The design and development of energy services, new business models, markets and market mechanisms are currently facing enormous challenges. These challenges arise, in part, from the regulatory and social (e.g., aspired energy transition and given market structures), as well as physical circumstances and constraints (e.g., (non-)storability of electricity, network topologies and losses). This is further complicated to an increasing extent by trends such as growing decentralization as well as the coupling of sectors (electricity, gas, heat and mobility). Companies are driven to adapt their strategy, business models, processes, structure and culture, etc. - in some cases radically - in order to ensure sustainable value creation in the long term. At the same time, however, digitalization offers enormous potential, particularly in the area of the energy industry, to address the challenges better than ever before, in parts transformatively and in parts disruptively:
A central building block of the future energy system is the ability to provide energy supply and demand flexibility. The IT-supported networking of energy providers all the way down to energy consumers forms the foundation for this and enables an intelligent and secure exchange of information. This results in new business models in the area of digital energy business, which numerous new market participants have already discovered for themselves. However, new business models often entail previously unknown (systemic) risks for companies or even entire markets. Therefore, an integrated risk-return analysis, which is based on the methods of finance and information management, is absolutely necessary. Only through early identification and delimitation of business models that are detrimental to the company or the market is it possible to make appropriate adjustments to corporate strategies, markets and regulation in a targeted manner and thereby create suitable incentives for the economically advantageous provision of energy flexibility potential.
Technological change has accelerated in recent years due to numerous new digital technologies. Innovations in grid control, supply marketing, demand forecasting, and schedule optimization, especially in the context of sector-coupled microgrids and virtual power plants, have led to the emergence of new market players. Their success is based on innovative, digital business models that have had a disruptive impact on the energy industry. Other highly innovative technologies in the energy industry include distributed ledger processes, which encompass all blockchain-based mechanisms. Existing examples of the use of such mechanisms are innovative billing systems or even entire trading platforms. For companies, it is essential to use the potential of such disruptive technologies in an economically sensible way in order to enable innovative business models and ensure competitiveness. Accordingly, the management of such disruptive (digital) technologies must be a core activity of companies in the digital energy industry.
Regulatory changes, market transformations, the entry of new market players, competitive changes, changes in user behavior, as well as macropolitical and economic conditions must be monitored continuously when designing and developing (digital) business models, and decisions must be made regarding the adaptation of the company's own strategy. Implementing a new or improved business model requires adjustments to the organizational architecture, consisting of business processes, personnel structures, application systems, data and information management, and infrastructure elements. This organizational transformation is achieved through a portfolio of projects that must be continuously balanced. Strategic IT management and sustainable project portfolio management are among the top aspects in the management of digital transformations and are essential for ensuring ongoing competitiveness.