12-14 November 2019
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13 Dec 2017

How to build the Digitalisation track for EUW 2018

Henrik Göthberg, Director Group Financial Systems at Vattenfall

In November, the Advisory Committee Members (ACM) for European Utility Week 2018 met to brainstorm and come up with the Content Brief for the European Utility Week (EUW) 2018 Summit and Hub Session Programme. I was one of those members challenged with the task. 

by Henrik Göthberg, Director Group Financial Systems at Vattenfall & EUW 2018 Advisory Committee Member


The starting point for this Advisory Committee meeting was an acknowledgement of the fundamental changes taking place in the energy industry, making it vital that the EUW 2018 programme adapts to stay relevant in the transition to our future energy landscape. 

A key question for the ACM was how to transform a conference; originally focused on the traditional Utility acting in the traditional Energy Value Chain; to extend its offering to include all key players in the evolving energy landscape.

advisory committee meeting euw 2018 amsterdam european utility weekWe started with the Summit programme and the key strategic themes top of mind for every C-level in the energy industry. The themes can be summarized by the three D´s coined this year in various publications:

  • De-carbonization – Carbon free business is good energy business
  • De-centralization – Leading the energy revolution into the future of energy commerce
  • Digitalization – Thriving and winning in a digitized energy eco-system

Consequently, we brainstormed on the storylines and topics most important to explore under these three key strategic themes.

The following industry-relevant topics make up the key sessions and storyline of one of the Summit tracks: Digitalization. 


Session 1. Surpassing the expectations and delighting the Digital Citizen
A key view on why to drive digitalization in the energy industry rests with the fundamental expectations of society and customers (Cities, B2B/B2C/ Partners) as they all become digital around us. It puts pressures on all aspects from cost competitiveness, to speed, flexibility, customization, providing data and insight, as well as expecting us to have algorithmic processes to provide answers and action in seconds rather than weeks.

The first session explores an outside view of different aspects driving the digital change and highlights examples and ideas of what the digital citizen already has grown to expect.


Session 2: The key technology enablers and capabilities a Digital utility must master
To competitively and cost-effectively meet the future expectations of a digital citizen, to be able to participate in a Digitalized energy ecosystem. Or to meet the challenge and complexities managing and operating in a fully decentralized energy system with drastically reduced operating costs to compete with new market entrants with no burdening legacy. It all boils down to the industry need to reinvent itself from ground up utilizing an optimal mix of technology capabilities to stay relevant.

In this session, we will explore the key digital technologies that will help us create and drive algorithmic and digital energy business to create more value, and meet expectations cheaper and faster.

advisory committee meeting digitalisation european utility week 2018 euw

Session 3: Get a grip on the future digital energy value chain
In a future digital and decentralized energy landscape, the traditional energy value chain will become irrelevant as a way to describe the energy industry and the underlying business models. The new energy landscape needs to be re-imagined as a networked economy or energy ecosystem where a cobweb of different synergistic business models co-exists. The roles of supplier, producer, wholesale trader, industry buyer, innovator, partner, competitor, distributor, service provider, prosumer and customer become blurred.

This session identifies some of the key fundaments of making a digital decentralized energy system work. This is put in the context of the expectations of the digital citizens and explores viable business models and different sustainable positions in the energy eco-system from where a real need is solved and value can be delivered. A sustainable business model and position must also meet the criteria that it can be monetized in a relevant way for someone to make needed investments.


Session 4: Managing risk and compliance in a Digital Utility
Old definitions and approaches to manage risk and compliance must be transformed and adjusted to be relevant in a Digital Utility. The number one topic of C-levels digitalization agenda for 2018 was cybersecurity in a recent study. GDPR, the new data privacy legislation, is coming into force on the 25th of May, 2018. At the same time, the future market models as proposed by TSO on EU and Country level are demanding data on a very granular level to make available in public interest. This means data governance and managing and controlling information as any other strategic asset must be deeply embedded in all parts of the core businesses processes. In another part of the risk spectrum, with the advent of AI and algorithmic processes come completely new topics such as Data Ethics and how to deal with incidents caused by wrong decisions taken by an algorithm.

This session highlights the key dimensions of digital risk and compliance in the Energy Industry and looks into best practices and examples how to develop processes, organizations and systems to manage this.

advisory committee meeting amsterdam european utility week 2018 digitalisation

Session 5. Digital transformation – operationalization of the Digital Utility
“Vision without execution is nothing more than a hallucination”.

Many experts dealing with the operational complexities of today´s Utilities with its vast legacy are in agreement that even to visualize the future seems easier than understanding the steps and navigating to get there as an enterprise. Pessimists argue that the traditional Utility will not manage the transition, but rather perish for other players, better equipped and with less burden to carry, to take over. This session will, with fierce candidness, pinpoint the operational realities and critically examine the major shifts needed in both technology, organizational structures, operating models and people to be a competitive digital utility. Different options, strategies, tactics and approaches to orchestrate needed digital transformation on enterprise level will also be explored.


In conclusion:

With this brief and storyline in focus, we now set out to find the best speakers and to strike the best balance between real-life case examples, insights and learnings by suppliers, peers and our regulatory bodies in the EU and looking into the future of what is possible, based on cutting-edge research in academia and future products and services presented by innovators.

If you have ideas on who we could approach to speak about these key themes or any other topics around these themes that you think make a difference, please support and co-create with us! I completely support EUW and my aim is to help build the best and most relevant conference track on Digitalization for the energy industry – together with the energy industry. 


Send us your thoughts to Conference@synergy-events.com!


I look forward to seeing you at EUW 2018, 6-8 November, Vienna!


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