Power Insight: Getting to know your customer
The smart grid conundrum
Weathering the storms
“Power Insight” analytics roadmap focuses on improving performance during disruptions
A mid-size electric and gas retail and distribution utility in the Northeast had grown rapidly through acquisition, creating organizational complexity. In addition, the utility’s territory had been pounded by severe weather, creating significant outages. To help improve transportation and distribution (T&D) operations for these issues, Deloitte developed a five-year strategic roadmap to improve processes, technology, talent, and information management practices. Deloitte’s analytics-based Operation Enhancement Initiative (OEI) was also employed to help the utility better utilize operational data.
Bad weather increases demand for stable operations
A mid-size electric and gas retail and distribution utility in the Northeast had grown rapidly through acquisition—with variances in people skills, process, and technology—creating organizational complexity. In addition, in 2010 and 2011 the utility’s territory was pounded by severe wind storms, ice storms, and a tropical storm that each caused significant outages. These damaging events warranted increased visibility on system reliability and outage restoration performance. It also made timely and accurate communications to many stakeholders a critical capability.
Broad roadmap points way to measurable value
The utility turned to Deloitte for a full review of its existing processes, technology, talent, and information management practices. The goal of the resulting five-year strategic roadmap is to enhance T&D operations by:
- Capturing and defining information management requirements to support decision making for the business.
- Benchmarking and comparing operations and work processes against industry practices.
- Evaluating specific systems and developing a roadmap for implementation of identified initiatives.
- Outlining alternative project roadmaps and providing options.
Most importantly, Deloitte took the functional and process improvements one step beyond performance management. Underpinning the roadmap development was an analytics thread utilizing Deloitte’s Enterprise Value Map and OEI framework and tool set. These capabilities help the company to systematically identify improvement opportunities and proactively drive measureable business value linked to the prescribed performance improvements.
Becoming a data-driven organization
Adopting a more data-driven philosophy toward T&D operations, the utility is planning to use the analytics-based roadmap across four different business areas: Information management (IM), process, technology, and change management. Within IM, the five-year roadmap supported the company vision to become more data driven by:
- Identifying detailed business intelligence and IM capabilities.
- Developing a technology reference architecture.
- Building a conceptual data model for specific T&D operations data.
- Authoring project definitions for the specific projects for IM included in the roadmap.
- Compiling inventory of specific performance indicators, measures, and metrics that are commonly used in the T&D business domain.
- Executing performance management for T&D operations—automated population and delivery of performance dashboards.
- Applying work performance analytics—understanding crew utilization and work completion.
- Performing outage restoration, asset health, and geospatial analytics.
From a process perspective, the roadmap is helping the utility benchmark a comparison of business performance against a relevant group of competitors and prioritizes value creating opportunities. On the technology side, the roadmap facilitates a detailed system and business capability assessment and gap analysis, along with the development of a systems integration model with data flow specifications. Finally, the roadmap includes change management protocols to help take steps toward implementing roadmap components with the least disruption to the business and its customers.