Overview

ZEN Energy
“As a result of what Ignite built, many bad things just haven’t happened to us.”

Founded in South Australia in 2004, ZEN Energy was first a renewable energy system supplier to homes and businesses. From those beginnings, ZEN Energy have installed more than 35,000 energy systems across Australia. As an energy retailer, ZEN Energy counts renewable energy leaders like the CSIRO and the South Australian Government as clients.

ZEN stands for Zero Emissions Now, their call to action. ZEN Energy believes that by turning towards low cost, renewable energy, communities will become more sustainable and prosper accordingly. Their purpose is to lead communities into that zero-carbon world.

How it Started

When selecting a vendor, you need to pick one that feels right. One that you know can evolve with your business over time. This is exactly how ZEN Energy went about selecting a partner to work with as it embarked on its journey to revolutionise the way that an energy business operates.

A group of energy industry veterans joined together in a shared goal – to create a truly innovative energy company that would lead the communities that it worked with to a zero-carbon world.

Where to start? The answer was simple – start as you mean to go on. Create systems and platforms that enable the business to innovate, optimise and do things differently. Think ahead, and take a strategic approach to data and analytics from day one. This was critical to the success of the ZEN business.

For the people responsible for building the foundations of a business, those that deal in data, process, and analysis – a revolutionary business model presents a particularly complicated set of issues. The platform needs to be able to deliver insight into business models and plans that have not yet even been dreamt of.

This meant that ZEN Energy needed a partner to build a robust platform that would be able to change with the needs of the business, as defined by the business, not the vendor or the software releases. And ZEN Energy chose Ignite Data Solutions.

Our Solution

Ignite Data Solutions determined, designed, and built a cloud data platform powered by Databricks on a Microsoft Azure backbone.

Ignite Data Solutions organised and integrated internal and external datasets into data assets for the ZEN Energy team to leverage through analysis and Power BI dashboards. These are the inputs that enable the ZEN Energy team to interrogate the business and determine alternative scenarios. These come from AEMO, weather feeds, date events such as school holidays as well as internal systems used by sales, operations, and finance teams.

ZEN Energy - Ignite Utilities Platform Integration Diagram

“Ignite did a lot in the beginning because we did not have the team in place yet to set up the structures that we needed. We were even co-located with the Ignite team. They designed and created the data environment, the logic, and enabled the core forecasting capability. That is a very important role in the success of this business. The architecture, the design and the structure.” 

Chris Smyth
General Manager of Data and Analytics

Results

Benefitting from capability, and developing key IP within the business.

ZEN Energy was able to develop a strategic approach to managing its data from day one. Data is critical to the success of any business, and this is a central tenet of the ZEN Energy Analytics team’s approach to its platform.

The key benefits of this approach are:

  1. The IP of business forecasting and analysis resides in the ZEN Energy business.
  2. The platform works for the ZEN Energy business rather than the other way around.
  3. The platform makes it easy for the ZEN Energy team to try out new things – new models, test new ideas, design and define innovative and alternative realities.
  4. The platform saves the team time because the data is already there, in real time and it is accurate.
  5. The ZEN Energy team can easily create bespoke client interrogations because of the rich data platforms.

Using Microsoft Azure and Databricks has allowed the platform to adapt and scale in line with the ZEN Energy business model and broader energy market changes.

Ignite Services

Technologies

We believe the best results come when data enables people.

Contact us to find out how we can enable yours.