The Truth About Homegrown Solutions in the Utility Industry

Posted by Dianne DePuy on January 24, 2019

As a utility, you will have moments when you realize it is time to give up the homegrown solution. Leaders of utilities often believe their business requirements are so different from those of other companies that they cannot be met by using a commercial off the shelf (COTS) solution. This thought process tends to fall into one of three categories:

  1. Customization/Configuration Limitations
  2. Integration with legacy systems
  3. Security Concerns

In the absence of COTS products, many companies use in-house/homegrown systems to support a specific area, say Inventory and Supply Chain functions. Since this naturally happens over a long-term course, it is easy to believe that ‘nothing can meet these needs, so therefore we don’t need to change.’ Here are some important considerations when moving to COTS from an in-house solution:

  • Have we built silos in this existing system? Is it time to break those silos down to enable consistent processes and behavior?
  • Have we missed opportunities for efficiency today that can be resolved with the new COTS?
  • Can we promote cross-functional and cross Business Unit visibility with the new COTS?

Remember: Where a silo occurs, there is room for improvement.

Silos influence process and this leads to a we cannot change anything behavior. Without collective, integrated thinking, your organization is likely to be working harder and not smarter - a common situation when there is no visibility and no effort to take advantage of real-time or future opportunities.

When companies look to replace, they often focus too closely on the specific functions of the legacy system and they miss opportunities to improve processes and practices by leveraging the industry best practices enveloped in COTS/comprehensive solutions like IBM Maximo.

Cost-effective functionalities, included in IBM Maximo, meet distribution organizations’ demands by leveraging existing applications and technologies while taking the burden off your internal development resources. For all these reasons, it is in your best interest to partner with a leading EAM provider, to advance your operations to the next level of efficiency.

Homegrown systems are not receiving the benefits of other leading utilities’ knowledge and experiences. On the other hand, an EAM software company must sell its solution to thousands of customers and end users. This means there are many more end users involved in providing product direction, beta testing and ensuring the software does what it needs to do before it is released.

What better way to instill confidence in your system than to have a dedicated QA team and hundreds of other users testing it to make sure it’s “rock solid”? How many people test your internally developed applications? How much industry experience do they have, and how many meaningful scenarios can they come up with? How current are they with leading practices in utilities, and the changing requirements utilities face regarding distributed generation, greenhouse gas requirements, and workforce optimization initiatives?

Asking the right questions will help your organization achieve target outcomes by aligning operations with your corporate objectives. Contact us today to learn more about how we help organizations every day reach optimal performance.


Topics: Utilities

Written by Dianne DePuy

Find me on:

Subscribe to Email Updates

Lists by Topic

see all

Posts by Topic

see all

Recent Posts