Energy and utilities - a changing industry that requires new technological solutions

Disorderly conditions


The energy and supply market is facing fundamental change. On the one hand, new providers are continuously emerging, and existing companies are offering new products and services. On the other hand, customers are becoming more demanding and require more information, on-demand experiences, fast customer service and, on top of that, the best-priced products.
To succeed in this space, utilities need to be able to quickly deliver new digital capabilities that keep pace with customer needs and differentiate themselves from the competition.  

    Making the most of digital differentiation


    But this uncertain state also offers energy and utility companies a unique opportunity! That is, to approach digitalization in the right way and to use the opportunity to advance their business model. The following factors play a decisive role in this:

    • Flexibility: Agility in product management, such as new product launches and faster time to market, drives growth.
    • New markets: Generate new revenue streams through expansion and the use of new business models.
    • Increasing efficiency: Costs can be saved by improving operational processes. In concrete terms, this means switching from paper to digital, phasing out legacy IT systems or improving self-service functions.
    • Customer needs: Increasing customer satisfaction with the help of a better customer experience and through faster service in connection with relevant information. As well as improving customer loyalty by introducing various self-service functions.

    The solution is a modular application that enables energy and utility companies to quickly offer new products and gain a 360° customer view. The consumer thus benefits from a modern data user profile in real time and a self-service application on the device of their choice.


    The result is higher customer loyalty, better brand reputation and an increase in sales and profitability.

      It is easier said than done, but...   


      Experience shows that the digital paradigm shift is not a task that energy and utility companies can and should accomplish in passing. In practice, it has been shown that companies which have been on the market for a long time have legacy systems that were purchased in the past for specific tasks and have been modified over time. However, it has turned out that these systems have become cumbersome with the increased requirements and are too expensive to develop further.
      Participation in various projects has revealed that young companies, on the other hand, do not have the problem of being held back by the integration of legacy systems. For them it is difficult to create digital products based on native cloud technology. The questions about the choice of building blocks and solution architecture are central here - or in other words: where to start?

        The solution: Composable Architecture for energy and utility companies


        The Composable Architecture methodology is a type of business-driven approach where IT can select and assemble the most diverse and best possible solution applications to meet their exact business needs.    

          Rather than attempting to customize standard out-of-the-box functionality to meet an organization’s needs, Composable Architecture uses a business-centric approach, modular architecture and an open ecosystem to build, deliver and optimize differentiated commerce experiences.

            What does this mean specifically for utilities?


            In contrast to the rigid, closed architecture approaches that dominate many energy and utility companies, there are four basic principles that define the Composable Architecture approach and thus help utilities to design their IT systems in a modular, open, flexible and business-oriented way.

            1. Modular: Fully modular, i.e. each component is a self-contained system that can be deployed independently.
            2. Open: Based on open standards, integration patterns and extension models that promote interoperability and customization of third-party and proprietary API services developed by technology providers, the company itself or their solution and integration partners.
            3. Flexible: Use of modern and flexible technologies and approaches such as microservices, APIs, cloud and headless (i.e. MACH) and JAMstack (JavaScript, APIs and markup language) architectures.
            4. Business-oriented: With all the tools and functionality required to give the business side full control to combine disparate services into an end-to-end solution that meets complex and dynamic business needs and enables rapid iteration to respond quickly to changing business requirements, which also significantly reduces the cost and risk of innovation.

              Outlook


              The energy and utility market is facing upheaval as new entrants become better at meeting customers' increasingly demanding requirements. Existing providers are being held back by outdated applications, and new companies need to demonstrate flexibility in their IT architecture to accommodate new products, services, and communication channels. The solution can only be composable business applications. This is the only way to enable effective applications that can deliver on this promise.

                Contact me if you are interested in Composable Architecure for the Utilities & Energy Sector:

                Jörg Reiser

                Energy & Utilities Expert
                joerg.reiser@hycom.digital

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