In an earlier article in Wipro’s Energy 2020 series, we described how the combination of strengthening long-term energy transition trends, collapsing oil prices, and the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are driving permanent changes to both energy consumer mindsets and energy companies’ operations.
The Energy 2020 context presents the perfect opportunity for companies to reimagine vital elements of their operating model – including the front and back office, asset operations, supply chain and more – to build resilience and adaptability for the demands of a different energy future.
Efficient delivery of fieldwork is one such critical part of the operations that is ripe for reinvention, and the focus of this article.
Reimagining fieldwork to amplify outcomes
At most energy companies, the labor cost of field operations typically represents upwards of 60% of the overall asset maintenance spend. At some water and gas utilities, this proportion gets as high as 80%. Field operations are thus seen as a key domain for efficiency improvements. Furthermore, the effectiveness of fieldwork and the expertise of the field force have a direct bearing on the quality of asset upkeep, customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance.
The sustained adoption of advanced solutions for work scheduling, dispatch, routing and field mobility has enabled companies to elevate their work management capabilities and outcomes significantly. However, new demands continue to emerge, and many familiar bugbears remain unresolved, such as suboptimal usage of crews, repeated truck rolls to finish jobs, not having access to the right data while on site, and more. The absence of reliable industry benchmarks on workforce utilization also hinders optimization goalsetting and methods.
Our earlier article described four forces that will propel energy companies to refashion their operating models: accelerated digitalization, the increasing unpredictability and impact of intense disruptions, changing customer mindsets, and a sustained energy transition. Any strategy deployed to respond to these trends will need to embrace fieldwork as a critical element along with opportunities to amplify outcomes.
How should an energy company set about roadmapping this change? We recommend a structured three-part framework. Start with a clear visualization of your desired outcomes. Redefine the operating model using a human-centric design mindset to discover opportunities for differentiated capabilities. Develop a roadmap to evolve the data and digital enablers to support the operating model.
1) Start by visualizing your future fieldwork outcomes
Energy companies have rightly focused on worker safety, asset safety and reliability, cost of maintenance, and customer satisfaction as primary fieldwork outcomes. In addition to these key objectives, other outcomes are also gaining focus. These are driven by employee preferences, changing worker demographics, digital-enabled efficiency opportunities, and changes in operational needs. While specific priorities will necessarily vary across companies, we see five outcomes as key drivers for the future of fieldwork (See Figure 1).
Figure 1: Target outcomes of reimagined fieldwork
2) Redefine your operating model for fieldwork
The second part of the framework is the reimagining of your operating model for fieldwork.
Most energy companies have evolved a robust core capability for work management enabled by sophisticated field service, mobility and GIS solutions. This industrialized core provides the substrate upon which companies can now build the differentiating operational capabilities that will deliver a greater proportion of the higher order outcomes mentioned above.
We recommend a structured service design methodology to define these differentiated capabilities. The key step is a methodical discovery of opportunities for differentiated capabilities, specific to your operations and business context, which will align your future operating model to the target outcomes.
The following inputs will help in this analysis.
Importantly, for the most impactful opportunity analysis, these inputs should be used within a service design methodology that defines the key operations and customer personas, their journey maps, and persona-centric process and interaction designs. This approach will deliver a comprehensive roadmap to evolve to a target operating model (See Figure 2).
Figure 2: A structured methodology to define the future operating model for fieldwork
3) Define and roadmap the digital and data enablers
The third part of the framework is the development of a roadmap to build the necessary data and digital enablers that will underpin the delivery of your differentiated fieldwork capabilities.
While the specifics of a redefined operating model for work management will be different for each company, the field operations domain, in general, will be a key consumer of a range of digital capabilities such as AI, analytics, IoT, advanced mobility and mixed reality. As such, the future requirements of this part of the energy organization will be a key determinant in the evolution of the overall enterprise digital strategy.
Subsequent articles in Wipro’s Energy 2020 series will specifically discuss enterprise digital strategies for energy companies. It is worth highlighting here key guiding principles to maximize the benefit from your digital enablers, especially where digital solutions are coupled with significant changes to user experience and ways-of-working.
A different future of fieldwork
The Energy 2020 transition offers a compelling opportunity for companies to reimagine their operating model for a different future of fieldwork. Enterprises that view this exercise as a strategic reinvention for a future-fit operating model, not just as an opportunity for a tactical injection of technology, will be exemplars for the industry.
Head of Domain & Consulting – Utilities, ECO & GIS, Wipro
Shirish has worked in the utility industry for more than 28 years. He is a Global Head of Domain & Consulting business for Wipro’s Utilities, ECO and GIS sectors. He has championed and architected many large transformation deals working with clients across power, gas and water sectors globally and worked across continents including Australia, UK, Germany, US, Middle East. As an industry leader for Wipro’s Utilities, ECO & GIS sectors, Shirish’s priorities are to help customer develop and operationalize digital and operational technologies for business transformation, data monetization and new business models.
Praveen Agrawal is a subject matter expert in Enterprise Asset & Work Management and allied areas such as Geographical Information Systems and Workforce Management. He has been researching these areas for close to 20 years. Praveen has global experience in architecting large and complex projects for energy, utilities, manufacturing and telecommunications companies.