Kine Johanne Årdal

Kine Johanne Årdal on digitalising a renewables company

7 questions for Scatec’s Chief Digital Officer on Scatec’s digitalisation ambitions, challenges, and big, hairy goals for the future.

A geologist by trade, Kine Årdal says that she has always been a change agent. She spent most of her career in oil and gas. It was in this industry that she first encountered high volumes of data and realised the immense potential of data insights.

She says that when you combine data in new ways, you can find the “devil in the details”, giving you what you need to make better decisions, uncover new perspectives, or realise a previously overlooked opportunity. And when combined machine power and algorithms, that data can truly transform workflows.

Today she’s bringing her relentless quest for improvement and value creation to Scatec, where she’s found purpose and meaning in the company’s mission to bring clean and affordable energy to emerging economies. And perhaps, with Kine’s help and a generous dose of data, they’ll do it even faster and more efficiently than they ever thought possible.

Where is Scatec at in its digital journey?
At Scatec, we recognise the importance of digitalisation to enable our strategy and ensure competitiveness in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Although we are in an early phase of the digital journey, we have taken significant steps in laying the foundation. We have developed a digital roadmap, established a dedicated digital unit, and launched a programme with key initiatives.

What would you say is the primary challenge to overcome?
Firstly, it’s about building understanding that digitalisation is not just about technology and data, but it also involves improving our processes, ways of working, skills and mindset. Digital is an enabler, and the transformation really happens within the business functions. This is, of course, a shift in mindset, and it requires commitment from the business. Secondly, we must break the well-known organisational silos. This is what has led to duplications, inefficiencies, and lack of knowledge transfer. These are common topics across several of our improvement areas.

What’s the answer to this challenge?
We are partnering with the business to build a common understanding of how digital can improve their workflows, and to identify where the silos are and how we can break them. One example of an improvement area is access to data. This is not unique to Scatec. We spend too much time looking for data, duplicating work, and perhaps overlooking insightful information. For digital to help on this, we must work closely with the business functions to understand things like what the data will be used for, the process behind it, the required data quality, and the data sources. Together we can then make a fit-for-purpose plan for data availability.

What’s the next step for Scatec to take on its digitalisation journey?
We are now kicking off a Digital Ambassador Network in Scatec, gathering employees in Scatec who want to join us in driving the digital transformation. This network will include people from various regions, functions and disciplines who will play an important role in shaping how we can get value from digital and “Scatecify” our digital vision.

We have also just finalised a minimum viable product (MVP) for an Insights Platform. The results are promising, showing how large amounts of data are made available for analytics. For the MVP, we imported two data sources, and it clearly has potential for many more sources and data combinations.

What will you do better when you have the right data?
Operational excellence and growth opportunities. Having reliable data available, when and where you need it, can both save time, cost and help us making smarter decisions. I would like our domain experts, engineers, analysts to spend time on analyses, instead of searching for and cleaning data. They can use the data to find trends and optimise evaluations, such as insight into power production, equipment status and work orders, or production vs market. And not the least, efficient transfer of knowledge, best practices across countries and value chains.

 What’s the secret to success with any digitalisation endeavour?
Closely aligned efforts between people – strategy – technology & data. You must have the teams and business functions on board. Digital is the enabler, and the transformation happens in the business teams. They are the ones who can integrate and adopt a new way of working, and in the end realise the value. With our current digital programme, we see a strong positive momentum and good partnership forming between business and digital. We are also really excited about the Digital Ambassador programme, to get an even closer collaboration with colleagues across Scatec’s global operations.

What’s your big, hairy goal for Scatec’s digital future?
My goal is that Scatec becomes a data-driven company that leverages technology and data to drive sustainable growth and improve our future. We will use data and new solutions to make clean energy accessible and affordable in our markets. By fostering a digital mindset, we will unlock new opportunities, drive innovation and create solutions we today consider impossible. We’ll be able to say: “Data is simply part of our DNA. It’s how we do business.”