The long-anticipated transition from fossil fuels to a clean-energy mix is finally picking up pace. Whether for commercial reasons or in response to the European Green Deal – or both – oil and gas companies originating in Europe are recognising an inescapable truth: the future is green. They have no choice but to change the balance of fuels they sell, restructure their business and invest in innovative growth strategies.
The sector is under no illusion that this is an extremely tall order. And if energy companies – as many traditional oil and gas companies now brand themselves – want to be recognised for doing more than just scrabbling for market share in a highly unpredictable market, they must also find the energy (pun intended) to choose their future business partners wisely.
What comes with a more electric sentric future?
Any energy company striving to be a key player in this new era will need to look beyond potential synergies with existing transport-adjacent products and services. They must develop yet-to-be-conceived strategies that will truly differentiate them. And they need the best support systems in place to make that happen.
To take a very real example, electrification is progressing more rapidly than most of us expected. More importantly, none of us knows what a more electricity-centric future holds. This poses significant challenges for energy companies, which must ask themselves some hard-hitting questions. How can they retain the increasing number of customers who no longer have petrol cars to fill up? What should the next generation of service stations look like? What new technologies should energy companies invest in to stay ahead of the competition?
Rita Howlin is a senior business consultant for card solutions at CGI, a global IT and business consulting services firm with over 30 years’ experience in the fuel retail sector. To tackle these complex issues, she believes energy companies “must look to new partnerships with innovators who can introduce them to new ideas that go beyond their own vision.
Many energy companies are already investing in EV charging networks across Europe; but they still need to innovate and test potential solutions at an unprecedented pace if they are to continue retaining and attracting new customers.
Whichever solutions the emerging brand of energy companies choose to pursue, success in this rapidly changing market will require exceptional agility. As Howlin explains:
“Given the uncertain future, it is critical that energy companies have the capacity to develop new services at pace, to scale, and without being limited in scope.” In short, flexibility will be the order of the day – also when it comes to the company’s chosen payment solution.
CGI senior consultant Vidar Bergseth explains how the modular and adaptable, cloud-based CGI PayPartner360 retail payment solution can deliver this much-needed flexibility:
“Energy companies will need a flexible solution that can accommodate both payment and loyalty and can enable improved customer engagement to increase customer retention. PayPartner360 delivers that. It also captures essential data for understanding customer behaviour and spending patterns, such as where and when customers charge their cars, what vehicles they drive, which toll roads they use, etc.”
Enable real customer engagement and take advantage of the data
In the rapidly changing energy market, having real-time access to such valuable information and sophisticated analytics capabilities can mean increased loyalty and customer engagement. As can the ability to share your library of APIs with trusted partners, so they can swiftly build innovative solutions for you. “PayPartner360’s new cloud integration platform will provide an attractive developer experience to allow for this too,” says Howlin.
Indeed, PayPartner360 offers a whole host of capabilities to help energy companies navigate a turbulent future: “We already support the concepts of mobility and roaming. PayPartner360 can accommodate new products, protocols and bundling. It enables clients to present their compelling new offers in ways that recognise customers’ increasing use of different energy sources, and to combine those offers into packages that provide value to specific target groups. This empowers clients to be flexible in the marketplace, to sell alternative fuels, to integrate with innovative technologies and to test new ideas on the fly,” explains Howlin.
Now, more than ever, energy companies need to recognise the value of such capabilities and exploit their online presence more broadly and holistically. If they choose to take full advantage of solutions like PayPartner360 to help them maximise the returns on their data and enable real customer engagement, they will not only shift more of their focus to developing their business, they can also incorporate these partners into a wider ecosystem that delivers exceptional responsiveness and a better customer experience.
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CGI PayPartner360 - Next level payment solutions and services
CGI has been delivering payment solutions and services for over 30 years. Working with major retailers, our products have been continually enhanced and refined to meet the requirements of a demanding market; the need to maintain competitiveness, minimise fraud, reduce costs and increase market share and revenues.
CGI deliver Payment Services to both the Retail Finance and Retail Downstream sectors, offering solutions for credit, debit, pre-paid, and loyalty cards on a Software as a Service basis. In recent times, CGI have undertaken a simplification and modernization program for our consumer payment services SaaS solution that now deploys a single integrated Issuing and Acceptance platform, rebranded as CGI PayPartner360.