The global energy and utilities sector is making increasing use of intelligent automation, including a significant rise in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) since 2017, but executives are underestimating its full potential with large scale projects taking a back seat.
The report “Intelligent Automation in Energy and Utilities: The next digital wave” from Capgemini Research Institute also found that, nearly half of the respondents have undervalued the benefits they gained from their intelligent automation initiatives, while only 18% of organizations are deploying quick-win use cases, and just 15% of those surveyed said their company is deploying multiple intelligent automation use cases at scale.
The report highlights that the traditional energy and utilities business model is under pressure worldwide, with technological changes and increased competition making their presence felt. It cites that automation and AI will also be instrumental in helping these companies to meet climate change goals and the growing demand for clean, cheap, reliable energy.
While the sector is deriving significant value from intelligent automation compared to other industries, scaling, seizing quick-wins and overcoming the critical digital skills gap will be key to bringing it into the mainstream.
The Key Findings from the Study included:
Intelligent automation is delivering significant benefits to the sector – A consistently higher percentage of executives in the energy and utilities sector said they’d achieved benefits from their intelligent automation initiatives compared to the response for ‘all sectors’.
80% of organizations are missing out on quick wins for critical use cases – In core functions, only 18% of energy and utility organizations are deploying quick-win use cases (those that are low on delivery complexity but high in terms of benefits achieved such as forecasting, energy trading, yield optimization, grid behavior interfaces and complaints management).
Business related challenges and skills gap hamper deployment at scale – Business-related challenges were cited by respondents as barriers to scaling including a lack of co-ordination across different business units (37%), a lack of leadership commitment (35%), and an organizational reticence to experimenting with technology that could replace human workers (34%).
15% of executives said their company was deploying multiple intelligent automation use cases at scale.
Many executives also pointed to a shortage in skills as a challenge. A majority (55%) cited a lack of talent skilled in automation technologies.
Philippe Vié, Global Head of Energy & Utilities at Capgemini, commented, “Now the focus must shift to the factors that will enable the scaling of multiple use cases including an investment in specialist talent, more integrated co-ordination between business units, and a stronger commitment from leadership. Having tasted the benefits of automation, energy and utility companies must now redouble their investment to reap the full rewards.”
The Capgemini Research Institute conducted a primary survey of 529 business leaders at the manager lever or above in energy and utility organizations experimenting with or implementing automation. Respondents were based in seven countries – the United States, Germany, India, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands and Sweden – and across five sub-sectors: electricity utilities, oil and gas, energy services, water utilities, and electricity and gas utilities.
The report can be downloaded: Click here