RE-positioning for the digital age is no easy ask. Across all sectors, failures and false starts have abounded. One trend, recalled by the CEO of Lego (a text-book example of digital revival ), was for the C-suite to hire from Silicon Valley. “That was a good way to change the company dress code – but not a great way to change the company culture,” he explained.
In the energy sector particularly, finding the value in digital has been hard. The result is that transformation efforts have lacked pace.
Exploring the possibilities and thrashing out their business cases, many energy companies have identified the same barriers. These have included the high level of health and safety risk inherent in their organisations, regulatory considerations, and the difficulty of integrating digital solutions within highly complex operations. These operations often span diverse regions with varied levels of connectivity and wide ranges of maturity in their supply chains.
And in common with other sectors, many energy leaders I meet cite deeply engrained processes (maintenance via a spread-sheet is still not uncommon) and embedded, out-dated, ways of working.
Today the triple pressures of ESG, net-zero targets (infrastructure is responsible for 79 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions) and, in many cases squeezed profit margins, are leaving energy companies with little option.
Digitalisation is a business imperative and, without a commitment to upscale their digital capacity and capability and embrace new ways of working, these profound changes put at risk a competitive future.
In the energy sector, this change is more crucial than others. Pressure is mounting to turn words and promises around sustainability into action. At COP28, in December, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Simon Stiel, warned delegates: “Now all governments and businesses need to turn these pledges into real-economy outcomes without delay.”
By 2040, the world’s energy consumption will have increased by almost 50 per cent. A digital, data-driven approach to operations is the only way to utilise our much-needed global energy resources in a way that does not cause irreversible damage to our environment.
So what are the core areas to consider when looking to execute a digital transformation strategy? They include:
1. Improved data management and a comprehensive data strategy:
How are data-sets across the organisation managed, connected-up and analysed? Is the data high-quality? Is it readily accessible to decision makers – but also secure – and does it align to the corporation’s long term digital strategy?
2. Unlocking siloed data:
Data from the earliest stage – infrastructure conception – right through to infrastructure ownership and operation, needs to be captured and stored in a common data environment. It should be accessible to those who need it to inform prompt and intelligent decision making.
3. Technologies and innovations:
Technologies which can support efficient operations, performance reliability and more sustainable outcomes within energy organisations include:
- Digital twins – creating digital models of sections – or entire portfolios of assets – linked to the physical assets and providing a real time data feed. This will enable operators to better understand current performance and predict future performance. Twins will also support efforts to reduce waste and carbon emissions – ultimately helping to meet net-zero targets.
- Asset-performance management software – Software which helps owners and operators of complex assets to drive optimum performance and maximise the value of their assets over their lifetime. Critically, this should include an element of predictive analytics or reliability centred maintenance (RCM).
4. Culture change:
Transformation should be a duet – not a duel – with the c-suite and your employees working hand-in-hand to realise the necessary changes together.
”Transformation should be a duet – not a duel – with the c-suite and your employees working hand-in-hand to realise the necessary changes together.
On February 6, Cohesive, along with our parent company, Bentley Systems, and partner, IBM, will be hosting an event for energy leaders looking to arm themselves with knowledge and expertise ahead of taking their next digital steps.
Including presentations from our energy clients, it will provide an opportunity to see how other leaders in the sector are approaching their digital journey and gain a hold on the scope involved. You will learn how others are successfully stitching together their datasets and building out their technology capabilities to make them fit for the digital age.
You’ll hear about – and learn from – mistakes others have made along the way, gain an understanding of the strategies they put in place – and how, in collaboration with the right people and technology, they made them a reality.
At Cohesive we bring a full suite of solutions and digital tools – a suite which spans the full asset life-cycle. Alongside that, we offer the experience gained from the successful delivery of complex digital transformation projects globally.
Our tools for example, will not just provide data on emissions but, critically, pinpoint where and how carbon reductions can be made.
Our customer stories
So who are we working with? One example is BP, which has selected solutions from Bentley Systems to transform its engineering information management for projects and operations. It has chosen Bentley’s AssetWise asset lifecycle information management (ALIM) and AssetWise Reliability (AR) tools to help it facilitate the seamless migration of key information throughout the entire lifecycle and streamline the capital project process.
At Cohesive, our client success stories include Con Edison of New York, a leading provider of gas, electric and steam services, with over 10 million customers. We supported its upgrade to the Maximo Application Suite (MAS). You can hear from Con Edison about its objectives and the benefits unlocked on this webinar.
Whether responding to the climate crisis, staying competitive in the market, or ensuring resilience in the face of future challenges, the reasons for transformation are compelling. It’s time for energy organisations to seize the initiative and act.
From James Robertson, Cohesive EMEA Sector Director, Energy & Utilities. For more information please contact our Energy team.