Formed just 2 years ago by the separation from E.ON. Uniper today has some 12,000 employees. From its headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany, Uniper runs four main business lines: power generation (including hydroelectric, gas, coal and nuclear); energy sales and trading; energy storage; and energy services.

CIO Damian Bunyan has been with Uniper since its formation and was previously an IT executive with E.ON.

 

Q: What’s Uniper’s digital strategy, and how important is digital to the company’s overall mission?

A: In a European context where you’re trying to become more energy-efficient and more environmentally friendly, a number of the things that drive my business’s profitability today will simply not exist in the future. So thinking about what business we’re in, what model is it, and which customers we want to serve and how — all that is mission-critical.

So as CIO I’m asking, what can I do via digitalization to create a business for the future? To answer, we’re going through a process right now of defining our digital strategy. We call it Digital 2025 because 2025 is close enough in time to be real, but also far enough out to make you think differently.

 

Q: With that definition still in the works, what are your more immediate priorities?

A: IT basics. While lots of people are thinking about what they could do with blockchain, machine learning, analytics, algorithms, etc., if your basic IT isn’t set up well, you’re always going to have problems.

 

While lots of people are thinking about what they could do with blockchain, machine learning, analytics, algorithms, etc., if your basic IT isn’t set up well, you’re always going to have problems.

 

So that’s forcing me as CIO to invest quite a lot in the basics. Although a number of those things don’t necessarily have a business case, I still have to do them, because it creates a stable platform on which to build all of these digital offerings.

So I’m spending a lot of my time moving to the cloud, exiting data centers, implementing software-defined networks, getting identity management right, and introducing a brand-new Windows 10 working environment. A lot of my competitors haven’t been doing those kinds of things because they couldn’t justify the business case.

Read the full Q&A to learn how Uniper’s Digital 2025 initiative is driving new value and innovation in the energy industry.