April 29, 2015

Digitalization and the Nordic energy industry

Ari Oksanen

Head of Business Development, Energy & Utilities, Tieto

All energy companies in the Nordics are more or less on the path towards digitalization. The journey to digitalization is as much about technology as it is about altering human behaviour and corporate culture. Collectively, cloud services comprise a set of technologies that is uniquely suited to changing how people do things. In this blog post I highlight some aspects of digitalization in the Nordic energy industry.

Process automation—a key to success?

Many but not all processes can be automated. While routine tasks are easy to automate, innovation, a process that by definition is not routine, is fundamental to success. Fortunately, the more procedures we automate, the more time we can devote to more creative, challenging and rewarding tasks, like the urgent matter of moving businesses forward.

To take advantage of automation, we have developed a predefined set of Standard Processes for the Energy Industry (defined by the Tieto Smart Utility Process Description). With this in mind, we have designed processes that reach the optimal process efficiency and effectiveness through IT automation. Clients further benefit from our ability to customize these optimised solutions. We simplify business for our clients by making certain all elements are both updated and compatible.

Prioritize openness and the exchange of information and data

Digitalization can promote openness and facilitate the exchange of information and data.
I'm a strong supporter of open ecosystems. A well-designed company ecosystem connects different resources and services into a single integrated solution that supports the company strategy.

When all available data are gathered, we can gain an immense amount of knowledge, for example, the identities of your most profitable customers. Such insights can help your business stay ahead of the competition, increase revenue and improve operational efficiency.

Open platforms also permit all sorts of interesting possibilities through the Internet of Things (IoT) and the broader Industrial Internet (described more fully in Taneli Tikka's post). At Tieto, we have embraced this exciting new area. Our IoT Platform has many obvious applications to the energy industry. For example, it allows data to be fetched from various intelligent devices and then redirected to relevant applications or data stores.

A comprehensive Nordic approach benefits all

Our broad operation across the Nordics is a tremendous asset to our customers. Nordic regulations are relatively uniform because successful regulatory changes within one country inspire similar regulations in the remaining countries. When a new rule is imposed on the particular market of one of our clients, we have already considered its pros and cons to determine how best to proceed. Our experience enables us to do this faster than other parties.

What are we doing next?

The constant development of new regulations can particularly complicate decision making for Energy Industry organisations. When budgets are tight, such complications can seem unmanageable.

We have taken this into account in the creation of a new service. Tieto Smart Utility is a service delivery model in which the most essential utility processes are supported by IT systems from Tieto Energy Cloud. Tieto Smart Utility is able to support the most essential and critical business processes for Electricity Retail companies, Electricity Distribution companies and Multi-utility companies. For a fixed service fee Tieto Energy Cloud can provide this support with an included Regulatory Guarantee. This helps customers accurately estimate and budget IT service costs.

To stay ahead in the Nordic market, we carefully track upcoming changes and continue to forecast regulatory developments. Our regional expertise allows us to guide our clients to tested solutions more quickly.

A variety of different capabilities are necessary today and will continue to be in the future. Data scientists, data analysts and individuals with skills in project management, IT architecture and process development are crucial to the support of our clients' businesses.

I am confident that we at Tieto are well prepared to guide our customers into the new era of digitalization. The Nordic energy industry is about to change fundamentally, and Tieto can help you adapt.

The writer is Ari Oksanen, Head of Business Development, Energy & Utilities at Tieto. He has 20+ years of experience directing, coaching and managing software development organisations. You can follow him on Twitter.

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