Engie targets carbon neutrality with data governance strategy
Energy and utilities
Engie is a leading European business that is pioneering energy generation and distribution. Engie is using Collibra as part of its strategy to drive business change and achieve its goal of carbon neutrality for both customers and its own operations through quality, use and value of data.
Data does not like silos
“Data does not like silos, it wants to mix with other bits of information and that is when data starts to create value,” said Thierry Grima, Group Chief Analytics Officer at Engie. “At Engie, data about energy generation and distribution, pricing, weather, customers, and a whole lot more is critical to drive efficient renewable energy production. But to do that, your data has to speak the same language and you need a framework to access, share and use data effectively.”
Engie, a €60 billion French business operating across five continents and 70 countries, invested in Collibra as part of a business-wide program to make data central to renewable energy delivery. The company’s prime purpose is to accelerate the transition towards a carbon-neutral world, through reduced energy consumption and more environmentally-friendly solutions, reconciling economic performance with a positive impact on people and the planet. Its services include energy supply, market access and risk management, renewable energy services and power asset management.
Climate crisis, war in Europe and COVID
To refocus the business towards its main priorities, Engie undertook a major business transformation changing from 25 country/regional operations to four enterprise-wide divisions. These are renewable energy, energy solutions, networks, and thermal production and energy supply. The company knew that data would be critical to accelerating change. “The climate crisis, in particular, is forcing everyone to change from traditional to renewable energy production and consumption. Gone are the days when you had 10 or 20 years to change. Events like the war in Ukraine and COVID happened in the last 18 months, requiring us to be more agile and resilient. The only way to do that is with data. To survive in today’s super-complex environment, you need to capture and use data in real-time,” stated Mr. Grima.
Data, such as information on weather, is critical to advancing renewable energy. Not only does weather data influence production – like wind power generation – it also influences consumption since too cold or too hot weather means more energy needed. “The more you know about the weather, the easier it is to model energy consumption and production,” said Mr. Grima.
Also, IoT data from sensors across the company’s infrastructure including pipelines, wind turbines and solar farms, improves monitoring, measurement and maintenance management.
Engie has consolidated weather, IoT and a host of other data sources into a newly created Common Data Hub. This is an AWS-based data lake that Engie business units use to collect, share and analyze data.
Connecting data amongst separate business divisions
Previously, data was largely confined to separate and autonomous business divisions where it was often analyzed using spreadsheets. Sharing data and using it to influence strategic decision-making was difficult. Collibra was brought in and integrated with the Common Data Hub as a tool to help Engie use data more effectively to improve operational excellence.
“Collibra is one of the best data governance solutions on the market. If you want to transform your organization and how it operates, you need to focus on business issues. The value for Engie and what sets Collibra apart from other solutions is its connection between business and technical, but always with a business orientation,” commented Thierry Grima.
Engie uses three modules of the Collibra Data Intelligence Cloud platform: Data Catalog, Data Governance and Data Lineage. In addition, Collibra integrates with Engie’s SAP ERP solution, while integration with their Salesforce is planned for the future. Engie worked with Collibra professional services and Collibra partner Lamarck Group to help plan and implement deployment.
At a strategic group level, Collibra aims at supporting the so-called Global Performance Cockpit that provides KPIs to the CEO, the Group executive committee and levels below covering financial and operational information. Collibra is actively used on 25 other projects at local level. For example, Engie’s Global Energy Management unit that manages energy trading uses Collibra to support trading prices and timing.
Driving better data governance
Although Engie is still rolling out Collibra across the organization, Mr. Grima anticipates it will deliver significant benefits for the business. “From our early use of Collibra, it is clear it is going to save time and money by how it improves the way we share data with everyone across the business. Because Collibra helps standardize data language, it helps to deliver reliable, trusted answers quickly. In this way, Collibra enables the company to create value because we can do more with less effort”, explained Mr. Grima.
In the past, most data was managed using spreadsheets, but this was slow, labor-intensive, costly and not always reliable. “We see Collibra as part of the foundation of a new philosophy that is bringing Engie to another level of data governance. It will help the business save money, people time and the company's ability to be more agile because we are gaining far better control of our data – even if the journey is still long, we now have started”, added Thierry Grima.
Engie sees Collibra as key to improving data control. “Collibra is one of those tools that you need to drive better data governance,” shared Grima. “It complements our business reorganization and our new business-wide approach to data management. Without an application like Collibra I think we would struggle to use data effectively.”
Mr. Grima underlined why data governance is so important to achieving Engie’s ambition of accelerating the transition towards a carbon-neutral world. “At Engie, we always focus on data value. But first you need to access, gather and ensure data quality to create models that build trust and lead to valuable outcomes. However, data governance is often discarded because it is time consuming, requires effort and is seen as less sexy than a data use case. Data governance should be pragmatic and focus on critical priorities. Addressing data governance enables value from data."