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CLIENT CASE STUDY


Australian Water Utility

Preparing to become a digital utility of the future

OVERVIEW

Rising customer expectations, potential regulatory shifts and future water scarcity are converging to force water utilities to reconsider what they do and how they do it. This client is no exception. While other utilities are adopting a “wait and see” approach, this company has set its sights on transforming its operations and enhancing the customer experience through digital technologies. Doing so, the client believes, will enable it to proactively address the challenges it faces and also pursue new and valuable opportunities.

For help in understanding how it could become a leading-edge digital utility, the client turned to Accenture Strategy. Within just four weeks, Accenture Strategy, Accenture Consulting and Fjord (a design and innovation consultancy that is part of Accenture Interactive) helped the company develop a set of eight future business models, as well as potential pathways to help guide its leaders’ strategic decisions. With a range of options for moving forward, the client is poised to become the high-performing digital utility it envisioned.

OPPORTUNITY

To thrive in an increasingly complex environment characterized by rising customer expectations, regulatory and competitive uncertainty, and future water scarcity, an Australian water utility knew it needed to transform its operations and enhance its customers’ experiences—fully utilizing existing and new digital technologies wherever possible. In effect, the company set its sights on becoming a leading-edge “digital utility.” For help in determining the best path forward, the client turned to Accenture Strategy.

"The Australian water utility knew it needed to transform its operations and enhance its customers’ experiences. For help in determining the best path forward, the client turned to Accenture Strategy."

OUTCOMES

Accenture Strategy, Accenture Consulting and Fjord worked together to help the client understand future scenarios, identify potential business models in response to each, and prepare roadmaps that outlined the transformation steps over time. Specifically, the team:

  • Assessed global water industry trends, identified potential disruptors and exposed the major forces at play.

  • Looked at potential scenarios that could emerge and determined the likelihood of each occurring.

  • Developed and refined eight future business models, as well as a decision framework that the client’s leadership team could use to select the most appropriate one(s).

  • Defined the strategic capabilities, a pathway of decisions and actions that the client would need to take to bring the new business model(s) to life. Accenture Strategy also helped identify “no-regret” capabilities that would benefit the company, regardless of the business model(s) the utility ultimately chose.

Within four weeks, the client had a comprehensive set of future business models, as well as potential pathways to help guide its strategic investment and positioning decisions. The project confirmed that digital disruption provides several opportunities for future success.

For example, with rising customer expectations, the client will need to deliver new and value-added services beyond “water as a product.” As new technologies make networks smarter, the client will need to develop an intelligent “customer smart” network. Finally, strong partners will be a key success factor for the client. Collaboration with key associates will help boost growth.

Armed with these insights, as well as business models and roadmaps, the client is well on its way to becoming the leading-edge digital utility it has envisioned. More importantly, it is positioning itself to be a water utility leader that will not only achieve, but also sustain high performance for years to come.

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