Eneco stays ahead of the competition with a start-up inspired innovation agenda
Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange and Scout and Select as a Service solution enables Eneco to harness the power of start-up innovation on a global scale.
On a day-to-day basis, Eneco provides its customers in the Netherlands with their natural gas, electricity and heating needs. More than 2 million business and residential customers rely on Eneco to provide them with affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. However, the energy market is undergoing a major change through digitalisation and the need for sustainable energy sources. Due to the increasingly more competitive and volatile market, Eneco decided it needed to focus on energy transformation by facilitating it with agile products and services. The key would be to integrate IT solutions with Eneco’s knowledge of sustainable energy and utilising energy infrastructures in a way that hadn’t been seen yet in the energy sector.
The core of this development is the general movement of energy markets from commodity supply to services around a digital and sustainable energy household.
Following growing pressure on traditional business models within the utilities and energy sector, Eneco wanted to stay ahead of its competition. The company wanted to be disruptive and to move to a more sustainable and digitised business model to ensure future competitive advantage. Eneco had strong ambitions to accelerate its innovation agenda in order to continue transforming its business according to industry trends while optimising its existing infrastructure and processes.
Capgemini had been working with Eneco since 2008, so it was a natural partner for the energy supplier. When a strong fit in terms of ambition and vision on innovation was established, Eneco and Capgemini agreed on a partnership alliance focused on innovation in 2015. In that same year, Eneco allocated 100m EUR to its newly created “Innovation & Ventures” business unit to accelerate innovation and transformation.
Initially, a joint vision was developed across a two day intensive ASE with top-level participants from both companies. The new collaboration would include joint technology exploration and development of intellectual property and business in general. Furthermore, the collaboration aimed to contribute to industry-wide innovation for utility organisations through Capgemini’s Utility to Energy Services (U2ES) transformation program, helping utility companies to transform into energy services companies.
As Capgemini and Eneco started the implementation of the joint vision, the priority areas were home energy management, insights & data, smart buildings, smart outdoors, smart security, the customer experience and joint international opportunities. Working closely with Eneco, Capgemini developed a Scouting and Select as a Service (SSaaS) solution to provide an easy way for connecting to the global start-up community. The solution allowed Eneco to quickly engage in pilots with selected start-up partners working on relevant technologies and solutions. Beyond initial insight into specific innovations, SSaaS provided Eneco with the analysis to consider investing in particular start-ups featuring technologies and solutions of high value with the potential to contribute to the realisation of Eneco’s innovation goals.
The SSaaS solution allowed Eneco to accelerate its own innovation agenda by tapping into an unknown pool of start-up provided solutions that could be quickly scouted, assessed, selected and trialed. It provided Eneco a way to evaluate its innovation agenda and ambitions, and match them to the level set by start-ups in the same sector. and the vision of Capgemini’s energy and utilities team on the transformation of the energy market.
Eneco and Capgemini are compelling evidence of the value of innovation in the energy market. A combination of vision, approach and application of practical solutions such as start-up technology, structured innovation and digital solutions has increased the competitiveness of the energy supplier. Eneco now has a mature innovation agenda along with a strong connection to the innovation-focused start-up community within the energy sector, ensuring it is has a strong chance to stay ahead of its big-name competition.
Capgemini and Eneco are continuing to work together to accelerate innovation and provide new value generation through their partnership. Most recently, the partnership has resulted in the international rollout of Toon, a state-of-the-art smart thermostat that promises to reinvent the way energy and utility companies operate.