“Digitization is not just the use of technology”

How do you get from an idea to a customized product as quickly as possible? Carsten Klingels, Head of Digital IT at E.ON Business Services, will share his experiences at solutions.hamburg on September 6 in the Driving Digital Transformation track. We talked to the digitization expert in advance.

mgm live: Carsten, you are responsible for digital IT at E.ON. How do you assess the current situation in your industry against the backdrop of digital transformation?

Carsten Klingels: The energy sector is currently experiencing dramatic change. As a consequence of the energy turnaround and the digital transformation, a 140-year-old business model – the supply of electricity and gas to customers – is faltering. Classical supply is no longer enough to survive on the market since the boundaries between consumers and producers are blurred. Asset-based business is moving towards data-driven business. New players enter the market and the expectations of customers are more demanding. The challenges, but also the opportunities, are enormous. As a consequence, the entire business model and the business processes designed for it must be adapted.

mgm live: How do you address these challenges at E.ON?

We are consistently focusing on developing new sustainable energy solutions in which the customer is at the center of all our actions.

Carsten Klingels: We are consistently focusing on developing new sustainable energy solutions in which the customer is at the center of all our actions. It is all about creating value for the customers and bringing solutions to the market as quickly as possible. This requires different structures, an agile mindset and a different culture than in the traditional business. The topic of product development is completely new, for example. There used to be no such thing in the industry. For us as digital IT, the challenge is to anchor these new ways of thinking within the Group and to scale them – not just on the IT side, but in close cooperation with the business.

mgm live: So digitization moves the business closer to the customer?

Carsten Klingels: Yes that’s right. But here we also have to ask ourselves the question: What does digitization really mean? I am convinced that it is not just the use of technology. We do not need more IT or more applications. In order to generate digital business, we need to use existing technologies and existing information better in the interest of our customers, create new interactions, and show added value in new business models. For this, one needs the right experts, the “War of Talent” is being waged. Digital change requires a huge rethink, a cultural change in skills and thinking models. Within IT, we have built up a team that is familiar with digital business models and well versed in the customer interface and state of the art technologies.

mgm live: In your presentation at solutions.hamburg, you will also be talking about the “Digital Delivery Network” built for E.ON. What is behind it?

The focus was on the question: How do I get from an idea to a product for the customer as quickly as possible?

Carsten Klingels: With the Delivery Network, we have created new structures to drive the transformation of the Group. The focus was on the question: How do I get from an idea to a product for the customer as quickly as possible? The Delivery Network provides ideal conditions – for example by enabling projects to start much faster. With the provision of our partner and expert network, as well as a digital platform, digital reference architecture and a set of methodologies, a lot of work and administration is taken off the hands of product managers.  They can fully concentrate on the delivery. We have interpreted approaches such as agility, design thinking and kanban for us and anchored them in the processes of the delivery network. As a result we are well positioned to implement and bring small ideas that create value for our customers to market quickly and efficiently.

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