Each energy company fits into a broad ecosystem of energy sectors from exploration and production to refineries and convenience stores. Even with all this variation, every energy company sells its services and products to someone. How does the value of this customer relationship get optimized for both sides of the transaction and how can Cisco help?
The Energy Customer Relationship
As with most industries, the energy industry can have a lengthy supply chain, reaching from the oil well or solar farm, all the way to the roadside convenience store or maybe your home. Some fully integrated energy companies own the whole supply chain from the source to the retail experience. Other energy companies only own the production and initial processing components of the supply chain, so their customers are the companies that follow them in the product process.
The experience of today’s energy customer is no longer governed by the physical handshake between two company representatives. It is a much more complex digital relationship that involves integrated transaction flows and marketing or retail channels. Let’s explore three ways that energy companies engage their customers. Then we’ll look at how Cisco technology and services can ensure this experience is optimized for the needs of both sides in the transaction.
Distribution and Fulfillment
For energy companies who are primarily producers or transport companies, the customer interaction is characterized by a physical delivery, plus all the accompanying electronic transaction data. Long term supply agreements are often in place, and the day-to-day interaction is more about coordinating product demand, supply, and all the associated data.
For any energy company that has their name on a petrol pump or a charging station, the customer relationship is very much a retail experience. The primary challenges are very similar to most retailers. How do you get people to pull up to your pump or charger instead of the one across the street? How do you get people into the convenience store for higher margin purchases?
Value Added Services
In all companies, the opportunity is there to re-define the customer relationship by providing related value-added services that fit with the nature of the relationship. Here are a few examples:
- Producers or energy transport companies can offer storage or delayed delivery to accommodate demand fluctuations for wholesale customers
- These same suppliers can package multiple materials and services together in keeping with the customer’s needs
- Energy companies can offer information services that are complementary to their operation – An example of this is a retailer or distribution company communicating demand information back to the producers to adjust their operations; or providing a detailed report of emissions data associated with each product in real time
Today’s data rich supply chain provides many opportunities to leverage information for valuable services to every customer.
The Impact of Cisco Technology
Cisco has a rich history of adding value across the industrial supply chain and in retail environments. Here are some examples of use cases that are valuable when engaging an energy customer.
Distribution and Fulfillment
As product leaves the production environment of an energy company, it gathers in tank farms and battery storage facilities. Where to from here? In many supply chains this is where the distribution systems take over. Cisco has worked with many kinds of customers to achieve highly automated distribution systems. Energy doesn’t come in brown boxes or on pallets, but many of the logistical and order system challenges are similar.
Here are a few examples of how Cisco can help: ·
Energy retail companies experience many of the same challenges and opportunities that other retailers around the world are working through. In some cases, the energy customer is a wholesale relationship and in others, energy companies have physical and online stores connecting directly with the consumer. Cisco works with retailers globally on a wide range of use cases from customer engagement, security, efficient product handling, and many more.
Here are a few references:
Physical and Cyber Security
The increased ways that businesses connect with customers today has come at a price. The more we open any business up to people in physical stores or online using technology, the more attack surface the bad actors can work with. Fortunately, technology also helps with increasing physical and online security. Cisco is at the heart of many retail customer security practices.
Here are a few tangible examples:
Business Process Performance
Visibility into how customers experience your business and how well processes are working can be very valuable for optimizing operations and ultimately guiding future strategic decisions. Cisco has a wide range of visibility tools. Some give you visibility to physical network infrastructure, but the most recent tools, and possibly the most valuable, are application monitoring and business process monitoring tools.
The following links will take you to more information about these latest tools and how retail customers have used them:
The customer relationships of any energy company present a new opportunity to grow value through a great experience and value-added services. Cisco has multiple technology solutions that optimize these customer experiences and services.
Find out more about how Cisco helps energy companies engage with their customers at:
Building Relationships Along the Energy Supply Chain video
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