Businesses continue to face a growing list of challenges and it’s becoming clear that suppliers and industry experts have to offer more support to business leaders in their decision making and planning. Whether that’s adopting and adapting to new technologies, globalisation, competition, greater regulation and uncertainty around Brexit or planning for possible future outcomes.

Today, all organisations are inherently part of a much wider business network, which makes future planning and adapting a more complex process. This is why British Gas Business held the Energy Live Future (ELF) event at Leicester’s National Space Centre in June. The event gave 200 businesses, public sector organisations, academics and other energy sector experts the opportunity to discuss and share best practice on tackling the biggest energy challenges by evolving their energy strategy.

The ELF event identified a key theme that would be essential in helping businesses evolve their energy strategy to stay ahead of competition – innovative economisation. However most concerning of all were the results of a survey carried out at the event, which highlighted that there are still too many barriers for organisations to overcome in order to evolve, innovate and streamline their energy strategy. Integral to this is investment in new technologies; so what’s holding businesses back here?

Most notably, nearly half of large energy users (48 per cent) believed political and regulatory uncertainty would hinder energy technology investment. However more than a third (35 per cent) said they are struggling to convince their leadership teams to let them invest in new energy technology, even though this was identified as essential.

That alone is concerning yet, with the government also focused on helping the UK deliver affordable energy through greater investment in research and innovation, we’re essentially already in a strong position to forge ahead as an industry and help businesses see the long term value in their energy investment.

At a recent FDF (Food and Drink Federation) convention that looked at the impact of the Industrial Strategy, it was clear to me that energy efficiency and harnessing new technologies would be important whatever the Brexit outcome. The industry and the Government are both focused on minimising energy costs and improving efficiency.

We now have to help businesses make bold and brave decisions for the long-term rather than being deterred by current political or economic uncertainty. That’s why we’re already investing in new technologies to show businesses how real insights can help them save up to 20% through energy efficiency improvements alone.

The industry has to continue to drive customer energy strategy evolution through greater choice, valuable service and actionable insights. UK businesses currently spend around £20bn a year on energy, and that means the saving could be as much as £4bn, which opens up a host of other opportunities for businesses and is just one example of how energy technology can create real value.

I expect to see more examples over the coming years as the energy industry continues to use new technologies to help customers benefit from new ways of managing, monitoring and predicting energy usage. If we can’t show customers we understand the real challenges they face today, we won’t be able to help them make brave and innovative investments to tackle tomorrow.

Gab Barbaro is Managing Director at British Gas Business.

To find out how British Gas can help save you money through a long-term energy procurement strategy, data insights or operational flexibility, call us on: 0845 070 3720, or visit www.britishgas.co.uk/business

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