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Five countries – one success: Our Smart Home & Connected Strategy project

Smart Home & Connected market shows great potential

As one of the elements of the evolving IoT (Internet of Things) market, the Smart Home & Connected (SH & C) area has excellent potential. An average annual growth rate of 20–25 % is forecast until 2025. This makes the market very attractive for many companies – including innogy. This sector has two main focuses: intelligent and networked devices and services for residential and commercial buildings. These products and services use intelligent and networked technologies to save energy and extend control, comfort and simplicity in and around the home by providing solutions for security, climate, lighting, health, entertainment and building management.

This means the market is increasingly dynamic, offering great opportunities, but also posing new challenges for utilities such as innogy. A rising number of competitors are entering the market, and this means that we need to continually adapt our product and service portfolios to the needs of highly demanding customers. A company aiming to be successful on the market, therefore, needs to evolve from a product-oriented to a solution-oriented mindset by means of technology and new business models. The Smart Home product gives companies the opportunity to achieve this by developing data-driven business models and using these to expand into other growth areas such as e-mobility and Energy+.

Aim of project: “Take it to the next level”

As an early mover, innogy is one of the pioneers among utilities in the “SH & C” area. To guarantee innogy retains its competitive advantage and masters the above-mentioned challenges, last year innogy launched a project with us – innogy Consulting – which we concluded this year. Its objective was to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to optimise innogy's Smart Home and Connected business by combining experience and ideas from numerous initiatives. The project involved experts from all operational innogy companies – in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Germany. This meant that more than 20 people were involved in the project to formulate a collective strategy.

Methodology and results: three-step process feeds into an implementation phase

During the three-month strategy development phase, we adopted a three-stage approach:
As a first step, we performed a status quo assessment, taking into account internal and external factors and carrying out both quantitative and qualitative research. The findings were used to analyse and evaluate alternative business models and best practices. We then assessed the potential of the models and how complex it would be to implement them, including possible interaction with related markets such as Energy+, E-Mobility and Commodity. The third step was to clearly recommend a preferred scenario based on quantitative and qualitative criteria. Finally, we prepared and submitted a proposal for a decision to the innogy Retail Board. The members of the Retail Board not only agreed to the strategic milestone plan but also commissioned the recommended scenario to be implemented.

That marked a significant success for us, of the kind that reminds me why I enjoy working for an internal consultancy firm so much. After all, at iCon we frequently oversee the implementation of projects we ourselves have developed. In other words, the customer will actually get the chance to witness projects at first hand that originated in attractive PowerPoint slides. This implementation phase lasted six months, during which we worked with international Opco (operating company) representatives to develop a blueprint for the SH & C target operating model – including future organisational structure, processes, IT systems, governance, interfaces, required skills, and staff dimensioning.

Conclusion: Complex multi-country project mastered

What I particularly enjoyed about this project was the international cooperation with experts from five different countries. Delivering harmonising and coordinated results for different Opcos was a challenge, as was, in the end, achieving a shared commitment for implementation. In spite of the complexity of the project, the atmosphere within the project team was extremely positive and stimulating, above all due to the balanced combination of working disciplines and collaborative working methods. I greatly look forward to many more projects of this kind.

An article by

Kata Soós

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