Capgemini delivers services for many domains within the Smart Energy landscape:
- we have more than 75 active smart energy customers
- we have participated in smart energy programmes resulting in the deployment of 113 million smart meters around the world
- we are currently managing operations of over 6 million meters
- we are a strong player in the smart grid arena due to our joint venture with Alstom Grid
- we collaborate with the major standards organisations to drive those solutions forward, as for example with CIM, the Common Information Model.
As our Global Smart Energy Services capability grows in maturity, it acts as a catalyst for an accumulation of smart energy systems delivery and operational best practice via our many successful delivery programs across the world. We have used that capability to share those best practices in support of our clients’ own delivery teams.
What makes smart energy programs so costly?
The implementation of a smart metering system is the most complex and demanding program of work that most utilities will undertake in a generation. There are many variables in the setup project that can influence the cost to rise, including many new solution components, much new functionality, and a huge step change increase in the amount of data coming onto the system. There are deals to be struck with new partners, new software and hardware components to be procured, and a rollout project that means touching every single one of the energy consumers, probably via one or more field service partners.
Once the platform is delivered, there are demanding service targets to meet, and the prospect of stringent regulatory penalties if they are not. In addition, there can be internal issues to be addressed around service ownership, project sponsorship, responsibilities for post-deployment support and maintenance, change management, solution governance and more.
Some organisations embark on the journey thinking that their existing business functions will be able to absorb these challenges, and sooner or later realise that, they do not have the capacity, or the processes, or the necessary expertise to organise themselves to support both old and new processes in parallel. It’s important to remember that during the early years of a new smart metering service, the existing system will continue to run, and will require just as much support as it ever did – in addition to the new smart energy services. The resources who will be needed to deliver these services will be skilled, experienced – and can be expensive.
Capgemini understands that by tackling the issues around cost efficiency in a positive and proactive way from the start of our smart energy projects, we can bring value to our clients, reduce delivery cost, and optimise success for all stakeholders.
We use standard, structured methods and extensive problem-solving experience to the program management, architecture, vendor management, product integration, business process and organisational alignment, testing and deployment of smart energy delivery programs. We are guided by industry standards, and we always seek to engage with the most experienced and commercially secure partner organisations.
We always work to the core principles that:
- implemented functionality must be fully traceable back to business requirements
- delivery priorities are driven by quantifiable business value
- the solution must be proven to work fully, from end to end, in the context of both the utility’s enterprise landscape
- the relevant regulatory, security and standards frameworks must be built in
- all solution costs (both platform implementation and service provision) must be justified in the context of the business case
- the solution must be able to measure return on investment in order to monitor its cost-effectiveness.
Our experience shows that this is the way to optimise delivery success in a smart energy business programme. Applying our delivery experience to smart energy programme control not only reduces the cost of the whole undertaking, but also reduces the prospect of unexpected costs surfacing once the programme is underway.
In the next article I will dscuss how to safeguard against some specific potential pitfalls that can appear in a smart metering implementation programme.