Four key considerations for retailers choosing a new software provider

We all know how complex operating in energy markets can be, both for new entrants and for established players looking to remain competitive. There’s huge pressure to be constantly delivering shareholder value, and leadership teams are always looking at ways to improve the performance of their business.

As software sits at the foundation of every retail company, it is no wonder that executives consistently look to system overhauls and implementations to drive performance. However, with Australia’s energy sector facing unprecedented changes, picturing exactly what success looks like can be hard to pin down. 

As a result, at Flux, we often see panicked retailers making software decisions without identifying what it is they truly need - both from the technology itself, as well as from the provider of that technology. 

Energy businesses may be rushing to keep pace with the changes, but first they need to take time to understand how to identify and deliver genuine value. With software being a key driver of this value, it is therefore vital to work with technology providers who have a genuine commitment to the delivery of shared value through partnership.

Here’s four things we think retailers should be considering when evaluating possible partners: 

1: Know what outcomes matter most

Knowing what a project’s success looks like may seem like an obvious step when embarking on something new, but we find not everyone is going into these activities with a clear idea of what outcomes they’re looking for. Large businesses can be scattered with multiple views of success, while small companies can have lofty goals but aren’t resourced to achieve them all.  

Is operational efficiency your key objective? Is it being first to market with new energy offerings? Or is it achieving decarbonisation objectives? You can see how by having multiple views you’re constantly competing against yourself.

If your goals are spread too wide, you end up compromising on key focus areas in order to deliver on others. Find the things that really matter and focus on them. In doing so, evaluation of software partners becomes a much simpler process, because they in turn should be able to succinctly and convincingly communicate their own priorities. You should be looking to work with a partner who can demonstrate strategic alignment with your business.

2: Pick people driven by the same values as you

At Flux we have three core values of connection, impact and greatness that drive the way we work with one another, our clients and the development decisions we make. We’re also careful to look for these values in the businesses we partner with. 

We’re not taking on everyone - we have turned down potential clients. We believe in something more than just our topline number, and the relationships that support our partnerships are key, so we need to be aligned. 

While Flux has goals to grow as a company, we don’t intend to prioritise that over the value we can add to our clients’ business, so we partner with few, tightly aligned customers to ensure we can deliver on our promises, every time. 

3: Go all in

Energy businesses can choose to partner with a software-as-a-service provider on a purely transactional basis, or one that pursues a truly collaborative style of working. With the energy sector becoming increasingly dynamic, having a partner that is in constant communication and responsive to change can drive long-term value for everyone involved.

In this changing landscape, engaging a SaaS provider to perform one specific function may end up costing more time and effort in the long-run. If you choose to go strictly with SaaS, which is usually chosen for cost, you are limited in the access to the company that runs it. You're sacrificing partnership potential for cost saving.

The combination of providing an entire energy platform, plus a high-touch model of communication and integration, means new offerings can be stood up far more quickly as inevitable market changes occur.

Value comes from having a single provider that you can trust with the core operations of your energy business, and a modern, seamlessly integrated network of specialists to provide your bespoke needs. 

4: Look for the experts

You’re making an enormous business decision when you’re choosing a supplier, why would you choose someone who’s never done what you’re wanting to do before? Our focus on tighter markets and successful partnerships have allowed us to develop in-depth knowledge of the markets we operate in - expertise which of course breeds success. 

We’re here to partner and advise, but we’re also in the trenches with you. We operate in this way because we know it works. Collaboration helps our clients be successful, which in turn helps us be successful. It’s the relationship that really makes things work. 

With Flux, you get a level of advisory and industry expertise that you might not get with other companies, including dedicated teams of product and market specialists who know the Australian market inside out. 

The new ways of selling energy will be reliant on working with partners who understand the technicalities of the industry and already have experience building and launching new products in-market.

Where to start?

Our Australian team is on the ground every day chatting with energy companies from well established gentailers right through to innovative new startups. We understand deeply the problems these companies are facing and it’s critical we stay close to these in order to build sustainable, future-proofed solutions. 

If you’re wanting to learn more about how one of our specialists or our software could help your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!