Energy and Utilities

Energy and Utilities

How enterprise technology can help energy companies navigate one of the most rapidly changing markets

The Energy sector is facing one of the biggest market transformations – a pivot toward sustainable energy sources and changing sentiment in how energy is consumed.

Market headwinds from every direction

Regulation, decarbonization objectives, changes in commodity prices, and shifting public sentiment have the energy sector’s traditional business model at risk despite growing demand around the world. Consumers and businesses are increasingly focused on sustainability, and energy companies are challenged with evolving their traditional business model to align with this new energy-conscious world. With that, comes increased exploration costs.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, energy companies have also had to manage major uncertainty due to significant fluctuations in demand.

To facilitate the pivot to the next era of energy, and to offset the financial impact of all these headwinds, operational efficiency is paramount. Unfortunately, for many businesses in the energy sector, siloed legacy systems are standing in the way of progress.

Making the shift

With these headwinds, energy companies have to find a way to continue to produce and distribute energy at scale while, at the same time, lowering their carbon footprint. Doing so entails three fundamental objectives that will help them transition into the new market landscape:

  1. Evolve their core offerings to include more sustainable energy sources (including how it is sourced) to appeal to a new energy conscious population.
  2. Establish operational agility to absorb fluctuations and changes in demand, but also to easily absorb new business initiatives that may come from consolidation with smaller and different types of energy companies.
  3. Reduce costs associated with the transformation– and operations in general – to maximize profit on an evolving portfolio and business model.

Objectives #2 and #3 can be largely achieved through a successful digital transformation initiatives. Objective #1, while primarily driven by management strategy, can be optimally executed by using the right enterprise technology platform for product lifecycle and customer service operations.

 

Making shift stages

Digital transformation (headwinds) in the energy sector

The right enterprise technology platform will obviously serve as the foundation for digital transformation and increase or accelerate its rate of success. While the energy and utilities sector needs the benefits of digital transformation to happen fast, this is actually a sector that is said to lag in workflow automation.

Energy companies are said to be among the least digitally mature sectors with correspondingly low digital transformation success rates. This could be because the typical energy company tends to place more emphasis on engineering technologies over internal (info and communications) technology.

Additionally, the technology spend of companies in the energy sector is on the very low side in comparison to other sectors (avg. technology budget as a % of revenue is just 1.8%), despite case study after case study showing that investment in the right digital technologies can pay back in multiples, in a relatively quick timeframe.

Digital transformation is helping to automate and streamline large-scale business functions as well as provide new visibility (data) that helps to further optimize operations. Energy companies can drive and accelerate the shift to a new market landscape by optimizing how they work internally to preserve operational costs and establish better business agility.

While they’re not yet among the digital transformation front-runners, the good news is that there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement.

Energy visual

A platform for cost savings and operational efficiency

ServiceNow is an enterprise workflow platform that can help harmonize business (internal, field and customer-facing) operations to achieve significant cost savings and operational efficiencies within an organization. A few specific examples of:

Internal operations

  • Streamline new product development to get the right new products to market, faster (digitize the “BuildàTransferàOperate” process to make it a simple cycle)
    • This is a key initiative for companies who want to speed up their ability to acquire/develop and offer new energy sources
  • Digitize (and automate, where possible) workflows within and across business functions to increase operational efficiency. By decreasing the burden (and average duration) of administrative tasks, you increase overall workforce productivity and allows employees to focus on more valuable tasks.
  • Transform the employee service experience to improve job satisfaction and ensure employees can focus on their core responsibilities (happy employees positively impacts customer satisfaction, too)
    • Only around 3% of Gen X wants to work in energy, so this sector may face headwinds in finding good talent — a great employee experience will make them more attractive.
  • Track and organize IT operations to maximize investment in equipment/applications that support the transformation, and retire legacy ones that don’t.
  • Lower the workload and risk associated with compliance and regulatory tasks

 

Field operations

  • Digitize field operations to improve worker efficiency (simplify field operator tasks and decrease task duration time with standardized processes and proactive suggestions prompted throughout a task)
  • Collect worker performance data for analytics to further improve processes
  • De-risk work procedures with a [mobile] digital interface that presents defined, standardized steps and verification of safety measures.

Customer-facing operations

  • Streamline customer service operations to provide a better experience for customers while reducing associated support costs
  • Provide a digital platform and interface to support new ‘as a service’ business models with a great customer experience
  • Leverage data collected from the platform’s intelligence tools to further improve customer operations (and customer experience).
    • Check out this example regarding use of smart meters to reduce electrical leakages and help users to manage their energy usage.

In short, energy and utility companies must maximize operational efficiencies to reduce operating costs. The ServiceNow platform can help energy and utility companies meet today’s challenges head-on, enabling them to:

  • Drive operational excellence
  • Optimize security and compliance operations
  • Improve the customer experience
  • Deliver consumer-grade employee experiences

 

Essentially, using the Now platform to increase operational efficiency, energy and utility companies can harness the power of connected operations to unlock benefits throughout the value chain and transform service delivery (for both customers and employees)

Continuous improvement using platform intelligence

Partnering with Plat4mation

We are an elite ServiceNow partner who major global brands choose to realize the full potential and maximize value from their ServiceNow platform investments. Being a pure-play partner and a smaller boutique firm, we’re known for our specialized knowledge of the Platform and a true-partner approach, where we work closely with our customer to understand and define objectives, and quickly produce results to validate the approach before scaling up.

We have a wide range of experience in helping energy companies maximize value from the ServiceNow platform and have gained a wealth of knowledge in the unique needs of energy company operations. With a vast library of reusable assets, integrations and methodologies, we’re able to complete projects in a relatively short timeframe.

Check out a case study where we helped SASOL, an integrated chemicals and energy company, expedite and automate their Change Management process to deploy new technologies faster to both their employees and customers.

The value we can achieve for energy companies using the ServiceNow platform can range from a small, single-process project within one department to a large-scale transformation of business processes that span several functions. While out-of-the-box projects keep the platform future proof, we also specialize in custom applications that serve a unique business need where out-of-the-box doesn’t.

Contact person

Jeffrey Bos
Director NL

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