Utility digital transformation

Digital utility asset management can advance the clean energy transition

Moving to cleaner power sources while boosting reliability, resilience, and security is a tall order. To achieve this, electricity providers may need to leave traditional asset management strategies behind and develop a comprehensive digital asset management strategy with robust data governance and cybersecurity at its core. Digital transformation can advance the clean energy transition by helping electricity providers manage assets while balancing cost, risk, and performance.

Utility digital transformation: Why now?

Our research shows that most electricity providers are still only dabbling in digital and not approaching utility digital transformation with the comprehensive, holistic view required to unlock its full range of benefits. Accordingly, for many providers, a digital asset management strategy hasn’t been feasible, since asset management has typically been compliance-driven, managed by different departments, or overseen by individual employees who maintain their own reports based on bespoke data aggregation.

Systems may not be fully connected or updated in real time; instead, electricity providers have typically relied on seasoned employees with decades of system knowledge and experience—employees with skills and legacy knowledge that’s difficult to replace when they retire. Add to that the growing proliferation and complexity of assets, and the need for a new, more sustainable approach becomes clear.

Digital utility asset management: Building the backbone of energy transition

Read the report and explore the full framework

Map your digital utility asset management journey

To be effective in leading the clean energy transition, electricity providers will have to digitally transform their asset management. With a digital asset management strategy, decisions can be data-driven and risk-informed rather than based on a hunch.

Our Digital Utility Asset Management model framework describes the fundamental journey required to digitally transform and enable assets. It’s an approach backed by supporting technologies, with cybersecurity and data governance at its core. The digital transformation journey requires that the enterprise first identify its overarching vision and objectives. Then, it constructs an integrated solution with a customized road map that leads to its desired business outcomes, based on the phases outlined in the Digital Utility Asset Management Model.

Explore the nine phases that make up Deloitte’s Digital Utility Asset Management Model


1. Create

Generate data on temperature, humidity, pressure, voltage, current, load and usage, and visual details that captures conditions in the physical world from sensors, cameras, and other intelligent electronic devices monitoring power system assets.


2. Communicate

Transmit the data to a central processing system, such as the supervisory control and data acquisition system or enterprise asset management system.


3. Integrate/Aggregate

Combine the data in a common repository and enable user access and system or application integration; add external data and standardize as required. A growing volume of data and analytics software may be housed either on-premises or in the cloud.


4. Analyze

Deploy the appropriate tools and processes to harness available data and provide actionable insights. Insights can drive asset strategies and actions to balance risk, cost, and performance.


5. Visualize

Use data and analytics to create integrated, real-time dashboards to inform decisions. This can help enhance situational awareness, predict asset risk, and inform proactive action. Some utilities also “virtualize” the asset by creating a digital twin, which integrates data on an asset’s design, manufacturing, inspection, repair, sensor, and more. This digital profile can provide insights on the asset’s historical, current, and expected behavior and help forecast the asset’s health and performance over its lifetime.


6. Augment

Use cognitive capabilities such as machine learning to analyze current and historical data and predict an asset’s future condition and behavior. It can help asset managers make repair or replace decisions and facilitate scenario planning. Augmenting with cognitive capabilities enables predictive maintenance, a step up from more costly maintenance methods such as planned or preventative maintenance.


7. Automate

The augmented behavioral technologies advance the process into the digital-to-physical side of the model, where it can enable automated action by robots or other devices.


8. Act

Humans use insights provided by the loop to inform decisions about where and when to inspect, monitor, repair, replace, or retire assets. The Act phase may also occur at other points in the loop.

9. Assess

Measure benefits and return on investment, and decide whether to finish a project or revise and refresh the strategy and start around the loop again.


Powering a cleaner, more resilient, and secure tomorrow

The most critical step in a developing a digital utility asset management strategy is to formulate your company’s vision and determine the desired business outcomes across the organization and its asset ecosystem. The next step is to develop a comprehensive, integrated solution involving multiple technology components for a road map to success.

Finally, it’s important to review your digital utility asset management strategy periodically because, as digital technologies advance, costs typically fall, implementation timelines can compress, and projects that had not been feasible yesterday may be possible today. While there are many issues to consider, the rewards of utility digital transformation will likely make the journey worthwhile.

If you’d like to talk more about digital utility asset management or learn more about how your organization can succeed in the clean energy transition, let’s set up a conversation.

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