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  • Writer's pictureEmre Can Anlar

Scaling Business Models and Automation in emobility: Strategic IT planning as a stabilizer and growth driver

The electromobility industry, characterized by young companies and young business units within established companies, faces unique challenges. These dynamic companies are often at a critical point where scaling and increasing efficiency are crucial for success. Automation and strategic IT planning play a key role in this growth process. This interview highlights how sustainable development is promoted especially in this young and innovative industry through the use of targeted IT strategies.

Network Operation Center as IT-supported backbone of a charging network
Network Operation Center as IT-supported backbone of a charging network

Today we are particularly pleased to have Marcus Vengels, Managing Director of Mediaan Deutschland GmbH, and Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer, CEO and founder of greenventors GmbH, with us. Both bring valuable experience and perspectives when it comes to scaling business models and automation in electromobility. They will give us insights into how IT strategies can not only increase efficiency but also promote growth. Look forward to an exciting conversation about how targeted IT planning can not only increase efficiency but also enable sustainable growth.

 

Let’s start with the specific challenges that young entities in electromobility have to face when scaling up.

Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer: Yes, electromobility is an area characterized by rapid growth and continuous innovation. Companies must move from a manual, almost artisanal initial phase to a stage where automation and efficient processes are crucial. In the beginning, many systems are put together in a makeshift manner in order to even get started. The challenge is to transform these makeshift solutions into strategic, scalable systems.


How do electromobility companies cope with the increasing demand for faster and more efficient service delivery?

Marcus Vengels: In a market that is developing rapidly and where customers have high expectations of technology, the automation of business processes is essential. This applies not only to internal processes, but also to the customer experience - from invoicing to customer service. IT plays a central role in continuously improving the speed and quality of services.

In a fast-evolving market with high tech expectations, automating business processes is becoming increasingly important. Marcus Vengels
In a fast-evolving market with high tech expectations, automating business processes is becoming increasingly important. Marcus Vengels

How exactly does the business model of a CPO (Charge Point Operator) develop and why is a deep understanding of it so important?

Marcus Vengels: The business model of a CPO is complex because it not only includes the installation and maintenance of charging stations, but also - in the first step - the management of B2B customer relationships and B2B billing services with emoblity service providers. A deep understanding of this (roaming) model is crucial because it enables the identification of processes that can be automated to increase efficiency and ultimately B2C user satisfaction. This includes understanding the dynamics between fast charging technology, customer expectations, billing systems and sustainability. The further development of this business model must anticipate future technologies and market needs in order to remain competitive. A good example here are the European AFIR requirements that have been in force since the beginning of 2024 and also place significant requirements in the area of B2C user experience from the perspective of a CPO that traditionally has more of a B2B focus.

 

Which strategic considerations are important for the stabilization and further development of the company and the underlying business model in electromobility?

Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer: The stabilization and further development of the business model requires an in-depth analysis of, among other things, existing processes. The basis for this should be a clear vision for the future. Companies must pursue innovative approaches that address not only current but also future market requirements. This includes adapting to technological developments and anticipating customer needs, which can change rapidly. A strategic realignment is crucial to determine which processes and IT systems need to be developed or optimized to effectively support company growth.

 

How is automation used to solve these challenges?

Marcus Vengels: Automation plays a central role in increasing efficiency and optimizing customer interactions. By using modern IT systems, processes such as invoicing, customer management and even troubleshooting can be automated and supported with AI, which not only reduces costs but also improves service quality. For example, automated charging stations and intelligent billing systems can help improve the user experience and ensure operational efficiency.

Automation & AI as important components of a future-proof IT strategy
Automation & AI as important components of a future-proof IT strategy

Can you give a concrete example of IT automation in this sector?

Marcus Vengels: A good example is the automation of the invoicing process. Especially for multinational electromobility companies that operate in several countries, the automation of invoicing can significantly increase efficiency and at the same time reduce the error rate. Automated systems for accounts receivable management are essential here. For example, an electromobility company could use an IT-supported system that automatically generates, checks and sends invoices as soon as transactions at charging stations are completed.

 

Could you briefly describe the challenges that companies often face when scaling their IT processes?

Marcus Vengels: Of course. As described, many companies start with very manual processes and a kind of "patchwork" in their IT structure. This leads to an initial dependency on cobbled-together applications or external platform operators. The change from this current state to a more efficient target structure is not only desirable, but often necessary in order to remain competitive.

 

And how long can this transition take?

Marcus Vengels: The transition can often take up to a year or more. That's why it's important to make optimizations in the current state. These improvements help to increase efficiency and improve the cost structure, even while planning and implementing major strategic changes.

 

Can you perhaps give us an example of what optimizations in the current state could look like?

Marcus Vengels: Sure. Let's take the example of automating business processes such as invoice verification. Many companies do these manually, which is time-consuming and error-prone. By automating such processes, they can save time and reduce errors, enabling immediate cost savings and a better customer experience.

 

What are the typical first steps when a company decides to stabilize and optimize its IT structure?

Marcus Vengels: The first step is often a kind of SWOT or pain point analysis to identify the biggest challenges and opportunities. On this basis, an IT strategy is then developed that includes both short-term improvements and long-term changes. It is also important to understand the existing systems and processes in detail and to evaluate which ones most urgently need optimization.

 

And how can we ensure that existing systems remain stable during this transition?

Marcus Vengels: That's a big challenge. It's about keeping the lights on while building for the future. Often a dual strategy is followed, where the existing system is supported for as long as necessary and the new system is developed in parallel. This requires careful planning and often the establishment of interim processes that ensure that day-to-day business continues to run efficiently.

Solid IT backbones prevent customer complaints and stabilize operations
Solid IT backbones prevent customer complaints and stabilize operations

We started by talking about the challenges in the electromobility industry. Could you explain why companies in this industry are considering moving away from or replacing existing IT solutions?

Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer: In the electromobility industry, companies are often faced with the decision of whether to continue using existing IT solutions or to develop their own solutions. These decision points typically arise when the existing systems no longer meet the growing demands of the market or when they are not flexible enough to keep pace with rapid technological developments and changing customer needs.

 

Marcus Vengels: A key pain point that makes companies consider moving away from existing solutions is the limitation of legacy technologies that can no longer be effectively scaled or adapted. For example, a company may find that its current software architecture does not support the integration of new payment methods such as ad hoc payments or the use of OCPP brokers to manage different charging station types.

 

Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer: In addition, changes in the legal framework or new security requirements often require an overhaul of IT systems, which is not always possible with older solutions. If such systems become a barrier to innovation or increased efficiency, companies must weigh up whether purchasing or developing a new solution is more economical in the long term.

 

Marcus Vengels: Together, Mediaan and greenventors help companies make such critical decisions by analyzing not only the technical aspects but also the strategic and commercial impact of each option. Our goal is to ensure that our customers pursue an IT strategy that maximizes their ability to respond quickly to market demands while enabling them to remain competitive in the long term.

Joining forces to provide the best customer experiences. Mediaan x greenventors
Joining forces to provide the best customer experiences. Mediaan x greenventors

Why did greenventors and Mediaan decide to join forces to support customers in electromobility?

Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer: The partnership between Mediaan and greenventors arose from an insight we had during a joint business lunch: combining our respective strengths offers our customers the greatest possible benefit. Mediaan brings in-depth technological understanding and experience in software development and the operation of complex IT system landscapes, while greenventors offers specific knowledge of the electromobility industry and its particular challenges. Together they can offer a comprehensive range of consulting services aimed at developing practical and innovative solutions that meet the specific requirements of this fast-moving sector.

  

Interviewer: Why do you think strategic IT planning is crucial for success in electromobility?

Marcus Vengels: Strategic IT planning enables companies to design their technology infrastructure to keep pace with the rapid growth of the market. This includes choosing the right technologies, scaling systems and ensuring that these systems are secure and reliable. Experienced consultants such as Mediaan and greenventors, who bring both industry knowledge and technological know-how, are crucial to mastering these complex requirements.

 

 

What does effective strategic planning look like in such a dynamic environment?

Marcus Vengels: Strategic planning in electromobility must be flexible and forward-looking. Companies must decide whether to develop new platforms themselves or adapt existing solutions. This includes a thorough IT strategy that aims to design the architecture and IT governance in such a way that they can support the rapid growth and specific requirements of the electromobility market.

 

How do you support companies in dealing with technological challenges in electromobility?

Marcus Vengels: As action-oriented consultants, we at Biocatalyst can play a central role in identifying and implementing key technologies specifically developed for electromobility. We help to quickly adapt to market changes through their deep understanding of agile project management and advanced software development practices. In addition, they can provide valuable insights into risk assessment and stakeholder management, which is particularly important for companies in this sector.

 

How crucial is the customer experience for success in electromobility?

Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer: It is critical and important. Automating customer interactions, for example in the event of problems with charging stations, not only saves costs but also improves customer satisfaction. In a technology-driven sector such as electromobility, it is crucial that IT systems not only meet customer expectations but exceed them.

 

How do you support your customers in implementing AI Ops in the field of electromobility?

Marcus Vengels: We currently see AI Ops as an important driver of stabilization and growth. We therefore support our customers in developing customized AI solutions that increase the efficiency and reliability of their charging infrastructures. A key element is predictive maintenance through AI, which helps to minimize operational interruptions and reduce operating costs. This is a concrete example of how AI Ops is being used effectively as an area of innovation in electromobility.

 

Can you give a specific example of how AI supports the operation and availability optimization of charging infrastructure?

Marcus Vengels: A concrete example is the use of our AI-powered system for fault detection and diagnosis at charging stations. By integrating various data sources, such as charging station operational data and customer service logs, we can use AI to identify patterns that could indicate potential problems. This proactive approach helps us minimize downtime and improve the overall reliability of the charging system by resolving problems before they lead to disruptions.

The future of AI Ops in emobility is bright. Andreas Pfeiffer
The future of AI Ops in emobility is bright. Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer

What do you see as the future of AI Ops in the electric mobility industry?

Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer: The future of AI Ops in electromobility is promising. We expect the technology to continue to gain importance, especially with the foreseeable significant scaling of charging infrastructure networks. AI will not only help increase efficiency, but also improve the customer experience through faster and more reliable services.

 

It is crucial for young corporate units in electromobility to future-proof their business models through strategic IT planning and advanced automation technologies.

Strategic IT planning and automation are crucial not only to keep up with the pace of the market, but also to be successful in a highly competitive environment. Together, Mediaan and greenventors support companies in the electromobility industry in stabilizing and scaling their business models through targeted IT strategies and innovative automation solutions.

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