VICE PRESIDENT OF PRODUCT MANAGEMENT | ORACLE UTILITIES

This interview was originally published in The Global Power & Energy Elites 2020

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOUR TEAM SUCCESSFUL?

Over the last 13 years and through various acquisitions, Oracle Utilities has acquired a strong team of individuals, bringing a diverse set of skills, experience and innovation to the table. It is this diversity that I believe has led to many of our innovative solutions and moreover, it is great fun working with such a broad range of personalities. As a leader, one of the things I find challenging but also gratifying is finding ways to unlock this diversity and creating an open environment for people to voice their opinions and share their ideas.

HOW DO YOU BRING CONCEPTS LIKE AI, DATA SCIENCE AND ML INTO THE REAL WORLD WITH THE HELP OF THAT TEAM?

It is very easy to get enamoured with the latest buzzword technology. While these new approaches do have merit, we always start with the business problems first, then brainstorm many different solutions to solve them. There are no bad solutions at this stage. And then finally, we apply the technology options last. This guarantees that we’re orienting towards problem-solving and not technology for technology’s sake. As part of our product development at Oracle Utilities, we start with the first principle which is “What is the job to be done—what is the user trying to solve?”. Having empathy for the user at this stage is the most important characteristic—asking questions such as what are they trying to achieve; and what are their points of friction that they meet along the way.

We did this recently with the problem of giving Electric Vehicle customers insights about the cost of charging their new car, and giving them better rate options. The problem is that these customers don’t notify their utility that they have purchased an EV in most cases, and don’t know about these better options. Now we use machine learning to automatically detect who has an EV, and proactively recommend new rate programs to save them money every day, while cleaning up the environment in the process!

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