Repsol doubles down on digital transformation

Within the framework of Repsol’s strategic plan for the 2021-2025 period, the company recently released a second wave of its Digitization Program, which consolidates and expands the use of generative AI across the business through a new competence center, and allows innovative and disruptive technologies to simplify daily processes by making more agile decisions based on data.

Around the same time of the release, Repsol appointed Juan José Casado Quintero as its new chief digital officer (CDO), another strategic move to digitally transform and accelerate the company’s strategy to become a data-driven company.

Casado, who most recently held the position of Repsol’s chief data officer, is now leading the digital program launched in the 2023-2025 framework—a roadmap that emphasizes cutting-edge technologies to meet its business objectives.

Specifically, the competence center, the first in the energy sector in Europe, will explore the new development and application possibilities offered by AI to quicken the transformation of the company and achieve the ambitious goal of zero net emissions by 2050. With this initiative, the multi-energy company will analyze new possibilities for the development and application of AI that help its transformation in the midst of energy transitions. 

The objectives they intend to achieve with the center include: identifying and implementing cases in which the use of new models allow Repsol’s business areas to generate value and accelerate their digital transformation; allowing employees to explore how these tools will generate new ways of working; and capturing improvement in terms of productivity its application can bring about by developing technological and digital solutions. To this end, it will promote the use of disruptive AI technologies such as large language models or those that allow the generation of images, video, audio, or code, among others. 

Keys to the new project

Repsol is fully aware of the great transformative potential and disruptive nature of these technologies, which is why it’s debating the most suitable way to deploy them. For this reason, a multidisciplinary working group has been created at the competence center, whose mission will be to guarantee the responsible use of AI, ensuring security and regulatory compliance at all times. To execute this effectively, more than 50 professionals from the company participate, sharing their extensive experience in the energy sector and different digital technologies. Among them are cybersecurity experts, technicians, people in legal, auditing or compliance, as well as those with a high degree of specialization in AI where data scientists and data engineers predominate.

Repsol is already exploring different applications of generative AI in processes in which it could provide differential value both for the organization and its employees. For this reason, work groups have been organized in which employees have proposed more than 250 use cases where this technology could streamline their day-to-day work. This includes tasks as diverse as facilitating access to information for decision-making, the management and generation of documentation, the creation of multimedia content, the development of intelligent assistants, and generating code to develop technological solutions.

A second wave of digitization

For Repsol, digitization is a key vector in its strategic plan and transformation process to address the challenges of decarbonization. It was in 2018 when the company first promoted its digitization program, and the process has been ongoing ever since, from spearheading real-time decision-making and data analysis, to increasing operational safety for employees, and striving for carbon neutrality in the energy sector. 

In his new position, Casado is able to promote and facilitate the digital transformation of all verticals within the company. “Technology is at the service of the business, so it must be the people who are the owners,” he says. “So the fundamental mission of my role is to help envision and prioritize transformative projects associated with digital technologies and how they can boost the business and have the greatest possible impact. We must provide the necessary resources, both financial and human, to those projects with the most potential.”

Likewise, he insists on building platforms that help staff make developing digital products as efficient and scalable as possible. Equally important as a priority is creating a fully digital organizational culture that ensures people have the necessary training and skills to face the challenges of digital transformation.

Continuing on the right path

“The great personal challenge I’ve set for myself is that the second wave of digital transformation reaps, at least, the same success as the first,” Casado says. That’s setting a high water mark considering the energy company just closed a successful five-year period of digitization. “The first wave of the digital program has been truly fruitful, both in achieving the impact objectives that we had set ourselves, and from the point of view of view of the transformation itself,” he adds. 

From now on, Casado will stay on the same path of success and excellence, thus making sure that digitization continues to maintain its transformative and driving nature of the business, he says, and that it helps the company meet its strategic and decarbonization objectives.

At the technological forefront

To reach its goal, Casado will rely on a strategic package of cutting-edge technologies. “We’ll continue working on everything that involves automating our operations and processes, and that means promoting technologies such as digital twins, our IoT platforms, and 5G.” 

The push into AI into all Repsol’s businesses will increase as well. “We’re convinced that AI will change the way we work in the coming years, and we want to lead this transformation,” he adds.

Casado is also steadfast on turning Repsol into a data-driven company, exploring the uses of quantum technologies, and getting employees to develop their own applications more, using no-code or low-code platforms. “We’re going to put a lot of focus on democratizing all the technologies related to the field of data so anyone in the organization is able to make data-based decisions, and use algorithms and AI autonomously in their day-to-day life.”

Artificial Intelligence, CIO, Digital Transformation, Generative AI, IT Leadership