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Smarter Organization for Smart Grid

In my previous blogs I discussed about value realization from smart grid investments (http://www.infosysblogs.com/smart-utilities/2010/12/ ) and technological and social relevance of Smart Grid (http://www.infosysblogs.com/smart-utilities/2010/10/ ). Also my fellow bloggers have been discussing about some very important business and technology challenges and solutions. As Utility industry moves towards addressing these challenges, an underlying element that needs to be addressed is your internal organization and most importantly "people" (This is one part of change which is most important but is often given least priority while actually planning for it). If the internal change is not managed well then it may lead to confusion, anxiety, frustration, resistance, waste and delay, and these are sufficient enough reasons to derail any program. And in case of Smart Grids we are talking about disrupting the well-established processes and procedures over years; so it definitely warrants a structured approach for managing change.

If you have started your Smart Grid journey then you would have already experienced few of the following challenges (which are not related to Smart Grid technology) and if you are just starting then you should start thinking about these: 
  1. Is the internal organization tuned for such a mammoth changes?
  2. How to bring departments/business units closer to match up to technology convergence?
  3. How to make people smarter and more successful with the change?
  4. Have we set clear expectations with the employees?
  5. Are we providing adequate tools and skills to the employees?
  6. Do we have adequate rewards/consequences mechanisms?
  7. Are we communicating the right things at the right time with employees and customers?
  8. How will customers perceive these changes?
  9. And above all do we have managed plan to effect these changes? 
This list can go on and on but the moot point here is to ensure that internal and external changes coming with Smart Grid initiatives are recognized and addressed in a structured manner. But the question remains "How do we address these challenges?" Though there is no silver bullet solution to the problem but it can be addressed through a series of well-planned Organizational Change Management (OCM) interventions.  A full blown OCM exercise is needed to create the organization of the future (and it requires planning, patience and delicate handling) and following should be the key elements of a holistic OCM approach:
  • Change Strategy and Vision
  • Leadership
  • New Ways of Working
  • Job and Organization Design
  • Culture
  • Value Realization
You should define each of these in your own context and ensure that it's well executed through the life cycle of your Smart Grid journey. I would happy to discuss further with you in case you are trying to find answers to any one of the above problems. 

Comments

Dear Mitul

Well said!

'Ensuring adoption and accountability' of employees facing large scale changes is very challenging. A Smart organization is the one that understands the importance of handling such 'People Side' of Change.

We may have to find ways to create the 'burning platform' for the employees to change. They have got used to 'one way' of doing things i.e. 'Their way' of doing things (most such organizations thrive on 'Command and Control' management style). When the top management announces a 'scheme' or 'project', all the employees are supposed to follow, 'cooperate' and 'obey' the orders.

Many a times it back fires as there is no 'will' from the larger part of the organization to 'make it happen'. Large projects fail, not because of the technology or process, because of 'people related issues' (including leadership, culture, support etc)

One way of approaching this could be to identify the 'key influencers' in the organization (no matter where they are in the hierarchy!) and make them part of your 'Organizational Readiness Network'

Thanks for triggering great many insights and starting this discussion. Will follow on what others have to say on this...

Signing off

Bhaskar Natarajan
Principal - Organizational Transformation Practice
Infosys Consulting

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