Exclusive interview with Perry Stoneman, Global Utilities and Smart Energy Services Leader, and Philippe David, Global Digital Utilities Transformation Leader, Capgemini Consulting. Capgemini returns to European Utility Week as a gold sponsor this year.
What are you most excited about currently in terms of Capgemini’s solutions?
Capgemini offers an unparalleled breadth of solutions around smart meter and smart grid, which we call Smart Energy Services. These include smart grid programs, meter deployment, orchestration and smart meter network operations, and demand response management systems to name a few.
We have tremendous experience with systems implementation and integration for new meter network, collection and data management technologies, as well as on how to integrate the systems with asset and outage management to make it a meter to cash solution. We are pleased that 100% of our projects are referenceable.
We are equally excited about our new offer, Digital Utilities Transformation. This helps utilities to take advantage of digital technologies to improve their operations and customer experience and to harvest benefits from smart meter or grid implementation. Enabled by Customer and Communities Experience Transformation, we support utilities to create an “all channel experience” for customer-centric processes. Through our Digital Utilities Enterprise Architecture, the enterprise roadmap is designed to incorporate digital technologies like big data, social media, mobility or cloud to establish an agile interaction layer.
What is on the calendar for Capgemini in 2013-14?
We will continue to be a leader in the utilities market, in Smart Energy Services and Digital Utilities Transformation. We are carrying out an annual study about the industry, the European Energy Markets Observatory, which monitors all segments of the value chain and analyzes leading edge energy themes. This report in combination with other thought leadership pieces and studies, such as the retail benchmark, allow us to continue to understand the market place and lead with new solutions.
In 2014, we will launch the Digital Utilities User Group Forum. The User Group Forum will contribute to the innovation cycle by sharing thoughts on vision of the future of utilities. This will enable customers to have direct access to studies, thought leadership and technology demonstrations.
What opportunities do you see in Europe?
Mass metering deployment is the next big thing in Europe for 2014. It will happen in the UK and France and potentially in Germany. Furthermore, there is a constant pressure on costs for utilities which will lead to better optimization of cost-to-serve through digital technologies and optimization of plants through asset management.
What do you think makes Capgemini competitive in this market?
Capgemini is one of the world’s largest business consulting, systems integrators and outsourcers for utilities. As reported by Gartner and IDC, we are a leader in utilities, a position we obtained through the breadth of our portfolio, combining consulting, technology and outsourcing services, our ability to execute on the programs we are working on, and our deep insight in the market.
IDC positioned us as a leader for IT services in the EMEA Utilities Market 2013 vendor assessment. Our best score in the current capabilities criteria is for our "Range of Capabilities" and "Range of Offering." Within the Future Strategies criteria, we scored very well for our "Portfolio Strategy" and "Customer Service Strategies." (Source: IDC: “IDC MarketScape: IT Service Providers in the EMEA Utilities Market 2013 Vendor Assessment,” Doc #EIOS02V, May 2013). Gartner ranked us, based on 2012 revenue, #1 in Utilities for IT Services in Western Europe and #3 in Utilities for IT Services Worldwide. (Source: Gartner, Inc., “Market Share: IT Services, 2012”, Kathryn Hale et al, 29 March 2013).
We provide Smart Energy Services to over 75 utility clients around the world, representing 113 million metered customers actively engaged in smart energy programs including directly managing mass deployment programs for over 23 million smart meters.
What do you think are the biggest challenges to the European/global energy market?
The challenge for utilities is the rapid development of renewable energy, which further complicates grid management and makes grid modernization an imperative. Also consumer expectations are rising, they want to be able to understand, measure and control their electricity consumption. Utilities need to reach an ease of transaction with the consumers (including mobile devices) through streamlining their operations.
Furthermore, shale gas is being exploited at very competitive costs and already is rapidly expanding in North America. The low gas spot price in the U.S. resulted in more gas and less coal utilization in fossil fuel plants. It has pushed coal prices down, creating overcapacities that were exported to Europe and prices were impacted negatively.
What surprises you about this industry?
The utilities industry is encountering a major transformation due to the energy transition (smart grid, renewable generation, customer all channel experience). To face this disruption, innovation and change are necessary. We are surprised that regulators are not stimulating change fast enough. There is a growing gap between the early movers and the general market. A handful of new entrants and thought leaders from the industry are frontrunners embracing digital programs; but how fast will the pack follow? If utilities are not moving fast enough, they risk that telecommunication and web companies eat up parts of the value chain. We believe that utilities need to transform or they will be at risk of further erosion of their value chain and profitability.