How can we innovate and change the future in energy and resources?

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Peter Van Den Berg,  Consulting Partner for Energy and Resources, Australia and New Zealand, answers key questions senior leaders are asking about how to innovate the future.

Posted: May 2020

Energy and resources are essential industries that keep our entire economy ticking. As part of Tata Consultancy Services’ series The Big Questions, Peter Van Den Berg, TCS Energy, Mining and Resources, Australia and New Zealand consulting partner, responds to key issues CxOs want to know about to see through today’s circumstances.

The strategic horizon for energy and resources companies has always been driven by long-term dynamics, with technology and transformation increasingly at its core. While our current environment is dominating the current focus of CxOs, the key question is: what innovation should continue and in some instances be accelerated?

Proposition, people and partners

It’s a good time to refine your approach to innovation and that comes down to these essential elements.

Firstly, every organisation should already have addressed what today’s environment means to them and how it impacts their innovation portfolio. Now is the time to dig deeper.  Does innovation demonstrate commitment to your larger purpose? Pitch propositions against each other till you uncover those that, with the fight for limited resources, go the heart of your strategy and then marshal all your resourcefulness to find ways to continue investing. Use this stress-test to increase your focus and resolve from the present, back to where you are going and why.

Challenge fuels innovation - and in the sector, Australia and New Zealand are world leaders when it comes to innovating through the use of new technology. Automation, remote operations, real-time monitoring and active asset intelligence are areas we’ve excelled and should continue to take a long view on innovation. 

Secondly, when it comes to people, digital should become integral to your strategy, creating connection across your business and operations, to supply partners and customer demand. Engaging your people and improving their ability to adopt digital ways of working is critical to driving innovation and putting strategy into action.

Thirdly, innovation is a team sport. Your virtual world is full of moving and overlapping parts, which is why forging collaborative partnerships and building your ecosystem is critical.  By pooling resources together to drive transformation, you can unlock creativity and value across your entire ecosystem.

Q: How can big data help us innovate for the future?

Harvesting and analysing data is the lifeblood to improving productivity and efficiency. Internet of Things (IoT) can help enhance your operational insight performance management. This discipline is also a highly visible source to drive your zero-harm commitments.  Deeper insight and asset connectivity will allow you to take a system-wide approach to business, helping you to identify ways to enhance integration across your value chains, ultimately dynamically linking supply to demand.

Out together - data analysis, artificial intelligence and automation - will help you get the most out of your capital and ecosystems. 

Q: How can we empower our people to be more productive?

It’s essential to up the ante on training and use initiatives to encourage skills development. This will boost your team’s understanding of how digital can enhance connectivity and empower distributed workforces more effectively. Taking a ‘digital-first’ approach will enable your organisation to become more flexible, inclusive and diversified and gain the benefit of new people with different skill sets.

Q: How can we build more effective partnerships across our ecosystem?

Use the challenge to excite your ecosystem. Aspiration will attract partners to help discover and test possibilities to your biggest problems. Collaborating early, for example with design thinking and ecosystem strategy and rapid prototyping will help your organisation stretch current mindset to become alert, agile and adaptive. Innovation partners should share both risk, and reward. Partners similarly motivated will deploy the necessary resources, grow your culture and support the tough choices that deliver short-term outcomes while innovating for the future.

Embracing ecosystems helps offset evolving risks inherent in innovation and builds capability to stay responsive and build commitment essential to turn ideas into outcome.

McKinsey and TCS global survey results shows the importance of growing your ecosystem as below:

▪ Digital ecosystems and their platforms power 7 of the world’s 12 largest companies
▪ Digital ecosystems will account for $60+ trillion in revenue by 2025, representing 30%+ of global corporate revenue
▪ As demand for digital-related skills grows, more and more organisations will tap into ecosystems to augment their talent base
▪ The shift has begun – 50%+ of surveyed companied are already partnering with multiple companies to create new products and services.

Q: What’s different about TCS’s approach?

Energy and resources companies should take a long view and continue to develop innovation as it is one of the clearest demonstrations of commitment to the future. TCS has experts with specialised knowledge and experience in energy and mining who understand the industry and complexities of keeping operations running and powering the people behind them. They understand technology, innovation and importance of partnership to support your organisation deliver on its strategy and build smarter, faster, lighter enterprise.