[INTERVIEW] Get Your Boardroom Onside And Your Mobility Journey Is 50% Complete

Tim Haïdar

In this exclusive interview, we speak with Eduardo Lora-Tamayo, Project Manager IT at Spanish-based muti-utility Gas Natural Fenosa about the "Hermes" program he devised and rolled out, allowing frontline staff to use real-time information to make robust business decisions and save the company money.

TH Tim Haidar

ET Eduardo Lora Tamayo

TH Hello and welcome; this is Tim Haidar and today I am at the Oil and Gas Mobility Summit in the Kensington Close Hotel in London, UK. I’d just like our speaker to introduce himself, tell us a little bit about his role, and a little bit about the organisation he works for.

ET Hello, I am Eduardo Lora Tamayo; I work for gasNatural Fenosa, as an IT project manager. My role basically in this organisation is to meet the business requirements towards IT solutions, so I am the sponsor of the projects and I cover the requirements and build up projects for the business. I am engaged with a fantastic project, which is mobilising the workforce in the IT solutions area.

TH Tell us a little bit about gasNatural, and what you guys do, and exactly what kind of workforce you are looking at as well, and the stretch that the company has in peninsular Spain?

ET GasNatural Fenosa is a multi-utility, which means it’s a gas and electricity company based in Spain and has a presence in more than 25 countries around the world. It has more than 20 million customers around the world and it has many different business lines, from trading to energy generation, electricity, gas, transport distribution, and also marketing different solutions. It also even has fibre deployment. I’m working specifically for distribution and we are aiming to mobilise several business processes which traditionally were on paper which gasNatural Fenosa had no control of. So we find that mobility is a very interesting tool to reduce cost and to put control in the hands of gasNatural Fenosa staff.

TH Tell us about the presentation you gave today, and what it encompassed.

ET Yes, it was about the product we are launching; it’s about the new mobility platform we have developed in gasNatural Fenosa. It’s called Hermes and is built by mixing different small pieces of technology that are available in the market. This new platform is for gas distribution mainly, it covers three processes: connections, operations in premises, and inspections. The future is to add more processes and spread that solution all over the world. So the main point of my presentation at this conference is to show the solution, speak about it with the intention of sharing ideas and how this new solution could evolve in the future.

TH With regards to the solution which you’re rolling out, what have been the challenges that you’ve had to face?

ET The main challenge is to control all the deployments around the country. This is not our technology but it is very hard to control a lot of people spread all our the territories, that is one of the main issues of mobility in general as well as this project. It is very hard to reach all those people in the field, it is very hard to get messages to all of those people, and having them aligned is the key factor to success. So, at the very moment that you’ve got the business board of directors with you and they believe in your project, you have 50 per cent of the job done. The other thing is just to make sure that the technology works fine.

TH You’ve made two good points that we’ve seen throughout the conference, I think, any technology project is going to necessitate they buy-in of those people who are at the top of the company, they have to be 100 per cent behind the project, or like you said, 50 per cent is already missing. The other part is behavioural change, cultural change, of people; which one of those two would you say is the most difficult to have?

ET The main thing is behaviour; the people that were used to working in the previous manner, you are providing a new technology and you change things, and you have a resistance for that change. So that is the big issue. To show that you have to sell that technology to people, that they see for themselves that it is good enough to be used.

If you want to impose that, to force that solution, then you won’t succeed, so you have to find a way to show that that solution is much better for them than anything they were used to before.

My impression, also, of listening to the presentations that have been at this conference is that when you’re trying to implement a new technology which is going to radically change the way that people do things, you are facing a demographic challenge because the older you get the more resistant you are to change. Have you found that?

ET Amazingly not; we thought that at the beginning of the project but as long as we have been running pilot schemes and rolling out we have seen that the people are used to mobility in their lives. Everyone has a smartphone, everybody has access to the new technologies, so when we come with a new device you find that most of them, more or less, are used to it.

You give them a device and a way to do things that are very repetitive, so that also helps the adoption of that new solution. Something that we thought at the beginning was going to be a barrier, but we have found is not. If you can sell that this solution is good for them, you can avoid paper, you can give new tools that help them to work.

TH How have you enjoyed the conference since you’ve been here, and what are you going to take back to gasNatural Fenosa?

ET New ideas, I was looking for new ideas and implementations of mobility in many similar scenarios to see how we could improve Hermes, the platform we have now. I have seen many examples; I have seen how many companies face the mobility issue so I bring back to my country what I thought I was going to, ideas.

TH Perfect; you can’t really ask for much more than that! Many thanks for your time.

ET Thank you very much.