Oracle Utilities are expert partners for the Utility CEO Forum series that comprises five year-around, by-invitation-only, confidential meetings between African Utility and IPP CEOs from all over Africa and various expert and developmental partners.
The Utility CEO Forum: Central Africa took place in July, while the Southern Africa edition was hosted in August and in September the Utility CEO Forum: East Africa took place – all successfully engaging parties online.
Mike Ballard, Vice President Industry Strategy, Oracle Utilities shares some insights:
What is your main message to the CEOs at these CEO Forums?
Digitalisation of processes and systems is a key enabler for increasing reliability, financial performance and customer satisfaction in an increasingly uncertain world. It will also help improve the flexibility needed to respond to changing environments.
What in particular is your advice to utility CEOs to future-proof the financial health of their utility?
Increased automation (reducing silos and manual hand-offs) and the use of data to drive decisions to prioritise investments will provide more resilience, make finances go further.
Also being able to track revenues (and where it is lost) throughout the value chain is very important. Increasingly utilities are able to streamline their operations by centralising activities into smaller numbers of systems (and vendors). A best-of-breed suppliers approach is becoming less popular due to cost, and complexity of integration and delays in value realisation.
What has made you feel proud to be part of the energy sector in the last few weeks?
During the challenges of COVID-19 it has been inspiring to see how utilities around the world have maintained service despite the challenges. Personal sacrifices being made to ensure power and water continue to be delivered.
Anything you would like to add?
Always a pleasure to interact with our African energy leaders. I am really hopeful that we will be able to meet in person again very soon.