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  • Karonn Blue, P.E., PMP

Cultural Shifts in the Workplace

We are certainly “not in Kansas anymore,” and in fact have not been for decades. From the telephone, to the cell phone, to Bluetooth and a myriad social media outlets and options, we are in the age of rampant, cascading exponential infinitum! Organizations must stay up and keep up and respond to the shifting winds of social and cultural forces.

Significant modifications, alterations or transformations, such as digitalization, require an “all hands on deck” effort. Leaders in digitalization across all industries reduce risk and improve the odds of success by developing and nurturing an ecosystem of any or all of the following: executives, internal teams, technology partners, startups, and industry peers, and most important, an experienced external consultant.

Changing workforce

Newer employees expect current technology to be there to help them in their jobs. Older systems are usually large, clunky, and proprietary, making changes very problematic.

  • New systems are far more flexible and easier to adopt on an as-needed basis. IT workers much prefer the latter!

  • Older, entrenched employees may be hard to persuade to move to new technologies:

  • “We’ve always done it that way and it works fine!”

  • “Not yet another corporate initiative.”

However, once shown the “how’s”, these employees learn to embrace the change, but likely at a much slower pace.

  • Fewer SMEs or knowledge transfer from experienced to newer employees. It can be increasingly difficult to teach newer workers and get them on board in a legacy environment.

Addressing ever shifting social and cultural currents will be vastly enabled by taking a digital approach, such that companies can more easily on-board new technologies and employees with fresh ideas. Being a digital business is really the only way to go!!

While digitalization will help improve the bottom line, electric utilities must seek new business opportunities to combat the downward trend in revenues and profits. Electric utilities must understand their strengths and weaknesses to position themselves to capitalize on new markets.

There are deep wells of potential to be developed before and beyond the meter, such as digital field worker platforms, advanced network control systems, smart cities and homes, distributed energy technologies, and a host of other innovations. Electric utilities must unleash the expertise in their companies to recognize and solve the problems of the future and learn to build business models around these teams and solutions. They must become adept at building innovative teams and working with startups and technology partners to develop technology and not simply a user.

To minimize the risks and costs of digital transformation, and to provide for maximum system flexibility over time, it is imperative to AVOID proprietary software that will not easily integrate with other applications. Open architecture allows your company to be nimble and ready to take advantage of that next advancement that suddenly appears on the technological horizon.

In the process of digitalization and beyond, it is imperative to stay abreast of new developments in order not to be left behind. Reviewing new approaches that leading companies in asset-intensive industries implement, and how they do so, is an effective means of maintaining your organization’s lead.

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