Partnership delivers powerful lessons for energy retailer

Red Energy uses SAS Results to help launch its battery and solar operation

Australia’s energy sector is evolving at the speed of light. Rapid technological innovation, changing customer expectations and new federal regulations are coalescing to force utilities to change the way they do business.

“People expected to go home and flip on the lights,” said Ramy Soussou, Red Energy’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Emerging Markets and Regulatory Affairs. “Now customers are used to working with tech savvy companies and they expect the same level of service and convenience from us.”

To address this changing business landscape, Red Energy sought a data and analytics framework for exposing business opportunities and staying ahead in an industry ripe for disruption.

With SAS Results, you quickly work out that you’re not as good as you think you are.

Ramy Soussou
General Manager of Sales & Marketing,
Emerging Markets and Regulatory Affairs

Start small and think big

Red Energy used SAS® Results to bring its analytics vision to life. In this type of engagement, SAS partners with businesses to understand their challenges, and then uses its own tools and expertise to deliver the outcomes sought by the customer. This removes the need to license software and hire experts to use it.

Red Energy endeavors to put analytics at the heart of its billion-dollar business. Its journey with SAS started small with a single business problem aimed to test the quality of SAS Results. The energy retailer also sought to verify a cultural fit between the organisations, as the realisation of a companywide analytics framework requires close collaboration over time.

They chose to pilot the SAS approach to an analytics framework on their emerging battery and solar division. “The residential battery storage market is in its infancy,” said Soussou. “With all new technologies, we try to first understand market opportunities, from customer demand through to what triggers them to buy. SAS brought their deep analytical and business expertise to help us market these new products in an intelligent way … and gather great insights along the way.”

New market exposed

To expose sales opportunities for battery and solar products, SAS advised Red Energy on which data to collect and how to interpret it. The retailer then learned how the data could be used to complement its marketing campaigns – all while feeding intelligence back into the framework to inform future decisions.

“SAS complemented our insights team nicely. The insight they provided would have taken us a year to get if we developed it internally. They accelerated our learning quite dramatically,” said Soussou.

While the SAS Results engagement has helped Red Energy better market its solar products, Soussou noted that battery prices are still too high to attract the average consumer. “We’ve learned so much from SAS. We’ll be prepared to have a good slice of the battery market once the technology is priced for mass consumer appeal.”

Lessons applied elsewhere

Central to this engagement was Red Energy’s desire to learn how to use data for a purpose. Working alongside SAS, the retailer has grown its expertise and learned to more effectively use data to understand customers in emerging markets.

“We’ve learned a lot,” said Soussou. “We’ve learned how to set up data marts more effectively, which are now being used in other parts of the business. We’ve also developed great insights into changing customer needs.”

The engagement has also helped Red Energy rapidly expand its internal knowledgebase using external skills. The SAS Results team was comprised of experts from outside industries such as banking, which has long-valued customer experience. Red Energy recognises the need for employees with similar experience to help navigate the complexity of understanding customer data.

‘A fool with a tool is still a fool’

Soussou offered this advice for similar organisations that believe they do not need an analytical framework or think they’re already doing analytics well. “With SAS Results, you quickly work out you’re not as good as you think you are.” He added that a fool with a tool is still a fool. “If you want to want to truly understand your customers before your market is disrupted, be open to learning from experts from outside industries. Otherwise you’re potentially walking away from a lot of good opportunities.”

“The thing we liked most about SAS was they got to understand our culture, our people and our values. That builds trust,” he said.

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