June 11, 2018

TCS publishes study on how European utilities are collaborating with customers and partners to fuel innovation

  • Most European utilities are looking at value-added energy products and services as a strategic theme for their future business models
  • They are increasingly relying on collaboration with customers, strategic partners and start-ups for their innovation
  • Solving the skills gap in analytics, data management and application development is critical to their digital transformation

AMSTERDAM | MUMBAI: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), (BSE: 532540, NSE: TCS) a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organisation, published the second part of the Emerging Energy Value Ecosystem Utilities study1 carried out by IDC Energy Insights.

Titled ‘Grounding Utilities Innovations & Business Opportunities By Collaborating With The Ecosystem’, the study is based on a survey of 120 senior IT and non-IT decision-makers from European utilities across Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Sudheer Warrier, VP and global head, utilities, TCS, said, “Utilities are increasingly looking to collaborate with external partners for their innovation and transformation, to remain competitive in a Business 4.0 world. This collaborative new model is resulting in some exciting examples of innovation around business models and customer experience in the utilities sector. It is particularly interesting to see how these approaches differ across European countries, in everything, from forms of collaboration to focus areas, showing that while there is a broad commitment to change, each region is embracing collaboration in different forms.”

Key results from the study:

  • The most popular collaborative model for innovation is with customers, with 75 percent of the respondents saying they work alongside customers to develop new solutions. This figure is as high as 93 percent and 85 percent in the Nordics and France respectively
  • The second most important collaboration model (60 percent) is the establishment of strategic partnerships, with utilities sharing hard benefits with partners that can support their digital transformation with talent and technology enablers
  • Collaboration with digital and energy start-ups is increasingly popular (60 percent), especially around emerging technology, extending to incubation, acquisition and joint ventures
  • European utilities use a variety of mechanisms to generate innovative ideas – such as focus groups for usability and customer experience (60 percent), university partnerships (over 70 percent in Germany and the Nordics), internal innovation labs (56 percent) and hackathons (34 percent)
  • In their digital transformation journeys, utilities are currently focused on information and omni-experience transformation. 68 percent of respondents said they need to fill existing skill gaps in analytics and data management. Other domains with significant skill gaps include software development (56 percent), and smart home and customer engagement platforms (55 percent and 53 percent, respectively)
  • Much of the European utility industry is expected to grapple with the obsolescence of internal skills and the struggle to attract new talent in the face of competition from other data-intensive or more digitally attractive industries. The report says that the most critical skills gaps of today (e.g., data scientists, IT architects, developers) are only likely to widen for the average European utility, making external sourcing the only credible option

Roberta Bigliani, VP, IDC Energy Insights, said, “Utilities have accepted that the days when they could expect to transform in isolation are long gone. Instead, the complexity of the challenges they face creates a need for a carefully selected ecosystem of transformation partners in which service providers with real-world industry expertise, depth in digital technologies, particularly in analytics, and proven innovation capabilities, are quintessential.”

Mr Warrier added, “Leveraging eco-systems is a key pillar of TCS’ Business 4.0 framework that allows utilities to leverage digital technologies to further their growth and transformation agendas. Our deep domain expertise and contextual knowledge, our investments in utilities-focused innovation labs, intellectual property and our Co-Innovation Network (COIN™) encompassing the start-up ecosystem, have made us the preferred innovation and transformation partner for leading utilities looking to succeed in the emerging energy value ecosystem.”

For more information or to download the report, please visit: http://info.tcs.com/innovation-business-opportunities-collaborating-with-ecosystem.html

1 IDC White Paper, sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services, "Grounding Utilities Innovations & Business Opportunities By Collaborating With The Ecosystem,” May 2018