Congratulations to Enel for being named the EMEA region winner of Forrester’s inaugural Technology Strategy Impact award. In a keynote session at our recent Technology & Innovation EMEA event, Laura Koetzle, VP and group research director with Forrester, sat down with Alberto Cossu, head of digital strategy with Enel Group, to discuss the company’s transformation to a utility-as-a-platform business model and the pivotal role that the technology organisation played in that transformation. I had the honour of being a judge, evaluating the many entries across both North America and EMEA. What stood out for me about Enel’s story is how much its digital strategy aligned with what we at Forrester recommend as a future fit technology strategy.
Energise Transformational Change With A Future Fit Technology Strategy
A future fit technology strategy is a customer-obsessed approach to technology that enables an organisation to quickly reconfigure business structures and capabilities to meet future customer and employee needs with adaptivity, creativity, and resilience. Three strategic themes stood out for me in how the Enel digital team helped transform the business in this way, from a traditional energy company pre-2015 to the sustainable digital native business that it is today:
- Breaking down barriers to build a sustainable future. The Enel Group is an Italian electrical utility company headquartered in Rome. Enel supplies 85% of Italy’s users with electricity. Since its foundation in 1962, the company has been producing, distributing, and supplying energy to Italy and has expanded to 29 more countries around the globe to date, with its distribution network serving 70 million users in total. Over the past decade, Enel has expanded through acquisition and divestitures, increasing complexity around its data, processes, and flexibility to align products and services to customers. The platform strategy initially focused on eliminating siloed and duplicated work activities, processes, and data. The team removed these silos through its platform architecture development and operating model initiatives. This included the adoption of shared services, centralised governance, know-how development, and taking a product-driven approach to technology services delivery.
- Putting the customer at the heart of the strategy. The digital platform strategy is core to Enel’s renewable energy transition and utility as a platform vision. From the outset in 2015, the Enel digital team took a customer- and data-centric, insights-driven platform approach, with teams empowered and skilled in modern development practices. This transformed the business from siloed data and operations with different products to being a customer-obsessed organisation under the new Enel X Global Retail business line. This insights-driven approach has enabled a more personalised customer experience by evaluating how and why customers interact with Enel through different channels, and it has improved customer journey lifecycles with the adoption of AI and automation technologies.
- Empowering employees to be adaptive and creative to enable business growth. Enel recognised the importance of developing the right capabilities and behaviours for employees for digital success. It placed a strong emphasis on growing and developing internal talent and skills first, empowering employees to rethink the way they work and how the future operating model should be shaped. Enel strengthened internal digital, data science, and AI skills and capabilities to enhance solution quality; this not only included core digital talent within IT (data scientists, architects, UX/UI designers, and cybersecurity experts) but also covered strengthening digital know-how across the whole organisation. Enel places strong emphasis on career development, learning, and rewards to retain and grow talent, investing in employee experience to ensure that all staff feel empowered and trusted and are motivated to align with Enel’s net zero vision.
Leaders Set The Vision — People Drive The Strategy
A successful and sustainable future fit transformational strategy starts with a clear vision and purpose. From the outset, leadership set a clear vision for a sustainable future, with customers at the heart and digital at the core. The digital strategy had sponsorship from the CEO to ensure business alignment and engagement and to overcome early resistance, and by putting a focus on digital across people and practices, not just technology, this fostered engagement and eased collaboration with stakeholders across the organisation.
We will soon share more detail on Enel’s digital journey via a future fit case study. But for now, we want to say congratulations to Enel for its outstanding work to date and best wishes for its continuing success in creating a sustainable digital future!