Insights from the 2023 Alden Systems’ User Conference: Top 3 Changes to Prepare for Now
Could agility be the single most important quality you’ll need for success in the joint use industry today? Alden Systems CEO John Sciarabba thinks so.
In April, utility professionals from across the U.S. gathered for the annual Alden Systems’ Conference – a time when electric utilities, attaching companies and service firms connect, exchange ideas, and learn how to optimize their use of Alden One features and functionality. Sciarabba kicked off the event with a keynote speech addressing an issue all utility asset-owning and attaching companies have to face every day: rampant industry change.
- Advancements in tech have led to changes in the way joint use agreements are managed, requiring the unprecedented need for coordination between stakeholders.
- More companies are entering the field as smart grid technology has led to different types of agreements with brand new entities.
- The increased demand for fiber rollout keeps driving competition, highlighting the need for extreme efficiency.
With all these shifts, it’s easy to see why becoming change resilient is something utility stakeholders who deal with joint use management must prioritize.
But what does that actually mean for your business? Sciarabba says it begins with simply being willing to change. Then you must try different approaches to problems – with good planning and educated guesswork. Though change can be uncomfortable, it’s absolutely necessary to assume a healthy amount of risk. “Don't chase perfection. Instead, pursue excellence,” Sciarabba said. “You must move faster than the external rate of change.” Companies that don’t embrace this concept risk being left behind.
At the 2023 Alden Conference, he highlighted three broad-scale changes that every utility and joint use stakeholder must respond to in order to remain competitive:
- Adapt to a Shrinking Workforce — As baby boomers inch into retirement, our workforce is set to lose 9 million people (about half the population of New York). This does not spell good news for industries already strapped for talent. Automation effectively multiplies your existing workforce by removing mundane tasks from the experts on staff to allow them to work at their highest level. Seeking automation opportunities before the workforce shrinks will best position companies to survive this massive change, Sciarabba explained.
- Get Ready for More — More of everything, that is. The industry’s expected growth rate between 2021 and 2028 is 29%. As 5G and fiber lead the way, you’re probably already seeing work volume ramp up. Adding to that change are increased complexities involved in jobs with more (and new) stakeholders at the table. This will only continue. Sciarabba encourages companies to focus on what’s around the corner: “Smart city opportunities will be introduced for ‘smart’ utilities, and companies that provide the connectivity can allow others to use their bandwidth,” he said. Also, businesses who are just beginning to create applications in space may not be familiar with the "rules" around the utilities, further complicating work.
- Look for Demand Everywhere — No longer are the need for services concentrated in urban areas – the steady rise of remote work and remote care through telemedicine has ushered in the urgent need for connectivity in every corner of the land, particularly rural areas that have long suffered the effects of outdated infrastructure. Today, more urban professionals are leaving cities for small-town America, and they are taking expectations for high-speed broadband with them. Companies will have to scale to capture this market share, but they must often do so without hiring new workers, Sciarabba pointed out. (See #1.)
Time waits for no one. As our world evolves, we must be different in how we think about that world – and then take action. “Alden One is a platform for the utility industry,” Sciarabba said. By bringing clarity and control through automation, Alden One streamlines complete processes not only within one company, but also between companies, to help you tackle the need for increased demand and coordination.
This network effect is how we help you move faster than the rate of change. For every person within or outside your company, the number of connections increases at a greater rate than the number of people. It’s just one way we help you be ready for change. Find out more about Alden One – we'd love to give you a tour of the platform.