As more companies in the utilities industry implement technological changes, culture changes or reorganizations, I’ve had several clients ask how the changes they face compare to what is happening across the industry.

Prosci’s Best Practices in Change Management - 2016 Edition revealed the most common changes faced by change practitioners, segmented by industry. Read on to discover the top changes faced by utilities and how change-ready the industry is compared to the others.

Top Changes in Utilities

When working with my clients, I’ve seen an upsurge in mergers, acquisitions and consolidations in addition to plenty of changes in technology, including smart meter initiatives and the implementation of new customer information systems. The research shows that this is a common story across the industry. Practitioners in utilities reported the following major changes in their organizations:

Market changes

  • Rise in popularity of renewable energy
  • Government regulation related to carbon dioxide emissions
  • Changes to demand
  • Consolidation
  • Increased competition

Operational changes

  • Changes to processes and business models
  • Increased attention to environmental concerns
  • Changes to customer relations

Technological changes 

  • Digitalization of the energy market
  • Remote meter reading
  • Popularization of smart-grid technology

Are Utilities Equipped to Change?

Next question: are utilities ready to take on these changes? The Best Practices in Change Management – 2016 Edition shows how the utilities industry compares to others in terms of change management maturity. While participants in this industry reported high maturity in terms of budget and integration, they fell behind the rest of the study population in regards to dedicating a resource to change management or understanding the role of sponsors:

Where utilities excelled 

While only 33% of overall study participants reported that they had a dedicated budget for change management, 89% of participants from utilities reported a dedicated budget. 

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In addition, utilities excelled at integrating project management and change management, particularly when considering the integration of people and processes.

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Where utilities can improve 

While 76% of overall participants had a staff member dedicated to change management, only 46% of utilities had this resource.

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And while numbers were similar for overall participants, only 57% of utilities reported having sponsors who adequately understood their role:

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Next Steps for Improving change Readiness

When applying for additional resources for change management, use Prosci’s research to demonstrate the value that a dedicated change management resource brings.

Research on a dedicated change management resource

Consistently, over the course of multiple studies, hundreds of participants reported that using a dedicated change management resource on a project results in more effective change management. And effective change management in turn has a significantly positive impact on keeping a project on time, on budget, and delivering the objectives you expect. 

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Sponsorship as a top contributor to change success

To raise awareness and understanding of the role of a sponsor, quote the Top Contributors to Change Success, which have consistently cited sponsorship as the most important contributor to successful change management.

Change management for utilities conference

Written by
Jeremy Carson
Jeremy Carson

Jeremy has more than 10 years of experience at Prosci. Over half of those years were spent as part of the training team, traveling the globe to deliver change management training to practitioners, managers, and executives. Now as part of the Account Team, Jeremy specializes in helping clients in the financial and utilities industries adopt the Prosci research and methodology to drive successful project implementation, change leadership development and enterprise change management competency building.

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