The Utility Performance Network aims to share the experience of successful innovation across the water sector. Backed by the Global Water Leaders Group and its Leading Utilities of the World initiative it aims to provide the insight and inspiration needed to deliver change effectively.
During this crisis water utilities have been at the frontline of public health, guaranteeing the safety of the communities we serve in the most difficult conditions. We have done well, but this is just the beginning. As we move on from the pandemic, the pressure on performance will only grow. Tightening economic conditions, the impact of climate change, and a growing role in public health protection challenge every utility to find new ways of doing more for less.

In partnership with:


Hosted by GWI’s Utility Performance Network

Digital Futures Symposium

Aug 2020 – Nov 2020

In partnership with:


Taking place once a month from August to November, the Digital Futures Symposium brought together international utility leaders to assess the most pressing digital priorities for utilities in the wake of disruption from COVID-19, and examine how these priorities have changed and will continue to evolve. 

This series of four sessions aimed to help utility leaders embarking on the digital journey to make the right decisions about the future and attune solutions suppliers to emerging needs and requirements for digital and smart solutions within the sector. 

Each session featured utility leaders taking part in a discussion session outlining the obstacles or opportunities for change in three different areas, culminating in a Best Practice session bringing together all of the lessons learned.

Post Event Insights & Analysis

Insights from this session culminated in the publication of ‘Digital Futures: Creating a roadmap for utility performance’, a white paper offering crucial insight for utilities in the digital space, produced in partnership with Nokia.
Click to download

New Pathways To Digital Partnerships

Internet of Things and Smart Cities

Digital Transformation Best Practice

Session Highlight Videos

Previous Sessions

Session 4 – Digital Transformation Best Practice

24th November 2020

This session will draw together key learning points from the three previous sessions in the Symposium and link them to a discussion of best practice recommendations for future digital strategy and transformation.  

As a strategic initiative for continuous improvement, the digital journey does not have a defined end point. How does one define success in terms of Digital Transformation?  

While the end point is anyone’s guess, the pace and ease of digital transformation is significantly impacted by three strategic considerations: People, Process, and Technology. In this session, leading early adopters from across Europe and the Americas discuss how meaningful changes in organisational culture, regulation and policy, and agile approaches to innovation and technology can  enable utilities to work out what the ‘next 10 feet’ should look like as they embark on the long-term move to digital across their organisations. 

Session Chair


Session 3 – Internet of Things and Smart Cities

28th October 2020

Session sponsor:

suez gold(1)

Early adopters have begun to take an increasingly holistic approach to data driven decision making. In order to leverage the benefits of advanced data analytics, utilities must integrate data from an increasing variety of sources – both within and outside their immediate business. The adoption of smart metering has been the key driver of the Internet of Things in today’s water sector – this session looks at its prospects in the context of the Smart City of tomorrow. 

Session Chair


Session 2 – New Pathways To Digital Partnerships

30th September 2020

The digitisation of the global water sector has been characterised by the disruption of traditional business models. As more utilities face budgetary constraints in the wake of the pandemic, the impetus to manage the risk of new investments in digital offerings and smart systems is greater than ever before. Service- and performance-based contracts are growing in popularity, but procurement challenges remain. 

Traditional procurement models struggle in the world of digital solutions, in which products are rarely directly comparable, compatibility with pre-existing systems is more important than finding the lowest price, and the end result of a project is often not visible from the starting point.   

Focusing in on New Pathways to Digital Partnerships, this session asks how leading early adopters are doing more with less in the execution of their digital strategy. 

Session Chair


Session 1 – Data Accessibility

26th August 2020

Digital solutions have been key to many utilities’ ability to weather the immediate crisis of COVID-19 by enabling real-time remote monitoring and control of plants and networks, and by safeguarding continuity of service, staff safety and customer satisfaction. These solutions will also be key to water utilities’ future successes and ability to build resiliency, with advanced digital solutions and data-driven decision increasingly coming into play. 

There is a new wave of promising digital innovations on the horizon, but many of these solutions will require a level of digital maturity utilities have yet to realise or achieve that will necessitate collaboration with digital solution providers to help bridge the gap. 

In this session early adopters walked through the building blocks of their digital strategies towards advanced data analytics, shared insights into the corporate change management strategies which have supported their digital journeys, and demonstrated the lessons learned and best path forward for a new cohort of utilities. 



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