Cognite Convos: 2020's a wrap. What's next?

This history-changing year also offered us a glimpse into the future, one which will have been shaped more by digital technology than any year before. COVID-19 redefined the reality of work and forced companies across all industries to rethink their operations. Although the way this all lands in 2021 and beyond for asset-heavy industries post-COVID is uncertain, the one thing that is clear is that digital is here to stay.

This Cognite Convos episode features Dr. John Markus Lervik, CEO of Cognite; Dr. Francois Laborie, President of Cognite US; and Dr. Paula Doyle, SVP Sales and Marketing at Cognite.  


2020
A game-changing year for digitalization

Two important things happened in 2020, according to John Markus. Firstly, this year was a watershed in terms of industrial digitalization. Companies were forced to move faster to adapt to the “new normal.” The global pandemic accelerated digitalization and made companies get a clearer understanding of what digitalization is and how it captures both profitable and sustainable value. 

Secondly, this year has shown that companies are positioning themselves differently, particularly in the energy market. We have seen examples of major companies that are forward looking, such as Saudi Aramco and BP, who are investing heavily into green energy. 

“Companies have become more mature, and they are operationalizing digitalization to a much greater extent and scaling it,” says John Markus. 

“When anything happens in the US, it happens big”

Francois Laborie is based in the US office and has been building up Cognite in the midst of a global crisis and presidential elections. 

Despite the turn of events, he has come through this year with a lot of optimism. Francois believes that the focus on sustainable profitability will eventually come to the US as more regulations will be implemented. 

Important conversations around digitalization and the imbalance of the grid have been top priority for the biggest players in the energy sector, as well as for the President-Elect. The Biden administration has plans to invest in the energy transition, in the grid and the infrastructure. Although the US has a long way to go when it comes to the energy transition, Francois is certain that “with everything that happens in the US, when it happens, it happens big.” 

Leadership groupFrom left: Dr. John Markus Lervik, Cognite CEO; Dr. Paula Doyle, Cognite SVP Sales & Marketing; Dr. Francois Laborie, Cognite North America President

The right skills needed to succeed in 2021

“It's a shortcut to believe that you can just hire a computer scientist and use AI to optimize everything,” warns John Markus. He adds that success starts with finding the pockets of value so that you can reduce costs and increase efficiency. Companies need to build on their strong competencies, identify partners that are complementary and that will be aligned to the business models. 

“If you have that you have a good recipe for success,” he says. 

Change Ignites Growth 

John Markus is excited to see the shift among larger OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) around the world. They have begun to align their business models to the asset owners. Resultantly, they are moving to more serviced or data based software services towards their clients with conditioning monitoring e.g. Alfa Laval. 

Paula and Francois add that this year has also been exciting for the power and utilities sector. By engaging more with power generating players Cognite has seen that power and utilities companies are aiming at producing their equipment efficiently as well as optimizing operations. 

Looking specifically at the US, there are enormous opportunities to solve the issues surrounding the grid balancing and grid resilience, says Francois. 

2020 is coming to an end. Amid all the turbulence, it has prompted us to reconsider how we make an impact on the future. At Cognite, we see change and transformations as opportunities for growth and success. We look forward to continuing the journey in 2021. 

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