Today we face an inescapable reality: Digital technology permeates almost every area of life, both personal and professional. The way we transact, the way we do business and even the way we socialize, are influenced—if not dictated—by a plethora of smart technologies designed to meet our everyday demands, faster and more efficiently than ever.
Yet, while few industries have escaped the digital tsunami that has engulfed the world, the utilities sector has remained stubbornly on the periphery. Utilities have resisted the current that has propelled firms in other sectors, such as telecommunications and banking, into cyberspace—a space where digitization and mass socialization are no longer an advantageous exception, but increasingly the norm.
In many ways, this apparent immunity is unsurprising. Utilities have historically under-invested in information technology, focusing instead on the operations technologies that enable their core business of generating, transmitting and distributing power. In doing so, they have typically taken a reluctant approach to IT, viewing it as a necessary evil for customer management and revenue collection.