To digitally transform your energy or utility organization, you need to transform your business AND its processes. And it is important that your energy and utility organization knows - and owns - its processes, independent of the software it uses.
You will find it all but impossible to implement new transformational technologies if you don't have a solid understanding of your processes – they are the foundation of your business. Transformation projects that rely only on technology alone are like buildings built on sand, they just don't last.
The bottom line is this: When you own your business processes, you control the way you run your business, regardless of the software applications you deploy or the integrators you work with. Integrators and applications will come and go, but your processes belong to you. They are the DNA that governs not only how your business operates, but the foundational capability that allows you to manage and optimize it.
You cannot define or own your processes, of course, without the involvement of your business leaders. It is the business leaders and their teams who best understand the way processes are executed and where efficiencies can be created.
How do you get started?
A popular strategy for digital transformation in many organizations is what many in the industry call "land and expand." That means going into one business unit and working on a transformation project that combines technology and business processes to produce positive results. Showing success in one business unit then leads to expansion to other units. At leading organizations in the energy and utility sector, the goal is to establish a Business Process Center of Excellence (COE), which may use a federated model to work across business units, and also include a process librarian.
Building, defining, and improving process is critical to transformation because it can help businesses in a number of areas, including:
- Cost management
- Compliance support
- Improved knowledge management
- Better change management
Reaching maturity in this area means having data around your business processes that you can analyze in order to identify areas ripe for improvement in both customer-facing parts of the business, and internal areas like operations, finance, IT and HR.
Of course, there are challenges to overcome including legacy technology, long replacement cycles, budget constraints, systems integrators and resistant employees.
So what does success look like?
When your organization owns its process and overcomes the challenges of transforming its business, it will have an enduring process framework that helps it maintain its knowledge about how and why the organization does business and how effectively it operates. This framework should survive almost anything the business throws at it, from changes to technology and partners, to new integrators and consultants, changes in personnel, and even mergers and acquisition activity. It becomes the single source of truth that all stakeholders can anchor their opinions and recommendations.
Case in point, a customer we were working with in the Energy sector wanted to standardize their land entitlement (authority to explore and extract minerals) processes across all of their business units. When the question was asked how this is done today, it took the scrum team over two months to research and document the processes in formats that were actionable. As the land entitlement process was an initial project scope in a much larger “end-to-end” process transformation initiative, the senior management team came to the conclusion that, in order to scale the broader transformation initiative, they needed to build an organizational capability that documented processes across multiple operations, stakeholders and business units. This capability needed to be implemented in a manner that was both repeatable, time efficient and archived the information to ensure that the knowledge would not fade away once the initial project was complete.
Attaining this level of visibility and control over your processes might sounds like a hefty burden for many organizations. It isn't going to be easy – transformation never is.
To learn how to achieve this visibility and control, click below to see our comprehensive ebook: Why Business Processes are Critical to Transforming Energy and Utility Companies.