Austin Energy's Smart Grid is powered by a pervasive network and Software Oriented Architecture that follows the principles of delivering presentation, process, and information as services to all stakeholders. From connecting and managing central power plants, distributed energy plants, the wholesale energy system, the transmission and distribution grid, the meters, distributed generation, storage, electric vehicles, smart appliances at customer sites, to the delivery of timely information and new services via portals, in-home displays, smart phones and TVs to all customer types.
The way to the smart grid is via a new technology governance that ensures centralization of information technology and communications groups, the purchasing process, and the decision making and business alignment, while remaining flexible and driven by the Line of Business Executives and Managers as sponsors of their projects and accountable to the enterprise for funding of the projects, business cases, ranking and alignment against the corporate strategic goals, and committed to delivering the benefits outlined in the business justification case for the investment.
Architect enterprise-wide but deliver one discrete project at a time to show success, adoption, and culture change. Remember that perfection is the enemy of good. And remember that building that smart grid is a journey and not a quick trip destination. The Architecture effort must drive improvements in your network, systems, data, and business process architecture layers. Doing one and not the others will cost you lots and take you longer. Start with mapping your top business processes as they are today. That exercise will give you a true insight into where you are as an enterprise. Then define the most ambitious end-goal possible. Follow that with mapping the gap from today vs. tomorrow and picking the quick win projects to attack first. Be surgical and stay the course. Celebrate every win and invest in marketing the journey for all to share. And don't forget to document your lessons learned.
Achieving success will require true top down commitment to business process innovation and managing and rewarding culture change that optimizes the reach of higher levels of efficiencies, higher levels of effectiveness, and better customer experiences. The smart grid can be delivered sooner that most people think. The technology is available today and the holding back is around risk management, business models, and politics. The path to success requires a new way of thinking about our challenges as a nation and the solutions to empower our total transformation by unleashing a new smart grid economy.