demands detailed discussions with the utility C-suite. It will call for CIOs to internalize the key technology trends so they can start framing these discussions—not focusing on the technology itself, but rather on the impact it will have on the business and the new initiatives it can drive.
Adopting new technology trends to position an organization for growth is not the sole responsibility of the IT department. Although IT leaders must take action, they need to undertake this journey with the support and collaboration of the whole business. Now that growing numbers of business leaders associate their organizations’ future success with their ability to keep pace with technology, they must be prepared to recognize and quickly exploit the opportunities enabled by new technology trends.
The fallout from the financial crisis, increasing environmental focus, more stringent regulatory mandates and volatility in commodity prices are forcing utilities to adapt to a different—and rapidly changing—economic, business and regulatory reality. Renewable mandates, smart grid technology and ongoing structural market shifts are changing not only what customers and regulators expect, but also how utilities respond to unprecedented levels of change.
Accenture has identified six technology trends that will influence the utilities industry over the next three to five years:
Context-based services: Where you are and what you are doing will drive the next wave of digital services.
Converging data architectures: Successfully rebalancing the data architecture portfolio and blending the structured with the unstructured are key to turning data into new streams of value.
Industrialized data services: The ability to share data will make it more valuable—but only if it is managed differently.
Social-driven IT: Realize that social is not just a bolt-on marketing channel. It will have true business-wide impact.
PaaS-enabled agility: The maturing platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market will shift the emphasis from cost-cutting to business innovation, supporting rapid evolution for business processes that need continuous change.
Orchestrated analytical security: Organizations will have to accept that their gates will be breached and begin preparing their second line of defense—data platforms—to mitigate the damage caused by attacks that get through.
The annual Accenture Technology Vision provides a perspective on the future of technology likely to shape the industry in the next three to five years:
Prioritize the technology trends—Determine the trends that will have the biggest impact on your organization based on your business drivers, current geo-economic factors and strategy. Embrace each trend over a 12-month time frame, developing a comprehensive action plan.
Define an information strategy—Identify the most critical information that drives the highest value across the business as a prerequisite to addressing many of the trends outlined in the Technology Vision 2012. An information strategy highlights quality, dependency and ownership and the resulting insights can be used to help to prioritize the data services that will be important to the business and to establish a road map for implementation.
Boost data services and management capabilities—Identify “data owners” in the business and work with them to understand business processes that can begin to leverage data in the platform. Think in terms of new skills that will be needed in the organization. As a starting point, most enterprises will need to build better data architecture skills.
Embed use of social technologies across the organization—Many utilities have invested in technology, but adoption is patchy within the enterprise and with partners. Collaboration is critical to this industry, and technology leaders should have a vision and road map for social collaboration and plans for increasing adoption by prioritizing and embedding social technologies into processes, providing support, incentivizing behaviors, ensuring a sponsor from company leadership and following through with measurement.
Define a cloud strategy—Cloud providers are rapidly developing vertical offerings to meet the specific needs of the utility industry. Utilities need to have a strategy that enables them to drive adoption. IT leaders should be looking at the role they will play in enabling cloud adoption and positioning themselves as an enabler or integrator of internally and externally provided services. This is a significant shift in the role of IT.
Change the security paradigm—Change the security mindset from “perimeter-based security” to “orchestrated security processes” around data platforms, which manages risk commensurate with value and recognizes that organizations must not only react to security threats but also anticipate and proactively monitor and seek them.
February 21, 2013
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