With increased competition, regulatory changes, energy transition and new customer expectations, energy operators are evolving in a changing landscape. Increased agility is required to respond to the new challenges. The digital offer is part of the response.
THE CURRENT SITUATION AND CHALLENGES TO FACE
An essential transformation
With higher demand, transition to renewable energies, increased competition, emergence of decentralised production, expected growth of micro-grids, management of the energy mix, self-consumption and new electrical storage solutions, energy operators are facing many challenges governed by ever more composite regulations. In addition, there are new societal uses such as the supply of electric vehicles, the growth of residential heat pumps and the desire of customers to better manage their consumption. Not forgetting an ageing infrastructure that requires heavy investment to meet standards. Faced with these challenges, it falls upon producers and operators to increase their agility, enabling them to react quickly to current (r)evolutions and to the uncertainty of future models. In other words, a constant process of transformation and adaptation!
As tricky as it is to undertake, this transformation offers an opportunity for growth. Sold in the form of lighting, heating-cooling and fuel for equipment, energy is a convenience now available in services that have been enhanced by digital technologies. The smart grid to harmonise demand and supply in real time; a growth in human engineering thanks to the virtual design office that capitalises on knowledge; connected equipment serving predictive maintenance; platforms facilitating connections between producer and consumers; brokerage secured by the blockchain; operations by agents in the field optimised by mobility; site monitoring by drones... With more services for end-users, the changing work practices of energy provider teams and improved branding, many solutions are shaking up the traditional supply chain and opening the way to "Energy- as-a-service"
Case study 1
The digitalised customer relationship
With web call back, chat, SMS, social media… digital technology is transforming the customer relationship. In addition to voice, a major energy supplier has equipped its call centres with new digital communication channels in a "humanised web" concept. An initiative that has resulted in the creation of an omnichannel hub used by the company's 11,000 telemarketers serving more than 35 million domestic, professional, business and community customers. As the industry leader in call centre and customer interaction solutions, Gfi leverages and integrates new communication channels to connect the energy provider's customer advisers with their end customers on a daily basis.
Case study 2
A digital factory for the environment
To help its customers reduce their environmental footprint and energy bills, a consulting firm specialising in the optimisation of equipment (refrigerated cabinets, lighting, etc.) analyses all electricity consumption data in order to generate optimisation assistance reports. Gfi supplies the digital factory which designs, builds and operates the firm's digital chain for the integration, analysis and retrieval of data in a format interpretable by business consultants and end customers. This data management enables the company to offer its customers numerous energy optimisation services. Among these, a leasing offer to switch the most energy efficient equipment to opex mode to reduce costs and carbon footprint.
Case study 3
Digital culture for facility management
Five buildings including a theatre and a cinema on 46,660 m² with gardens of 17,500 m². To welcome more than 112,000 visitors a month in the best conditions, the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac has entrusted the management of all general, energy and IT services to a global Service Management Provider (ESM) which subcontracts all the digital services to Gfi. Since the museum opened in 2006, Gfi has been providing IT, user support, infrastructure supervision, contactless electronic ticketing and digital signage.
Case study 4
By 2030, half of the vehicles in circulation in Europe will be electric. How can the charging requirements of the future fleet be met without disrupting the network? For ELECTRIFIC, a project from the European R&D programme "Horizon 2020", Gfi has developed three technologies dedicated to managing the charging of electric vehicles: ADAS (mobile assistant for smart charging); Smart Charger ("grid-friendly" manager of electrical terminals); Charging Scheduler (charging planner for electric vehicle fleets). Objective: to increase the attractiveness of electro-mobility, to guarantee the stability of the network, to optimise the life cycle of batteries and maximise the use of renewable energies in an effort to decarbonise the planet. Expected for 2019, the solution will be aimed at vehicle fleet managers, energy distributors and domestic customers.
Case study 5
Digitalisation of sales trips
To organise schedules for sales visits to customers of a gas supplier, around a hundred travelling sales reps needed to be able to work in offline mode. Among their requirements was the need to manage a complete contract creation process including the creation of installation plans (gas tanks in particular) and the electronic signature. In response, Gfi deployed Microsoft's Dynamics 365 CRM in Cloud mode on iPads interfaced with the gas operator's ERP and other web services including Altares for real-time access to data relating to prospective customers. Result: agents can edit and sign a contract in just one visit. A digitalisation of the service that optimises trips and reinforces the position of the supplier on the bulk and tank gas distribution market.
Case study 6
Big data at the service of the smart home
A new entrant in the electricity supply market is benefiting from the arrival of the Linky smart meter to provide innovative solutions. Connected to the new meter, a key provides a real-time reading of power consumption ... at the cost of a phenomenal amount of data that is putting pressure on traditional IT systems. To ingest, qualify, analyse and value the data in a powerful way, Gfi has developed a big data architecture on the Hadoop platform with AI, and micro services to retrieve the load curves provided by the energy company. This in-depth knowledge of usage makes it possible to offer real-time information and consumption alert services. In the future, it will open the door to new home automation solutions.
An important number
This is the total rate of revenue improvement (Ebit) that energy operators can expect to achieve by digitalising their services, according to McKinsey. With growth of 8.5% and 6.6% respectively, production and retail sales are the most profitable sectors in the digital transition along with distribution (+4.3%).
“It's hard to say today with any certainty what tomorrow's energy supply will look like. To prepare for this, energy players are deploying flexible services all along the value chain developed using a co-innovation model. This is illustrated by the contrast that we are seeing today. It is by doing this that they will gain the agility they need to adapt to each situation and find a relevant operational model.”
Philippe Guillen, Global Solutions Manager - Energy & Utilities, Gfi Informatique.
Thanks to services relating to the Smart City, Industry 4.0 and digital communication, Gfi combines its transversal offers with its technological expertise and its innovative approach to position itself as a key player in the digital value chain. Offering business diagnosis, assistance to select the right tools, invoicing, AI, IoT, data recovery, construction and deployment of PoC, maintenance, hosting and managed services, and communication platforms, Gfi is positioned as a versatile integrator supported by a solid ecosystem of leading partners to deliver an end-to-end service with an approach based on personalised support.
Global Solutions Manager - Secteur Energie & Utilities
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