Accenture, Cisco and Sirti help Enel with IT transformation

12 August 2020 Consultancy.eu

Enel Group has taken a big step towards its digitalisation ambition by establishing one of the largest network virtualisation infrastructures in the world. Accenture, Cisco and Sirti Digital solutions were all involved in the process. 

Designed in Italy, the new infrastructure virtually connects more than a thousand of Enel’s sites across ten countries, including Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Russia. The project is titled Enel Beyond Cloud Computing, and forms part of a broader digital transformation objective at the company, said Carlo Bozzoli, Head of Enel’s Global Digital Solutions.

Eventually, the plan is to have a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) that can combine with edge computing solutions to create a massive cloud-based telecom infrastructure. The end goal here is to digitalise and optimise Enel’s entire operation. The newly developed infrastructure – one of the largest of its kind in the world – is a mammoth step in this direction.

According to Bozzoli, the new infrastructure has already proved invaluable during the Covid-19 crisis, allowing Enel to control its entire site network remotely without the need for staff on the ground. The infrastructure itself was built by Enel Global Digital Solutions, while Accenture helped implement the centralised virtualisation infrastructure.

Accenture, Cisco and Sirti help Enel with IT transformation

Accenture also offered project management support during the digital transformation process, which was enhanced by innovations developed on Cisco’s Viptella SD-WAN technology. Meanwhile, the implementation of distributed components across the Italian part of the network was managed by Milan-based digital solutions player Sirti.

What makes the new infrastructure unique is that it combines private and public networks – something that has been shunned by Enel previously for security concerns of using a public network. A secure dedicated virtual network was developed to allay these concerns and go ahead with the integrated solution. According to Accenture, combining public and private networks has both improved quality and reduced costs.

The result is a much leaner operation at Enel, characterised by reduced delivery times and a high rate of cost efficiency. The digital infrastructure will also enable Enel to implement other tech solutions based in the internet of things, augmented & virtual reality and artificial intelligence spheres, which can be leveraged to monitor, manage and maintain its Italy-based assets.

With these mammoth investments, Enel is leading the way for digitalisation in Europe’s energy sector. A Capgemini report from last year indicated that energy demands are edging towards more efficiency, sustainability and transparency, and that digitalisation is the optimal route to matching these evolving expectations. As Europe’s largest utility company by earnings, Enel is exemplifying the scale of change needed to meet these objectives.

In related news, last year European electricity transmission system operator TenneT selected Accenture to support a large SAP implementation in the Netherlands and Germany.