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INSIGHTS 2016

GARETH O’REILLY ZONE PRESIDENT, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND

What do you see as the two or three biggest growth opportunities for your customers in 2016?

What are your customers demanding of you more today than five years ago, and how will you meet these requirements in 2016?

Addressing productivity through innovation. Australia is entering a new era where productivity will be a challenge — the government’s new reform summit highlights that now more than ever it is imperative that we bring innovation to the forefront of industry. Increasing economic productivity is a key element of government policy to offset some of the challenges faced by the Australian economy going forward — energy can and should form a key element of productivity improvement. We are optimistic that we can help our customers increase their productivity through innovation. By applying smart technologies like operational intelligence, we are confident we can deliver genuine benefits to industries, cities and homes.

Our customers are looking to work with organisations that can offer a value-added, collaborative business partnership. It’s no longer just about how great your offer or service is; it’s about how can we work together to tackle challenges that are external to both of us. That may mean collaborating in areas such as logistics and supply chain or marketing and social media. It’s all the areas outside of a transaction where a true business partnership is built.

What do you feel are the three most important things your customers are looking for in a supplier? Innovation, customer centricity and digitisation. Our customers are constantly looking for competitive advantage, efficiency gains and productivity advantages through innovation. Our ability to work with our customers to solve their business challenges with new and innovative thinking is at the heart of what we strive to achieve. Being a customer-centric organisation is now something all customers expect. We are now in the age of the customer. It’s a culture and it needs to expand to every facet of an organisation; no longer do your customers only interact with your sales team and call centres. Thinking digital across our service and product offers and our total customer experience journey is increasingly important. Customers are looking for real solutions that are simple and intuitive to use.

What emerging trends or developing technologies may influence or change the way your industry sector will do business in 2016? Urbanisation, industrialisation and digitisation. The growth of our cities and technology is driving huge changes in the way energy is being created, distributed and consumed. However, this change is accelerating rapidly, the impact of which will manifest in areas such as: • cybersecurity threats and infrastructure stability; • renewable energy and the development of safe battery storage technology, as well as energy distribution; • changes to the built environment and safe and reliable localised energy solutions; and • smart technology solutions to managing infrastructure to improve energy productivity. The opportunity for Australia is to get ahead of these megatrends.

There are now a number of new and emerging technologies in the market to assist with overall business efficiencies, such as cloud computing and Industry 4.0; however, the uptake is slow. What are your thoughts as to the reasons behind this? There’s a huge opportunity for Australia with regards to the take-up and development of new technologies, and where there’s a competitive gain with an end-user outcome, the market will move, and fast! Productivity challenges for organisations in Australia will certainly drive the need to shift the speed of emerging technology uptake in Australia. In many of our key sectors we are already helping our customers achieve the benefits of opportunities, such as asset utilisation, increased employee productivity, reduced waste and improved process efficiency. The market conditions will drive the demand.

Gareth O’Reilly is the Zone President for Schneider Electric, Australia & New Zealand. Prior to joining Schneider Electric, Gareth enjoyed roles with Alcatel, Invensys and Power-One in the telecommunications, renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors. He has lived in Singapore, Hong Kong and Switzerland with roles in operations, marketing, sales and general management. Gareth studied electrical engineering at University College Dublin and latterly business administration at Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

INSIGHTS 2016 37

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