Senior IT professionals in the energy sector believe that digital transformation is critical to hitting Net Zero emissions targets.
This is one of the findings of a new report from analyst firm Publicis Sapient which polled 375 CTOS and other digital decision makers across the UK, EU, the UAE and Australia. The survey looked into how digital leaders in the energy industry are responding to Net Zero, the solutions they need, and the challenges that stand in their way when preparing a business case for digital business transformation to enable it.
The survey revealed a clear commitment among digital energy leaders to use business transformation to reduce carbon emissions, with 8.2 out of ten saying Net Zero was their top priority and 86% saying that digital transformation would play a key role in achieving their company’s Net Zero ambitions. Investment in digital business transformation will be a key feature in the ‘post COP26’ era, as businesses play their part in achieving global Net Zero emissions by 2050.
France and Australia lead the way in energy sector digital transformation, while the UK and Switzerland lag behind. When asked if they were currently engaged in a digital transformation strategy intended to help achieve Net Zero goals, leaders in France were most likely to indicate that change was currently underway.
A lack of clear leadership emerged as a barrier to energy suppliers when looking to digitally transform to achieve Net Zero goals. Almost half (45%) of respondents cited insufficient management buy-in as a barrier to employing new strategies.
Philippe Commaret, Managing Director for Customers, EDF Energy, commented that there is a need to better understand how different technologies perform: “Digital and data is central to understanding the customer,” he said. “For technologies such as smart meters, solar panels, EV charge points, heat pumps, we need to understand how they’re performing, and how and when they are being used. We need to gather all this data to help customers make better choices and help the national grid to make the system work better.”
“Digital transformation will allow operators to better balance energy demand and renewable generation and control clean energy devices such as electric cars or batteries – an important piece of the puzzle to move beyond the 50% regular renewable mix,” commented Devrim Celal, CEO of KrakenFlex.
Joe Tabita, Publicis Sapient Energy & Commodities Lead, EMEA & APAC commented that 68% of those surveyed identified lack of knowledge of new technologies as a key barrier to digital business transformation, with a further 68% blaming lack of confidence in investment return.
“Interestingly, 40% were simply unsure where to start, which is understandable, given the enormity of the task,” he added. “Worryingly, there is a further challenge – with 40% responding that organisational culture was an issue. Culture is hard to shift and deep rooted. But it is vital that this shifts. With ambitious Net Zero targets, firms will need to digitally transform in order to deliver.”