ENOC Group invests US$68m in digital transformation drive
UAE-based ENOC Group has unveiled plans to invest US$68 million in its digital transformation strategy.
The energy company’s growth strategy aims to enhance its business and operations through digitalisation; which it says will play a key component in identifying synergies within its businesses.
The primary focus is to leverage ENOC’s competencies across the energy value chain to identify new avenues for growth, while also focusing on customer centricity.
“2020 was an unprecedented year for all and at ENOC we believe that it also presented great opportunities,” says ENOC Group CEO His Excellency Saif Humaid Al Falasi.
“It made us re-evaluate our operations and urged us to adopt innovative measures to keep up with the fast-paced transformation that our sector is going through. Understanding the current market realities allowed us to introduce changes to emerge as an agile, resilient and future ready organisation, while aligning our efforts with the national mandate.”
Al Faisi added that increasing market share remains a priority, while strengthening the business to meet future challenges.
In 2019, the Group introduced a number of initiatives to diversify its business streams. These included:
- Next – an accelerator programme designed to unlock growth opportunities and tackle challenges in the energy sector through building new digital ventures for business-to-business and consumer categories. Under Next, the Group introduced ENOC Link, a digital mobile fuel delivery service, and Beema, the UAE's first pay-per-kilometre car insurance.
- Masar – an innovative digital transformation programme designed to offer complete digital integration of all its divisions to enhance efficiencies across ENOC’s core operational and support functions.
In 2020, the Group focused on employee safety, business continuity and maintaining asset integrity.
Gartner: CFOs should use AI in a transformative way
The finance functions of organisations must invest in artificial intelligence (AI) within the next few years, so as not to be left behind. And they must think 'big' about how AI can transform their businesses in the long term.
That’s Gartner’s advice to CFOs and finance leaders. Investing in AI is not just a business imperative, adoption of which needs to be done within the next few years, it's an imperative that needs to be undertaken intelligently with a long-term vision if businesses are to gain competitive advantage.
And to do so intelligently means to look beyond projects that only aim to modernise the function. Because, while there’s nothing wrong with using AI to “modernise the finance function”, says Clement Christensen, director in the Gartner Finance practice, “the most impressive rewards of AI will fall to the CFOs who think bigger about how the technology can fundamentally change the way their company does businesses”.
According to Gartner, the top priorities for organisations when it comes to AI are as follows:
- To improve the company’s data architecture to support future AI goals
- To invest in citizen data scientists so that AI production can be rapidly scaled where successful
- To redesign the organisation’s reporting suite so that is best aligned with internal customer needs rather than with traditional ‘finance tasks’
Using AI in a truly transformative way
While most CFOs are aware that to reach their functional digitilisation goals, they need to pursue more “experimental, less familiar digital technology projects”, says Christensen, many still “follow use-case-focused approaches to AI projects that tend to have a bias towards modernising and improving familiar processes to drive easily-quantified ROI gains”.
Gartner points to a common use case of AI as being the use of machine learning to predict customers prone to late payments and issue earlier payment reminders to such customers or chase later payers automatically. Reducing late payments has a definite ROI in that it will improve the organisation’s cashflow. That said, according to Gartner, this is not using AI to do anything new, just helping to do something a bit more efficiently.
In this use case, to really make the most of AI and use it in a way that Gartner describes as “truly transformative” would be to identify likely late payers at the sales stage so that sales prospects are prioritised according to which is likely to pay more promptly. And this could transform a company’s approach to mitigating late payments and improve cashflow further while further reducing the need to chase for payments in future and ultimately freeing up finance for higher-value work.
And while this transformative use of AI doesn’t deliver an immediate and measurable ROI like that of the common use case of AI, the ultimate long-term payoff “is potentially much bigger”, explains Christensen.
To therefore get to the transformative stage, one where AI is used for long-term business transformation, Gartner advises CFOs to shift their mindset in how they think about deploying AI and to start with a problem that needs solving, rather than with a process that needs modernising.