APAC Sales & Marketing Lead
At PSC, we’re committed to helping build a world where safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable energy is available to everyone, everywhere. We recognize that the energy transition represents a lot of change, which is especially difficult in a regulated, mission-critical environment. PSC has long been a provider of technical advice to our clients and we know we can build on that to help with the longer-term, strategic decisions our clients are facing today. We want to contribute more to our APAC clients, from the control room to the board room, by translating what “navigating the energy transition” means for them and then getting the right building blocks in place to get there.
Tina: PSC has a reputation – and over 26 years’ experience – for having deep domain expertise in specialty engineering in the global electricity industry. Why the pivot now to a renewed focus on strategic advisory?
Matt: In truth, we’ve always advised our clients when they’ve asked for our help. This isn’t a pivot as much as an acknowledgment that we do have all this specific regional knowledge that can be beneficial to share in a more purposeful, structured and proactive way.
Our clients understand the current landscape in terms of where we are in the energy transition to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions and limit climate change. It’s our experience that when owners and operators of electric utilities and generation assets look for help outside of their organizations, they require answers to what seem like specific questions but have wide-ranging impacts. They look for help from those who understand the impact of change across their business, across their mission-critical operations. They deserve help from people who understand that the energy transition isn’t going to happen overnight and it’s not happening the same way across utilities, even ones in the same region.
We’re here for the long haul, to be the trusted partner looking out for our clients’ best interests. Not just on a project-by-project basis, but overall, from a people, technology and process perspective. I know that PSC has the unique combination of capabilities to contribute more during this transformative time by helping our clients validate and sense-check their roadmaps, point out potential blind spots, deal with regulatory issues, and continue to offer them the practical help we are known for.
Tina: You mention regulatory issues. Can you talk more about what all that entails and how clients will benefit?
Matt: There is a multitude of strategic and operational challenges with evolving energy regulation. Our APAC and European consultants have dealt with the regulatory and economic elements of the energy transition like market design, reforms, pricing, policies and regulatory compliance over the last two decades. Our consultants have worked at the planning and implementation stages of these elements and know the pitfalls from experience. Many have sat in our clients’ chairs at one time or another. The work we’ve done has given us great insight into the overall environment. We have leveraged this to help guide our clients to optimize operational and financial performance.
More recently, policymakers are asking about the physics behind what we’re trying to enact. This is a great opportunity to work with policymakers about the physical realities of the electricity system and listen and learn from each other.
Tina: Beyond regulatory issues, what other challenges are PSC helping address for clients looking for strategic counsel?
Matt: The biggest risk with the least mitigation assigned to any project is almost always related to the impact of change. We’ve seen this a lot, especially in control rooms when, for example, when we’re helping a utility upgrade their software systems, whether it’s a forklift or an upgrade. The operators prefer what they’re used to. It’s predictable, reliable – a known quantity. And the utility mindset is to not put reliability and security at risk. Rightfully so! So, we acknowledge that human element from the beginning, taking business culture into account. It really is about how we plan and run a project from the onset. PSC can help clients acknowledge change, realize change and start to build managing change into their delivery plans early on.
Tina: Do you think the utility business model is destined to change?
Matt: Yes. It’s a bit hard for it not to. What it means for each client is different. Their purpose and culture will define how their model will change. We’re all going to end up on the same hill, but the path we take will be different. It starts, though, with acknowledging culture and recognizing whatever roadmap they follow will mean big change that needs to be well managed.
Tina: Most strategic consultants say that the value they place on client relationships is what sets them apart from their competition. What do you say to that?
Matt: I agree with the statement but what the relationship is based on is really the differentiator. For a relationship to have a lot of value, we all talk about trust, but I think trust is related to honesty. The phrase, “Fearless Advice” means you give your honest opinion even if you think it could be risky for you but the right answer for the client.
As an example, we were engaged by a client to deliver a functional specification for a new EMS. Before we started writing it, we interviewed all levels of their management. We discovered there were multiple major business projects to be delivered. However, no one person knew the priority or had full visibility of their status and, as a result, the same group of people was meant to deliver them all! There was a big lack of visibility across the organization. So, we gave them fearless advice about what their actual risk was. Now they’re placing their projects under a single governance model for a more holistic understanding of their operations. And, yes, we also did their functional spec and, in the end, they took our advice and plan to upgrade instead of replace their EMS which will save them both time and money as well as reduce risk.