Accenture_Melusi_MaposaAccenture is a returning platinum sponsor at African Utility Week and will provide several expert speakers to the programme.

Welcome back to African Utility Week – what kind of feedback did you get from your participation last year?
Extremely positive. We have increased our level of participation and involvement with AUW and target audiences have picked up on this. In addition to being a platinum sponsor, provide speaking and conference moderators, we facilitated a very successful CEO Forum where we shared insights from our annual Digitally Enabled Grid survey. The insights gleaned from this global survey, which also included respondents from South Africa, was thought provoking and well received by the attendees.

Can you give us a breakdown of the kind of work that Accenture does in the power and water sectors across the continent?
Our work spans across the full range of our services; Strategy, Digital, Technology an Operations. We’ve helped some of our clients define and execute strategies to reposition their businesses to take advantage of new business opportunities. We are focussed on helping our clients implement advance analytics to attain deeper insight into key operational issues around customer services and experience, outage management and workforce efficiencies. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is still a big focus for us, especially then revenue management capabilities that are unlocked by AMI.

Lastly, we are very involved in Capital Project Management where we help our clients better control and execute capital projects through better reporting and assurance services.

Any specific projects that you are particularly excited about that you can share?
We are very excited about the work we are doing with municipal utilities to drive better insight and efficiencies around capital project executions. We have helped drive increased expenditure, with very clear correlation to service delivery outcomes.

In your view, what are the main challenges to the energy and/or water sector in Africa?
The lack of capacity, both financial and human, remains a challenge for most of our clients. However, better leveraging of analytics and As-A-Service delivery models – where service providers execute processes on behalf of customer – offer opportunities to plug skills and funding gaps whilst aligning with the objectives of utilities and their partners.

What is your vision for this industry?
I’d like to see an increased uptake of As-A-Service models as this allows utilities to leverage private capital to achieve service delivery outcomes by allowing private players to share in the risk and reward related to projects. Projects such as metering for both water and electricity, water network operations including infrastructure refurbishment (reservoirs, treatment works, ..) all lend themselves to Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) contracting models. Although complex to execute, PPP engagements offer an incredible opportunity for utilities to jumpstart service delivery.

Accenture is a platinum sponsor at African Utility Week again this year – why do you partner with us?
The event affords great opportunities to interact with old and prospective clients, to mix and mingle with partners and competitors to trade notes on key developments in the sector.

What will be your specific message at the event?

Firstly, we believe utilities can derive significant value by focussing on customer experience and engagement. Even when the underlying service has not be improved, there is value in engaging customers. Secondly, leverage other people’s money where possible to amplify the impact of the utility’s own resources. Thirdly, consider As-A-Service delivery models as they effectively link service provider rewards and risk with the utility’s outcomes. For utility companies to think about their customer / citizen experiences, beyond just supply and billing. To offer a better service experience model for their citizens. Ultimately to drive better smarter consumption habits.

Anything else you would like to add?
We look forward to engaging prospective and current customers, partners and competitors. All are welcome at the Accenture VIP Lounge.