Looking at technology, the primary thing that we do every day is trying to find ways to better go out and grab data, better—improve the way that we’re able to go out and scenario plan. And the more ways that we can put together scenarios for our utility to look at—at future items that may happen, we really need that technology.
Looking at the talent of our organization, I was given some advice whenever I took the role to lead our FP&A function about three years ago that still sticks with me today. My—my current boss told me, “You know, we really need to prepare as if we’re a football coach,” you know? A college football coach has four years, maybe three years with the athletes that they have on hand, and with the staff, you know, the intent is that we’re going to develop our employees. We’re going to make them marketable for maybe another position within the company. So that just means that we need to get our staff up to speed as quickly as possible.
And then for an organization, transparency is—is something that we just continue to—to work on, not only internally, but externally. I think a lot of times we think of transparency as being transparent to our customers, to our consumers, but we’ve first kind of looked at it internally.
As we develop each year’s budget and we do a five-year operating plan, we have over the last four or five years brought in basically a manager from—from each of our functional spending areas, and we have committee meetings with them regularly to develop the budget, essentially to make sure that we’re able to go over with them all of our revenue projections, all of our expenditure requests from each of the different areas so that we can have a fully transparent approach to—to ultimately developing the budget and—and setting those spending priorities as we—as we put together that financial and operating plan.
One of the challenges with transformation starts internally. At times, you may have things that it’s really difficult to—to maybe make changes. It’s difficult to make changes because there’s a cost to that. And so it’s really trying to interpret internally how do we decide where we’re going to put—where are we going to come up with those funds to support this change in—in the operation?
From there, we’ll look and—and see, are there efficiencies that we can find internally that will allow us to essentially have some savings that could be put toward a new initiative that we think will improve the services, improve one of those areas that we need to improve for our customers, or one of the ways that we should better be able to serve our community? And so those are the items that ultimately make it challenging to—to come across with—with transformation within the—within the organization.