What is digital transformation? Of course it is more than the conversion of analogue information into digital - for example in the form of a binary code. But this idea is not far off because it is about a clear change of consciousness, fundamental changes, and incredible opportunities. Here we talk about how we use the latest digital technologies and what this means for E.ON customers and employees.
Employees - more than zeros and ones
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Today in the digital age, many things work better with modern technology, but nothing works without people. A successful digital transformation is primarily a matter of attitude, especially when it comes to employees. Tighe Wall, Head of Digital Strategy and Transformation at E.ON SE, puts it this way: "We need a kind of ‘reset’ in our minds for digital change. Employees often must say goodbye to the tried and tested and learn new things. And we at E.ON must ensure that our colleagues have the tools they need in the age of the digital revolution.”
In addition, E.ON is also committed to bringing ‘new blood’ into the Group. “When looking for and finding digital talents, it's all about being open to all kinds of people,” Tighe says. "We are interested in new employees who can tackle challenges without the company's traditional glasses.
It goes without saying at E.ON that modern working conditions such as flexible working hours, home office, first-class hardware and software, and access to emerging digital tools and technologies must not only be talked about, but also lived out.”
Of all technical possibilities - including those resulting from the intelligent and responsible use of data - one thing is certain. It is not the machine that makes change possible at E.ON. It’s the human being. Even the most powerful, advanced machines only develop their added value for customers and society if they are created, programmed, and used by people. After all, the key decision-makers are behind the decision to use digital tools and technologies – provided they contribute to achieving the goal of resolving a customer’s problems.
E.ON's man for digital strategy and transformation says, "One of the most important responsibilities of decision-makers in digital transformation is to break new ground. Decision-makers must also question often long-held beliefs when filling key positions. The same applies to colleagues who have to put old methods and knowledge to the test when solving problems".
Customers - Department (digital) Attack
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If you turn your gaze and focus on people ‘outside’, i.e. customers, you also realize that it is not just about an optimized, digital user experience in existing processes or business models. "The goal is the fundamental digitization of many customer relationships - that is, the enhancement of the relationship between E.ON and people, for example through personalized communication, products, and services.
But it is also about cleverly questioning existing business models to prevent possible external disruption," says Tighe. More than lip service, it is a firm credo that the customer is at the centre of all our efforts. E.ON believes that attack is the best defence. "With our new, centralized digital platform, we are creating the basis to provide best in class customer service and make more targeted innovation accessible - be it smart metering, forward-looking services that use artificial intelligence, or new possibilities for our customers to change the "form and colour" of their electricity," explains Tighe.
First introduced in the UK in April 2018, the digital platform includes end-to-end interaction with our customers and the underlying digitized processes and IT systems. The goal is to provide an outstanding digital experience while achieving the lowest operating costs per customer in the utilities industry.
The key to this outstanding experience is for E.ON to engage with new partners : "We can now quickly and flexibly develop ideas together with partners and test and further develop them with potential and existing customers. Speed and relevance for our customers are crucial here, says Tighe.
DT - thought through from start to finish
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Digital transformation involves a process of change. But the question is whether it makes itself superfluous when this transformation from analogue to digital is complete. The answer is that the digital transformation will never be completed. It will always be about learning and maintaining new digital technologies, skills, and workplace behaviours. It will always be about finding and retaining creative, flexible, collaborative, explorative employees and offering them optimal digital working conditions. And it will always be about using all this for the benefit of our customers and our sustainable business success. Or as Tighe puts it: "We cannot see into the future. But we can ensure that the non-linear, virtual, fast and complex environment of our digital transformation is handled in a way that makes tomorrow's energy world even better. And this is where E.ON is a step ahead – both in analogue and digital.”