How to create a clear vision of how technology and business can be combined more effectively, and how technology and IT functions might best support organisation’s goals.
Business technology strategy helps to create a smooth dialogue between technology and business. With the help of interviews, charting of the current situation and an intensive series of workshops the new strategy can be developed effectively.
After creating the business technology strategy, Elenia can manage its actions and set out what will happen over the next 2 to 3 years. With a clear plan, the organisation will find it easy to move forward when its employees know where they are going.
We didn't have to start from scratch, because we were able to adapt Sofigate's existing models to our own needs.
Elenia‘s new business technology strategy will lead to a more strategic future
The electricity distribution company Elenia Oy handles the electricity supply of 430,000 customers in the regions of Kanta and Päijät-Häme, Pirkanmaa, Central Finland and Southern and Northern Ostrobothnia. The company wanted its IT functions and solutions to be more closely integrated with the strategic goals of its business operations. Together with Elenia, Sofigate built a practical business technology strategy, which has had a clear impact on the everyday activities of the company. It has been used to create general guidelines and priorities for development.
More strategic integration of digital solutions with business operations
As a forerunner of electricity distribution services in Finland, Elenia ensures that its customers’ everyday activities run smoothly. As a trailblazer, the company has developed several digital solutions such as a mobile service for monitoring electricity consumption, as well as text message notifications during outages and a real-time map service. While developing its digital services, Elenia is also renewing its 72,000 kilometre power grid with weather-proof underground cables. A total of 75 percent of Elenia’s power grid will comprise underground cabling by 2028.
With the energy sector undergoing continuous change, Elenia is clear about which business operations it should focus on and what its future priorities should be.
”Technology is part of our business, since it is continuously generating new opportunities for us. At the same time, we need to develop new, interesting solutions for our customers. For example, we need to be continuously alert to cyber security issues,” says Jenni Heinisuo, CIO at Elenia.
However, Elenia faced the challenge of creating a clearer vision of how technology and business can be combined more effectively, and how technology and IT functions might best support Elenia’s achievement of its goals.
Business technology strategy tangibly combines business and IT
To create a smooth dialogue between technology and business, Sofigate created a business technology strategy alongside Elenia. Cooperation began with interviews and charting of the current situation in the summer of 2018, covering Elenia’s executive team and staff involved in IT functions.
The initial interviews were followed by an intensive series of workshops. These provided Elenia’s employees with the chance to consider Elenia’s objectives and its steps towards achieving them. On the basis of the workshops, Elenia and Sofigate jointly created a strategy and tangible IT operating model.
Heinisuo is particularly pleased by the strategy’s practical nature and the ease with which actions can be managed on its basis. A clear roadmap, setting out what will happen over the next 2 to 3 years, was created for the strategy.
“It’s easy to comply with the strategy. It’s not just some fine words written on paper, but tangible issues that we are putting into practice,” says Heinisuo.
Elenia is now in the strategy implementation phase. With a clear plan, the organisation will find it easy to move forward when its employees know where they are going.
Elenia chose Sofigate because the company already has a functioning IT administration model and best practices for creating a strategy and operating model.
“We didn’t have to start from scratch with Sofigate. We benefited from being able to adapt their models, which are already up and running, to our own needs. In addition, we could rely on them to provide the required expertise and dynamic project management,” says Heinisuo.
The project owner at Sofigate, Business Design Practice Owner Sanna Suomela, says that cooperation with Elenia was extremely smooth. She believes that the new strategy and operating model have helped to make Elenia’s IT management more professional and the processes more structured.
“Within companies, IT experts tend to be fully occupied and lack sufficient time for new development. Meanwhile, on the business side expectations are growing and more needs to be developed at a faster pace, using the same resources. Change can be achieved by rethinking tasks, systematising processes, clarifying roles and targeting your own resources at core business areas, in addition to efficient prioritisation of work. In this, it is worth benefiting from an external perspective and industry best practices,” Suomela comments.
Sofigate trains IT experts on strategy
Sofigate and Elenia completed the strategy in just a few months, and Elenia is now executing it in practice.
Cooperation between Sofigate and Elenia continues, since Sofigate is currently leading the ‘people next up’ programme within Elenia, which will agilely execute the strategy and new operating model in a series of sprints, while growing individual leadership.
”People are changing things, but if the units do not commit to change and act in a new way, the strategy will not be fulfilled,” says Suomela.
The ‘people next up’ programme has tended to be used as a sparring exercise for executive teams and managers, but in Elenia’s case it was IT experts who engaged in sparring.
”In Elenia, this was a clear cultural transformation, through which experts can openly participate in their own unit’s operational development. A modern management model provides experts with the opportunity to learn new things and play a bigger role in their work. People next up will ensure the continual development of operations and staff,” adds Suomela.
Elenia Oy distributes electricity to 43,000 household, corporate and community customers in approximately one hundred municipalities in the regions of Häme, Pirkanmaa, Central Finland, Southern Ostrobothnia and Northern Ostrobothnia. We ensure the construction, maintenance and operation of our electricity distribution networks in cooperation with external contractors, as well as connecting new customers to the network, measuring their electricity consumption and submitting consumption data to electricity suppliers. We are also using new technology to develop the power grids of the future. Our operations are environmentally friendly and we promote the development of Finland’s electricity markets.