Digitalization is a key element at all levels and in all processes within the Company
Transformation of the energy sector is leading to the development of new sustainable business models, thanks also to the growing digitalization of services and infrastructure. Specifically, data management plays a key role in supporting the decisional process with the development and application of advanced analytics to engender new synergies. Robotics, artificial intelligence, cyber security, Big Data and cloud computing are among the key elements in which Enel is investing, thus confirming that digitalization is among the core focuses of the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan aimed at supporting business development. In this context, the digital strategy is being oriented towards maximizing margins and reducing operating costs to facilitate the energy transition process. The Group is committed to protecting its critical infrastructure, to disseminating a culture of cyber security in line with SDGs 9 and 11, to virtualization of the asset management operating activities, and to promoting the use of videocommunication systems, in accordance with SDG 12.
Digital transformation in Enel is guided by the “Global Digital Solutions” unit which, working together with all the Holding’s Business Lines and Functions, guides strategic choices, defines the paths of development and guarantees their implementation. The Enel operating models call for an agile working approach to anticipate market demand, with constant attention paid to the satisfaction of internal and external customers, to guarantee innovation and flexibility and the Company’s ability to adapt and react to change rapidly. The “Global Customer Digital Hub” was created in 2019 starting from customer-focused activities managed by Country/regional units, in order to maximize the digital impact and promote synergies generated by the integration of the competences of the IT platforms and teams from different countries. This has guaranteed consistency and uniformity among projects and initiatives in different countries, efficiency of costs through centralised sourcing, and faster time-tomarket. In addition, the “Enel X Digital Hub” Function has been reorganised, with the introduction of a Digital Factory for each Product Line to manage design, development and adoption of the associated digital solutions.
To support the business over the next three years specific investments are planned to develop the platform business model, which will primarily involve the three company areas of Global Infrastructure and Networks, Retail, and Enel X. For Infrastructure and Networks the global platform will make it possible to standardise operations and maintenance, customer management processes, and allocation of resources and systems. For Retail, a global platform will be constructed to allow standardisation of processes and the back-end and front-end systems, such as the development of global products, thus constructing the operating model around products and services rather than around local markets. Finally, Enel X is a business platform by design model, in which innovative products and services are developed and supplied to customers all over the world. This constitutes an enormous opportunity to create new markets.
Machine learning - Digitalization and development of innovative tools based on machine learning technologies will make it possible to carry out predictive analysis for maintenance of electricity distribution and generation plant components, identifying faults early and taking action before the occurrence of breakdowns of major components, which would reduce the availability of the plants concerned. Reducing the risk of malfunctions has a significant impact not only in economic terms, but also in relation to the environment and personal safety. Enel is adopting digital technology such as Big Data, machine learning and automation on its power network in order to develop intelligent infrastructure that reduces power outages and energy losses and manages distributed generation assets proactively. Enel has leveraged machine learning solutions to boost plant efficiency in terms of heat rate and combustion optimisation. Enel is investing in digital assets in the burgeoning renewable generation sector both for Engineering & Construction and for Operations & Maintenance, reducing the time-to-market of new plants (and hence anticipating the benefits of CO2 -free generation) and increasing their generation output. For example, artificial intelligence is used to predict the power generated and optimise maintenance programmes. Another aspect worth considering is that the effects of digitalization on the end use of energy are doubled. Smart meters provide consumers with full awareness of their energy consumption, while the new Enel X subCo provides customers with innovative energy services for efficiency, in addition to “smart” technological systems. This is reflected in major savings of energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
In 2019 the cloud was an essential strategic enabler for Enel, allowing the use of infrastructure and application IT resources when required since, by exploiting the access possibilities made available by the network in full, it allows the reduction of wastage deriving from the consumption of unused resources. The proportion of Enel applications on cloud in 2019 reached 100%. The AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud used by Enel calls for the use of around 16% of the energy required by conventional on premise infrastructure on average, allowing an average reduction of 88% in CO2 emissions, and it is hosted on green data processing centres 50% of whose energy requirements are obtained from renewable sources.