Earlier this month our CEO Nic Kennedy and I spent a week at Dreamforce 2023 in San Francisco. We were there to launch our multi-party billing solution, sharing how it solves the challenge of calculating broker commissions in a joint demo with the Salesforce Energy and Utilities team.
Of course, we also got to hear the insights of some inspiring energy and technology leaders about how we can collectively accelerate the energy transition, and do so responsibly. There’s nothing quite like attending an enormous global tech event to inject your thinking with fresh perspective and energy (pardon the pun!).
The themes we’ve been seeing in our business and through conversations with energy retailers globally are very much aligned to the conversations we had and presentations we saw at Dreamforce. Here’s a summary of our key takeaways:
The days of big IT projects are behind us
It wasn’t actually that long ago that big, monolithic IT systems were being purchased by businesses seeking to optimise and streamline their technology stacks. And these implementations were behemoths - they placed enormous strain on internal resources and budgets and usually left the company exposed due to having a single vendor responsible for an end-to-end solution. As we well know, there is huge risk involved in having a singular point of entry for an entire tech stack and quite frankly, it’s completely unnecessary.
The dialogue at Dreamforce was about honing in on specific, well-defined business problems and deploying smaller technology solutions to address them. Modern technology is built to integrate, enabling tech ecosystems to use best-of-breed vendors and significantly minimise implementation risk. Time, cost, quality - every box ticked!
Partnering for speed, flexibility, and efficiency
Technology leaders are prioritising speed, flexibility, and efficiency to drive the energy transition forward, and working in a partnership model to achieve this is rapidly gaining favour. The client company, technology and field partners, and the individuals within them all have unique roles to play in operationalising the energy economy:
Company: Have the strategy and vision to mobilise what the future looks like, and the willingness to invest for long-term return.
Partners: Bring domain expertise to the table, and product vision in their area of specialism. Must work well with others.
People: Make things happen! Using their individual knowledge and capability and collaborative behaviours to get the job done.
Assets: The hardware and infrastructure we need to drive change (think solar, battery, cloud) is available. How we collectively leverage it to push for a decarbonised world is up to us as organisations and individuals (see the points above!).
There is no silver bullet solution to achieving the world’s decarbonisation targets. It is arguably the greatest challenge the world has ever faced. But, if we start by prioritising speed, flexibility, efficiency and partnership we will have a fighting chance of success.
Data + AI + CRM + Trust (the Dreamforce theme)
Overarching the entire event was a focus on how we responsibly use the technology that is now available to us. We have more data and smarter ways of using it than ever before, and 'with great power comes great responsibility' as Voltaire (and more recently Spiderman) said. With tools like AI accelerating in uptake and sophistication, how we choose to use them - for good or evil to labour the superhero theme - is something every one of us needs to be concerned with.
On screens around the venue were these words from Salesforce founder Marc Benioff: “The power of business as the greatest platform for change”. In the energy sector, data and AI could be the great accelerators for decarbonisation, but they could also undo us as a society given how ubiquitous our relationship with energy is. How this plays out sits with us as energy industry leaders.
There was a lot to distil for the energy sector at Dreamforce 2023, but if you look at the topline insights it all comes down to collaboration - how will we work together, using technology, to accelerate change. Revolutionising how the world produces, consumes, stores, and moves energy cannot be achieved by a single organisation. It will take vision and execution that is only possible when multiple parties with complementary strengths come together.
Flux plays a vital role in ensuring energy companies can bring smart, clean energy products to market. Our next generation, purpose built energy billing software gives energy companies the agility and scalability to meet the demands of the new energy economy, their customers, their channels and their stakeholders.
If you’d like to hear more about Flux’s part in transforming the energy sector, reach out to our team for a chat.