Digital is the key to the future of the energy sector

Winds of change are blowing at Galp, an increasingly agile and innovative company that has been reinventing itself and paving its way in the energy and digital transition process

The one topic that´s guaranteed to be on an organisation´s daily agenda is digital transition. What used to be a trend is now is an inevitable factor to which companies in the energy industry, wrestling with energy transition, are no strangers.

“Turning Galp into a 'future enterprise' is a challenge”, says Nuno Pedras, Global Chief Information and Digital Officer (CIDO) at Galp and the 14th guest of the Future Enterprise Show programme, an initiative created by IDC Portugal and Nova IMS in partnership with Nexllence, the purpose of which is to share best practices in connection with digital transition. In a conversation with Fernando Bação, a senior professor at the Nova University of Lisbon Nova Information Management School, and Gabriel Coimbra, Group vice-president & country manager at IDC, the Galp manager, a graduate in information management, explains that the energy industry is undergoing a major transformation and, as such, needs strong support in the form of technology, which implies new ways of viewing business and working.

As far as Nuno Pedras is concerned, digital transition consists of three fundamental pillars related to the company's culture and internal mechanisms, which include processes, people and digital literacy; to both technology itself and new business. “These three pillars need to be well thought out when a company intends to begin implementing the digital transition process, especially in a traditionally conservative industry such as energy”, he argues, while highlighting the fact that the scope of the process needs to include mandatory cultural changes and thorough planning, in addition to the optimisation of processes and resources. Besides these internal changes, this expert in the field points out that openness to the outside is equally essential and quotes the example of Galp, whose innovation department works in close collaboration with several Portuguese and international incubators in the energy sector and with universities, being involved in programmes and projects with Portuguese and foreign institutes of higher education.


The sector is currently dealing with an increasingly demanding and competitive market. In addition to thinking about change in order to reduce its carbon footprint through the implementation of “green” energy solutions designed to satisfy the needs of society as a whole and to meet the planet's decarbonisation goals in the coming decades, companies must continue to focus on results. “There are real concerns that this industry has to change, but transition has to be consistent with requirements and capable of meeting the needs of both the market and the company itself in order to guarantee profitability”, stresses the CIDO. In this regard, many companies are already outlining plans to become ‘data-driven’, or in other words, to invest in a model in which data analysis is or will be at the heart of correct decision-making. According to Nuno, thinking and basing decisions on data has a huge impact on organisations, however the most strategic decisions for each business need to be identified and people need to be trained for this purpose. Galp has also realised that this is the path to be taken and a significant amount of work is already being carried out, more specifically the creation of mathematical models. “However, this is a long journey, an extraordinarily complex process that demands time, maturity, adaptability and talent”, he adds.

Nuno Pedras is in no doubt that the role of technology is increasingly prevalent in the business world: “Everyone is now aware that organisations face a difficult future if there is no associated technology. The role and importance of technology is so great in every sector that it has become seductive. Every single industry needs to reinvent itself”.