Expert Interviews

15 Sep 2020

CEO Forum expert partner Oracle Utilities on digitalization and automation

Oracle Utilities are expert partners for the full Utility CEO Forum series that comprises five year-around, by-invitation only, confidential meetings between African Utility and IPP CEOs from all over Africa and various expert and developmental partners.

Mike Ballard, Vice President Industry Strategy, Oracle Utilities

In July the Utility CEO Forum: Central Africa, took place, in August, the Southern Africa edition and in September, Utility CEO Forum: East Africa was hosted – all successfully engaging parties online.

Mike Ballard, Vice President Industry Strategy, Oracle Utilities shares some insights:

What is your main message to the CEOs at these CEO Forums?Digitalization of processes and systems is a key enabler for increasing reliability, financial performance and customer satisfaction in an increasingly uncertain world. It will also help improve flexibility needed to respond to changing environments.

What in particular is your advice to utility CEOs to future-proof the financial health of their utility?
Increased automation (reducing silos and manual hand-offs) and the use of data to drive decisions to prioritize investments will provide more resilience, make finances go further. Also being able to track revenues (and where it is lost) throughout the value chain is very important. Increasingly utilities are able to streamline their operations by centralizing activities into smaller numbers of systems (and vendors). A best-of-breed suppliers approach is becoming less popular due to cost, and complexity of integration and delays in value realization.

What has made you feel proud to be part of the energy sector in the last few weeks?
During the challenges of COVID it has been inspiring to see how utilities around the world have maintained service despite the challenges. Personal sacrifices being made to ensure power and water continue to be delivered.

Anything you would like to add?
Always a pleasure to interact with our African energy leaders. I am really hopeful that we will be able to meet in person again very soon.

The dates for the upcoming regional Utility CEO Forums are:
- Utility CEO Forum: West Africa (Francophone) – 1-2 October 2020
- Utility CEO Forum: West Africa (Anglophone) – 10-11 November 2020 - part of the Digital Energy Festival for Africa
- Utility CEO Forum: Africa - 24-26 November 2020 - part of the Digital Energy Festival for Africa

The recent Utility CEO Forum: East Africa took place online from 1-2 Sep 2020:​​​
The recent Utility CEO Forum: East Africa took place online from 1-2 Sep 2020.

Utility CEO Forum contact:
Event Manager: Nomvuyo Tena
T: +27 (0) 21 700 3537   
M: +27 (0) 71 840 1513  

Utility CEO Forum partnerships:
Business Development Manager: Loudon Cito
T: +27 (0) 21 700 3564   
M: +27 (0) 82 226 8553  


Media contact:
Senior Communications Manager:  Annemarie Roodbol
Telephone:  +27 21 700 3558

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Host Ministry

  • Mineral resources & energy

Host Utility

  • eskom-logo

Host City

  • City-of-Cape-Town

Platinum Sponsor

  • Conlog
  • Actom Pty Ltd
  • Gridspertise
  • SAP
  • Sulzer

Diamond Sponsor

  • General Electric

Gold Sponsor

  • Standard Bank

Silver Sponsor

  • G3-PLC
  • Development Bank of Southern Africa
  • Export Credit Insurance Corporation
  • IDC
  • Siemens
  • Megger

Registration Sponsor

  • SAP

Host Publication

  • ESI Africa

CEO Forum Partners

  • Conlog
  • Eaton
  • Oracle Utilities
  • Prime Alliance
  • Eskom GC

Municipal Leaders Forum Partners

  • IFC

Global Knowledge Partner

  • Enel Foundation

Initiate Supporting Partners

  • Sarebi