CIO Straight Talk - Issue 3 - 21
Who Owns What?
ring Boundary Between
IT and Operations
As the power industry is transformed, the evolving role of
IT foreshadows changes soon to affect other types of businesses.
David Harkness, CIO, Xcel Energy
In the face of changing energy needs, the utility industry is undergoing a
massive transformation. Embedding information technology into a utility’s
operating equipment — transformers, capacitors, meters, etc. — is creating new
opportunities for power companies to transmit electricity more efficiently,
restore power more quickly, and help customers reduce costs by directing
demand to off-peak hours, among other things.
The so-called Smart Grid (see sidebar, page 22) is creating new challenges as
well. Because it’s so new, it can be difficult to demonstrate the benefits to
regulators and customers during the necessary period of up-front investment.
It’s also difficult to sort through who inside the company owns which
technology and data, and how all that should be governed. To benefit the
most from this new way of operating, our business leaders must become more
conversant with technology and data analytics, and our technologists need to
learn more about how the utility business runs — a challenge facing IT
executives in many industries.
Xcel Energy is a pioneer in "smart grid" technology, having piloted the world's ﬁrst
adoption of smart grid tools in a real-world urban setting in Boulder, Colorado.