SAP and Infosys amplify the utility business model
Key challenges for the industry
The industry has changed across several dimensions; in terms of business, competition, environment, health and safety, and regulations. And let us not forget the short-term but immense challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted energy consumption and service.
Renewables and distribution are changing the way utilities do business today. The volume of the distributed generation business will grow four-fold in the next seven years – it will be a quantum leap.
The use of electric vehicles will grow rapidly over the same period. The US alone will need 330,000-plus public charging outlets. While this is a great opportunity, the challenge lies in new patterns of how and when consumers utilize electricity. We are working on deploying S/4HANA to build smart charging solutions.
Another emerging challenge is that the commodity business is shrinking. This is leading to cost pressures and intense competition.
Safety is a big concern in these time for various factors such as changes in weather patterns and temperature as well as natural calamities like hurricanes, wildfires and other extreme conditions.
According to Forrester, by 2024, energy utilities will be investing a massive $15 billion in edge computing, IoT and robotics.
There will be a reduction in operational spend – operational efficiency will become the focus with regulatory changes too driving the same.
What we are doing
SAP and Infosys have enjoyed a long partnership of over 20 years.
Right now we are engaged in a wide variety of activities that include consulting (like assessments, roadmap definitions, product/solution selections, digital consulting), transformation programs on S/4 HANA, and S4 migrations for our utility clients.
We are also working together on projects around multi-channel foundations and energy data management.
In the AMS space we are seeing increased trend in agile and DevOps engagements.
We are also partnering on several analytics transformation programs and programs involving new functionalities and processes using cloud platforms
How we are enhancing our services
Up until now, businesses have largely leveraged the opportunity presented by cloud to achieve agility and cost stability/optimization in their operations. Today, I see the partnership between Infosys and SAP driving responsiveness in the utilities market. We are scaling innovation in faster cycles for greater resilience.
Recently, Infosys launched Cobalt. This is not a product or app. Infosys Cobalt is a set of services, solutions, and platforms that acts as a force multiplier for cloud-powered enterprise transformation.
Infosys’ Live Enterprise Application Management Platform is now certified by SAP for integration with SAP. This enables us to leverage open source and other new technologies, particularly in the process and intelligence layers.
We are further developing new competencies in intelligent asset management, data governance and management, landscape transformations, and application consolidation.
The Infosys SAP Practice is geared to help client organizations navigate the changes. Our focus can be grouped into two apres – the industrialisation of services for greater efficiencies, agility, safety and resilience; and digitalization for new business models involving customer, grid, and the workforce.
I see the Infosys-SAP relationship going from strength to strength. SAP’s new technologies will provide new solutions and opportunities. We are collaborating to deliver programs together for solutions that will bridge the gaps in utility process chains.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.