“Elementary, my dear Watson!” New IDC research’s advice to APeJ utilities on the state of their IoT strategy

SINGAPORE, August 17th, 2017 – Utilities in the Asia-Pacific (except Japan) region are yet to scale out IoT deployments to compete effectively in the market. A recent study from IDC Energy Insights titled Internet of Things: State of Play in Asia-Pacific Utilities Business , establishes that utility organizations see IoT as a differentiator but are naïve in their ability to build an intelligent IoT landscape.

IoT is slowly becoming a recurring theme in the APeJ utilities business. Utility business leaders consider IoT to be a strategic lever to improve productivity and their ability to compete effectively in the market. The IDC report reveals that the level of investment in IoT by utilities across different countries is rapidly increasing. 97% of utilities companies are already dabbling with IoT at different scales to create differentiation in their markets.

At IDC Energy Insights, we have observed, however, that this enthusiasm of utility organizations in introducing IoT within their operations does not always mirror the proficiency with which they do so. The leadership and execution teams on the ground see IoT playing different roles in enabling the organization digitally. There is a disconnect between the envisioning and the actual implementation of IoT within operations. IoT decisions are passed down through the organizational grapevine in isolation to other technology and governance changes that should ideally be a part of the same conversation. As a result, strategic IoT implementations become isolated experiments within operations, directed at solving an impending business problem, which are often related to maintaining the integrity of assets and resources.

“Utilities in this region approach IoT cautiously and incompletely. They are yet to look at IoT deployments strategically within their organization” says Emilie Ditton, Research Director, IDC Energy Insights Asia Pacific.

IDC noted that the absence of proper groundwork is a common issue among IoT projects being undertaken across the region. The vision is strategic. Decisions are isolated. Implementation is random. This impacts the effectiveness of IoT in bringing change.

“With the anticipated increase in activity and IoT investments, it is critical that utilities organizations use the right approach to connect different elements of their operation together. Building a roadmap, accommodating for changes in governance structure, digitally enabling the operational workforce and managing change effectively is crucial,” says Sparshy Saxena, Senior Market Analyst, IDC Energy Insights.

These re-alignments are essential pre-cursors to having a fully functional and insightful connected environment. Doing so will build a strong business case for scaling up distributed and pilot projects throughout the organization. The environment that they then will build will be on-trend with the current drifts in the industry, helping them achieve the agility and efficiency that they desire, without burning an irreparable hole in their pockets.

“Utilities need to plan ahead and embed IoT decisions within their holistic organizational strategy to drive value throughout their organization,” ends Saxena.

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