The Revolution in Business, Technology and Energy Dilemma

By Nikhil Pathak, Vice President -Strategy Deployment and Operations, ROW - IT Business, Schneider Electric

Advancement in technology has brought significant changes and development in the enterprise sector. Organisations these days, from start-ups to large en­terprises are compelled to become more transparent, agile, responsive and the need to stay connected to their key stakeholders - thus changing the dynamics of the businesses and enterpris­es like never before.

Every business wants to be “innovative.” But it takes more than new ideas or even new products to merit that label. In my experience, it takes a concerted effort to identify emerging trends and evolving cus­tomer concerns. It requires shifting your focus from products to customer outcomes. One of the leading advancements that we observe is cloud computing, which is a model that allows companies to access soft­ware tools remotely on a network, which is mostly the Internet. The world is far more digitized and connect­ed than it was at the start of the millennium, and new forms of connecting and consuming information con­tinue to emerge.

"If we are to move towards a more sustainable future we must become radically more efficient with the way we use energy"

The cloud is a good example of another trend, the transition from selling products to selling services re­lated to products. The key aspect of this new direction is that maintaining a successful relationship between businesses and their customers is tightly tied to cus­tomer outcomes. The customers of cloud services don’t just buy software but also subscribe to software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a ser­vice, security as a service, and others. Across industries, the trend is to view customers not just as a relationship formed in a single transaction but also as an ongoing re­lationship that emanates from the purchase of a desired customer outcome that the company will deliver.

Energy Consumption Paradigm - The White Elephant in the Room

Do you know that 4 key markets consume 70 percent of the world’s energy - Industry, Infrastructure, Buildings and Residential, Data Centers and Networks. What is our business social responsibility? Can these technolo­gies, evolving business models and IoT, Apps, software and analytics help solve this dilemma?

Today, the way we currently manage energy is un­sustainable. If we are to move towards a more sustain­able future we must become radically more efficient with the way we use energy. Megatrends such as Urbanisa­tion, Digitisation and Industrialisation have provoked a huge increase in energy demand and in turn, spurred the IoT revolution. There are four transformational devel­opments that will enable us to solve this head on: the Internet of Things (IoT), the Convergence of Opera­tional Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT). Connected ‘smart’ technology can automatically measure, monitor and control energy consumption and demands. When we couple automation and energy with software and analytics you get an unprecedented level of operational intelligence to make better, more predictive decisions in real time. This is the innovative foundational solution for the 4 key markets that consume 70 percent of the world’s energy. Businesses who want to be ahead in the curve should adopt and partner with such Market leaders before they become irrelevant to customers.

Outcome Based Services

The confluence of these industry and technology trends compels companies to advancing innovation by focus­ing on desired customer outcomes. Outcome-based ser­vices are all about the customer experience and the role the company plays in that experience. So it’s not just cloud service providers who are now in the “as a ser­vice” business but also everyone who sells the means to a customer’s desired end. This kind of responsiveness can be extended not just to business customers but to the individuals they serve with a type of personalisation that was unimaginable before the advent of digitalisation and mobile connection.

Another interesting Opex model is Pay-as-you-Go service model that does away with companies investing huge capital on infrastructure and skilled manpower to manage the same. Companies will, if not already, make the case for using pay-as-you-go services based on agility - the ability to deliver IT services faster, to meet busi­ness needs. Pay-as-you-Go/use models will account for 50 percent of on premise and off-premise physical IT and data centre asset spending by 2018, strengthening business and IT partnerships. To be able to monetize and bill this kind of business models, having the right enterprise software is key.

Summary

Don’t underestimate the power of Digitisation and the evolving business models - So then, what do we do? It’s important for companies today to progress into an ecosystem of vendors, partners and end-customers that enables scalable and converged IT / OT solutions that leverages connectivity and data to create controls and actionable business insights, with the combined power of analytics and closed-loop applications. Engage and tie up with market leaders who can help empower custom­ers and partners to augment operations reaching new levels of operational efficiency, sustainability, asset per­formance, actionable intelligence, and people productiv­ity. This will help make huge leaps towards increased operational and energy efficiency, Best in class safety, Lower Capex and Opex and increased cyber security.

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