Global report advocates digital transformation to reduce CO2 emissions

Digital transformation electricity grid

Publicis Sapient has released its ‘Next Stop Net Zero’ report, with a survey of 375 CTOS and other digital decision-makers across the UK, EU, the UAE, and Australia. The survey aims to find out how digital leaders in the energy sector are responding to Net-Zero, the solutions they need, and the challenges that stand in their way when preparing a business case for digital business transformation to enable it.

The survey reveals a clear commitment among digital energy leaders to use digital business transformation to reduce carbon emissions, with 8.2 out of ten saying Net Zero was their top priority. and 86 per cent saying that digital transformation would play a key role in achieving their company’s Net Zero ambitions. Investment in digital business transformation will be a key feature in the ‘post-COP26’ era, as businesses play their part in achieving global Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Among the key findings in the report is the fact that, when asked if they were currently engaged in a digital transformation strategy intended to help achieve Net Zero goals, leaders in France and Australia were most likely to indicate that change was currently underway. Meanwhile, leaders in the UK and Switzerland lag behind with regard to implementing a digital transformation strategy.

Additionally, 80 per cent of respondents said that government regulation is the most persuasive in pressuring companies to change. while 74 per cent cited increased pressure from customers, 63 per cent pointed to pressure from shareholders, and 62 per cent pointed to pressure from employees to become more environmentally sustainable.

Finally, a lack of clear leadership emerged as a barrier to energy suppliers when looking to digitally transform to achieve Net Zero goals. Almost half (45 per cent) of respondents cited insufficient management buy-in as a barrier to employing new strategies.

The white paper report includes recommendations from Publicis Sapient’s energy transition experts, and contributions from some of those leading the charge to deploy digital transformation to deliver Net Zero.

Philippe Commaret, managing director for customers, EDF Energy, said there is a need to understand how technologies are performing: “Digital and data is central to understanding the customer. For technologies such as smart meters, solar panels, EV charge points, heat pumps, we need to understand how they are performing, and how and when they are being used. We need to gather all this data to help customers make better choices and help the national grid to make the system work better.”

Referring to the UK’s recent energy crisis, Commaret points out that change will be good for future independence and sustainability: “The crisis was generated by the UK’s dependency on petrol and gas. To me, the independence of the UK’s energy market is what is really at stake with this crisis. Renewable and nuclear generation offers a huge opportunity to offer the UK this independence, making it much more resilient to future pricing crises rather than being exposed to fluctuations in the market.”

Devrim Celal, CEO of KrakenFlex says digital transformation is key to success: “Digital transformation will allow operators to better balance energy demand and renewable generation, and control clean energy devices such as electric cars or batteries – an important piece of the puzzle to move beyond the 50 per cent regular renewable mix.”

Joe Tabita, Publicis Sapient energy & commodities lead, EMEA & APAC commented: “60 to 80 per cent of those surveyed said lack of knowledge to implement, operate or maintain new technologies was a key barrier to digital business transformation, with a further 68 per cent saying it was lack of confidence in investment return. Interestingly, 40 per cent were simply unsure where to start, which is understandable, given the enormity of the task.

“Worryingly, there is a further challenge – with 40 per cent responding that organisational culture was an issue. Culture is hard to shift and deep-rooted.  But it is vital that this shifts. With ambitious Net Zero targets, firms will need to digitally transform in order to deliver.”

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