Why transitioning to an integrated IT infrastructure is the way forward for energy companies in French-speaking Africa
The Energy industry faces a number of challenges in the midst of changing technologies and a competitive global marketplace. Players in French-speaking Africa in particular must deal with a unique set of challenges that can drive away investment if they are not overcome. With soaring energy prices worldwide and growing customer demand, utility companies can no longer afford to rely on outdated ICT infrastructures.
Franco-African energy companies are hamstrung by one problem more than any other; that of supply chain visibility. This is the practice of capturing and storing data, and responding to changes in environments using this data. To simplify, supply chain visibility is the ability organisations have to know what is happening in all aspects of their organisation and quickly responding to changing needs and challenges.
Poor supply chain visibility means companies suffer from disorganisation, inflexibility, unreliable customer services, and general inefficiency. This is management of assets leads to unnecessary losses in revenue and high operational costs.
How then can African energy companies improve their visibility to compete in a diversified market? The solution lies in changing their approach to data: improving access and adopting advanced tech data management and analytical tools. This is no easy task as it often requires a complete infrastructure change from a slow, inefficient vertical communications system to one based on decentralisation, shared information, and end-to-end business procedures.
Fortunately, there are service providers that can simplify this transition. Trusted global names such as SAP understand industry-specific and regional challenges companies face and know exactly how to create and implement a roadmap to success based on proven solutions and innovative technologies.
Utility-specific data management solutions such as these can empower energy companies to operate efficiently and see where and when energy discrepancies occur. Data analytics allows for prediction and diagnostics of issues, leading to increased to increased equipment health and the prevention and real-time handling of unplanned catastrophes.
Data management solutions not only provide a means of gathering large amounts of information but the means of understanding that information.
Meter readings for example become much easier to collect and to analyse for usable insights into how that energy is being used. Companies are better
equipped to handle their customer needs and, with real-time decision-making solutions at their fingertips, able to respond to those needs.
All of this ultimately leads to reduced costs once the system is in place. With an optimised supply chain, energy procurement costs logically decrease, and improved grid operations mean that maintenance costs are reduced. Processing is quicker and decision turnaround time is much shorter.
Energy companies in Africa cannot afford to be left behind. A bright future lies ahead of those that choose to invest in the right data management infrastructure in place. Utilities that are functioning at optimum standards will naturally attract investors and ensure their place at the forefront of the African energy market for decades to come.