Welcome Sujan Bose, New Expert in the Digital Utility Community- [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Expert Interview]

Posted to Energy Central in the Digital Utility Group
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Matt Chester's picture
Energy Analyst, Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

  • Member since 2018
  • 11,295 items added with 1,640,149 views
  • Jan 27, 2023

The digital utility future that industry experts have been talking about for years may not actually be the future, it’s happening now. And that reality brings with it both abundant opportunities but also a heavy dose of challenges and risks. Navigating this new paradigm for power providers requires looking towards leadership to avoid pitfalls and maximize those opportunities.

To ensure that the members of the Energy Central Community can succeed in this modern utility landscape and take advantage of all the available tools, we are always looking to add to our official Network of Experts who join the community to provide elevated levels of perspective, engagement, and knowledge, and because of the new era we’re entering, our experts in the Digital Utility Group may be the most essential. With that in mind, the Energy Central team is ecstatic to welcome and introduce the newest member of our Digital Utility Experts: Sujan Bose.

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Sujan is the Practice Head at Wipro Technologies for the company’s Generation, Transmission & Distributions Business Practice. Bringing over two decades of experience at the cutting edge of the power sector makes him the perfect expert for our community, and we’re thrilled to bring him into the fold with the traditional first step: participating in our Energy Central Power Perspectives ‘Welcome New Expert Interview Series.’’


Matt Chester: Sujan, we look at these interviews as a way to introduce you to our community members, so let’s start with the basics. What is your role at Wipro and what is your overall background in the utility sector?

Sujan Bose: I lead the utilities grid modernization capabilities at Wipro. I have a team of 150+ industry domain practitioners who provides contextualized solutions to our global utilities clients. I have more than 20 years of experience working for global electric, gas and water utilities across their complete value chains (up-stream, middle-stream and down-stream) and providing end-to-end services. Being responsible for the global utility sector, my team and I closely follow the regional regulatory and market/industry trends to provide contextual solutions to our regional clients. I have worked across various IT/OT capability areas, including both domain and digital workstreams, while collaborating closely with our partnership ecosystem and delivering many transformational projects.


MC: You’re focused today on IoT in the utility sector. Why do you think this is such an important area and why perhaps is some of the adoption of IoT tech taking a long time from the utility side?

SB: We are observing a technology-led transformation in the utilities sector. Digital technologies like IoT, data analytics and user experience innovations have become the key enablers for utility transformation (Digital Utilities 4.0). In utilities, IoT as a technology has significant potential to transform mission-critical business processes such as system ops, work and asset management, metering and billing, and customer support services. IoT provides low-cost, end-to-end solutions from an infrastructure and services perspective, significantly lowering total cost of ownership (TCO), which in turn reduces the cost-to-serve for customers.

Utilities are embracing the vision, and in the evaluation (assessment) phase, performing PoCs/pilots with specific sets of business use cases, platforms, field devices and comms before rolling them out at scale for business value realization. In this process, they are making sure that their investments are protected while also building this capability within a strategic (general purpose) rather than a tactical (fit-to-the-purpose) framework. Their aim is to monetizing some of these investments by building a separate source of revenue outside their regulated businesses.


MC: Are there any key risk areas with an increasingly digitalized utility, such as cybersecurity? And if so, what do you and your teams do to best prepare your utility partners?

SB: Utilities are becoming digital utilities with enhanced digitalized processes and systems. As such, they are naturally exposed to new risks related to cybersecurity vulnerabilities, performance at scale, an ever-increasing comms bandwidth, coupled with new change management initiatives.

Our team works as a change agent throughout the project lifecycle to identify technological and functional gaps within the client organization and address them by building new internal capabilities through skill mapping, training and knowledge transfer. In some specialty areas such as cybersecurity, we work tightly with our partners to perform vulnerability assessments, provide recommendations to address regulatory compliance issues, and help the client re-skill its workforce through best-in-class learning programs.


MC: What trends do you see on the horizon for digital solutions in utilities? What’s going to be the next area of really high value that executives maybe aren’t looking at yet?

SB: I see the following trends on the horizon for digital solutions in utilities:

  1. Smart networks (gas/water).
  2. IoT-based telemetry systems.
  3. Digital grid solutions, including: 
    1. Situational awareness using enhanced user experience.   
    2. Intelligent alarm management supported through AI/ML.
    3. Grid transformation engine (digital twin of electricity grid).
    4. Digital assistant for network and outage management using RPA and AI.
    5. Storm hardening through IT/OT convergence with improved infrastructure resiliency and cybersecurity.
    6. DERMS/active network management supported through IIoT and data analytics.
  4. IoT-based non-operational critical asset management.
  5. IoT-based asset performance management.
  6. Innovation hubs built using IoT and data and analytics capabilities.

I think cloud adoption within the utilities OT space is a high-value area in the early stages of exploration by utilities executives. We see some significant adoption of resilient cloud infrastructure beginning to take hold in the water and gas OT sectors, but not much in the electricity OT sector yet. This is often due to existing regulations and prevailing cybersecurity concerns by the utilities community regarding critical operational infrastructure . As cloud services mature, we expect these issues to be resolved. Meanwhile, awareness will improve within the utilities communities and regulations will provide more flexibility for future cloud adoption.


MC: Why did you feel compelled to get more involved in the Energy Central Community? And what value do you hope to bring to your peers on the platform?  

SB: I see Energy Central as an important medium to exchange ideas and share experiences within the energy and utilities community. I often scroll through the contributions of fellow members to obtain a preview of hot ideas and current initiatives. I like to see if there is relevance to various opportunities we are building for our clients. We rely on Energy Central to identify future-facing themes, capabilities, and pilots so that we can verify their potential for scale.

The value I hope to bring to my peers will be around awareness of industry trends, experiences and learning from the deployment of new technology solutions and services, digital solutions being developed by us jointly with our partners and their relevance in this space, and disruptions we expect in next few years and their potential impact on utilities business processes and systems.


MC: What’s the final message or insight you want to leave our readers with?

SB: I also see a significant transformation within utilities when it comes to building their digital capability ecosystem within their IT/OT landscape. For most of these capabilities, they are taking a platform-based approach instead of the product-based approach they followed earlier. This newer approach could enable them to align with one strategic platform and create an application ecosystem that better manages TCO while building internal skills aligned with the new platform. A platform-based approach also limits delivery risk; for example, dependency on an OEM partner to build or enhance capabilities. Utilities will be able to more rapidly evolve business requirements due to uncertain regulatory environments and disruptions related to distributed generation penetration into the electricity grids. A platform-based ecosystem will be able to build capabilities in the areas of flexibility services and customer participation in running the electricity grids, data-driven insights to bring down operational expenses and improve asset/network performance, and enhanced ability to meet the sustainability and “Net Zero” targets increasingly being adopted by utilities around the globe.



Thanks to Sujan Bose for joining me for this interview and for providing a wealth of insights an expertise to the Energy Central Community. You can trust that Sujan will be available for you to reach out and connect, ask questions, and more as an Energy Central member, so be sure to make him feel welcome when you see him across the platform.

The other expert interviews that we’ve completed in this series can be read here, and if you are interested in becoming an expert then you can reach out to me or you can apply here.

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Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Jan 27, 2023

Welcome to our expert network!  I look forward to seeing you in the community! 

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