When this global energy giant company launched an ambitious plan for digital transformation, it wasn’t looking simply to transform itself; it wanted to transform the entire energy services industry.
By marshaling the combined power of big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the HCL Volt MX digital app dev platform, it’s injecting its business with the insight and agility needed to lead one of the world’s largest and most important industries. “Our vision is to be a leader in the energy transition,” said the chief Digital Officer and CIO. “The world is in the process of moving away from fossil fuels and moving to renewables. At the same time, we still have two billion people without access to basic energy — specifically electricity. We want to contribute to the overall reduction of the carbon footprint while bringing energy to those who don’t have it today.”
For this company, which employs 155,000 people in 70 countries, the energy transition brings with it the opportunity to simultaneously reduce its environmental impact and grow its business. To take full advantage of this opportunity it had to make sure it was equipped to crank out digital applications for multiple audiences and platforms, and it needed to be able to do so more quickly than ever. To launch its digital transformation, the company took some important steps forward.
The Search for a Digital Partner
The company would need more to fuel its digital efforts. It wanted to build a “digital factory” that would serve as a platform for managing IoT, big data, mobility and API assets — and provide a process for enabling accelerated digital and IoT app development. To do so, it needed the right partners.
The company conducted a thorough evaluation of top vendors in the digital space. After an intense selection process, they chose the HCL Volt MX platform based on technology superiority and level of partnership.
The head of the new Mobile Apps Platform Competencies Center (the entity formed to lead the company’s digital transformation) said three capabilities of HCL Volt MX technology are proving to be most important: the ability to develop a single application that can run across multiple platforms; the fact that business teams can use it as effectively as IT to support digital initiatives; and the ability to reuse components as it moves from one app to the next. This leader says, “With the HCL Volt MX technology, we have seen lots of positive outcomes: savings in both time and money — and the time-to-market and the launch of new applications worldwide is greatly improved.”
A Platform that Delivers
It hasn’t taken long for the team using the HCL Volt MX platform to start producing results. In the first year, the company developed 15 applications that address the needs of both customers and employees and help improve operations by more effectively managing assets.
Among the early apps is an application which lets employees take care of a variety of human resources-related tasks while on the go; a smart-charging app designed to help the team manage charging sequences for buildings and industry sites with electric car-charging stations; and a consumer app designed to let electricity customers more effectively manage usage via their mobile devices. The CIO for the company said apps like these are critical as the company looks to tap into the proliferation of smart technologies (smart meters, analytics-driven data, real-time mobile applications) to achieve a new level of engagement with customers — especially consumers.
The HCL Volt MX platform is enabling the company to deliver apps in weeks instead of months, which means the company can move faster in working with its customers to deliver cleaner, more innovative approaches to using energy, the VP said. He added that the common assumption that a platform approach doesn’t yield the features associated with natively built applications simply doesn’t apply to HCL Volt MX.
Another innovative app that’s come from the team is a redesigned version of a ride-sharing app used by company employees, partners and contractors. The app can be used to book a company-owned electric vehicle for use during the workday or on evenings and weekends, to look up usage history, to pay for vehicle access, and even tap into intelligent parking capabilities. The company’s business manager, who oversees the app, said that eventually he’d like the app to provide visibility into the car charging-station data generated by the company’s smart charging app.
These apps are just the tip of the iceberg. The Deputy Director of Digital team expects the company to greatly increase its lineup of apps in the coming months, powered by the platform’s ability to reuse components. “When a business unit develops an app using the HCL Volt MX platform, another business unit, and then another, is able to use all or part of that same app since we use the platform all around the world.”
Adapting to a Data-Dominated Future
There’s a lot more to the HCL Volt MX platform than simply being able to build mobile and digital applications with reusable components. It’s an open, standards-based, integrated platform that supports the entire application development and operations lifecycles, with unique user interface design and development tools, a powerful mobile backend-as-a-service and backend app development component, as well as embedded testing and analytics.
The chief Digital Officer/CIO paints a picture of a future in which communities become small-scale energy producers, with electricity delivered in a much more decentralized fashion. It’s a vision that would require large-scale utilities to be nimbler and more responsive to a fast-changing business model, with applications providing customers and employees with a window into the data being generated by smart meters and other IoT-connected devices. “Everything is now being equipped with a particular sensor that connects into big data every second, every millisecond, allowing us to predict when a particular component will fail, and as a result, enhancing productivity and efficiency in our power plants,” said the Digital Officer/CIO. “It’s something that is revolutionizing the whole industry from our customers to our industrial power plants.”
With its finger on the pulse of the data flow and the ability to quickly and effectively build powerful apps, the company has established itself as a leader in this evolving marketplace. And going forward, the company looks ahead to taking advantage of the HCL Volt MX platform to help drive innovation in this newly digitized and data-intensive energy industry.
When a business unit develops an app using the Volt MX platform, another business unit, and then another, is able to use all or part of that same app since we use the Volt MX platform all around the world.
About the Company
This company is a leader in advancing the transition to a carbon-neutral North America. Along the way, they are creating jobs, economic opportunities and trusted community and customer partnerships.