Italy’s Edison Innovates, Better Serves Customers, and Improves Sustainability Using AWS
Edison, the oldest European energy company, has undergone a technology transformation to take advantage of new ways of working in the cloud. Using AWS, it’s sped up business processes from hours to minutes, created over 20 innovative new applications, and launched a new portal
to better serve customers.
“We have a close, collaborative relationship with AWS that gives us the vision and ability to innovate to overcome future challenges.”
Head of ICT Enterprise Architecture and Data Platform, Edison
When European’s oldest energy company found traditional ways of working were no longer serving its business, it took a bold step to update its systems and processes. Founded in 1884, Edison undertook a major technology transformation in 2019 using AWS Cloud. The goal was to improve operations and increase its ability to innovate in response to the evolving needs of a business that operates 200 plants and provides 1.6 million consumers with electricity and gas.
As Edison was using an on-premises data center, any changes to applications, services, or resources took weeks or months to put into place. Using Amazon Web Services (AWS), those changes now take a matter of hours. This provides Edison with the agility it needs to run a more efficient and productive business, respond to changing business needs, and better serve its customers to make it more competitive.
Improving Performance and Resilience
Edison has migrated 100 applications to AWS. The process has been quick, with half of the workloads, including some core applications, moved within 18 months. The positive experience led Edison to accelerate the migration of its SAP workloads, which has already begun.
Edison chose AWS because of its mature and wide range of services, its rigorous best practices, and its ecosystem of partners such as Storm Reply, an AWS Partner that has supported the transformation program. “We have a close, collaborative relationship with AWS that gives us the vision and ability to innovate to overcome future challenges,” says Federico Morreale, head of ICT enterprise architecture and data platforms at Edison.
Using AWS, Edison has improved overall performance of its IT estate by up to 400 percent, meaning business activities such as billing, customer service, and meter operations management are handled more quickly and accurately. Processes that lasted hours with its former on-premises solution now are completed in tens of minutes.
The key has been in leveraging automation and the quick availability of resources. “We have significatively improved the resilience of our applications and the configuration management of our IT resources,” says Cristiana Dodero, head of ICT infrastructure at Edison “This has allowed us to improve our disaster recovery process. We are now able to reach shorter recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) values, minimizing productivity loss and reducing the risk of losing data.”
Tighter Security and Cost Savings of 30–40%
System security has also improved, through updating processes and moving from systems running out-of-date applications and operating systems to secure cloud-based services. “On AWS we have automated controls and processes, increasing their effectiveness and efficiency, and making the network more resilient,” says Giampaolo Tacchini, chief information security officer (CISO) at Edison. “Through integrating security platforms, we’ve also improved our monitoring capabilities.”
Succeeding in the competitive energy market means maximizing business margins—and Edison’s accomplished this through lowering IT costs. Increased levels of automation, more efficient use of computing resources, cutting licensing fees, reduced maintenance, and using ready-made services has resulted in overall IT savings of 30–40 percent.
These benefits come from taking a cloud-first approach to redesigning its architecture and revising its business processes too. “We knew that to benefit from the cloud, we had to transform ourselves. Continuing with our old ways was not sustainable for the business,” says Massimo Pernigotti, chief information officer (CIO) at Edison.
To simplify platform management, Edison uses Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), a managed container service to run and scale Kubernetes applications. To handle applications with seasonal peaks, it uses AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven computer service, and Amazon CloudFront, a content delivery network (CDN) service.
Innovating to Solve Technical and Business Problems
With a wide range of AWS services to choose from, more efficient IT operations, and shorter development times, Edison now has the resources to create new solutions across the business. “Working with AWS has given us the opportunity to continuously innovate. This helps us to be more proactive in solving both technical and business problems,” says Morreale.
Because AWS services are so quick to get up and running, Edison is now able to start new IT projects to support business activities within a few days, compared to months with the on-premises solution. Thanks to that, this year Edison has developed 20 new applications that it would not have had capacity to build previously.
Edison customers can now access services directly, thanks to building a new app that has seen usage rise by 20 percent in the first few months. Customers can also pay bills digitally through a portal, an option used by 30 percent more customers since the transformation began. The portal has received 50,000 visits per month. Edison also created a new loyalty area on its website where customers can win coupons and vouchers. Customer subscriptions to digital services have increased by 25 percent and access to the services increased by 35 percent.
Customers are benefitting from these innovations. “With quicker time to market and better understanding of customers, we’ve been able to create a better experience for staff and customers,” says Giovanna Marzolla, director of marketing and communication at Edison Energia.
Becoming More Sustainable with AWS
Edison is taking advantage of the cloud to make its operations more environmentally sustainable, too. Using AWS, it takes advantage of modern and efficient technologies and hardware that allow it to obtain the same performance with lower energy consumption. “It’s like living in an apartment building where resources are shared and therefore consumption is lowered” says Morreale. “We have adopted a policy to turn the machines on and off in a customized way. Before using AWS, they were on 24 hours a day. Now they operate on demand and the servers are activated when we need them. This gives us a double advantage: it allows us to reduce costs and to use energy only when it is needed.”
Edison also sees environmental benefits from the flexibility and scalability of AWS. “Before we were forced to have servers always set to the daily peaks,” says Morreale. “Today, we size servers and services on average daily consumption that takes into account peaks in demand. This saves money and resources and reduces waste. All this contributes to supporting environmental issues.”
Moving to new ways of working in the cloud has brightened the future for Europe’s oldest energy company. Using AWS, it’s achieved greater operational efficiency, better customer experience, and higher levels of sustainability.
AWS Services Used
Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS)
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) is a managed container service to run and scale Kubernetes applications in the cloud or on-premises.
Secure and resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Launch applications when needed without upfront commitments.
Amazon Aurora provides built-in security, nearly continual backups, serverless compute, up to 15 read replicas, automated multi-Region replication, and integrations with other AWS services.
AWS Lambda is a serverless, event-driven compute service that lets you run code for virtually any type of application or backend service without provisioning or managing servers. You can trigger Lambda from over 200 AWS services and software as a service (SaaS) applications, and only pay for what you use.
Companies of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses every day using AWS. Contact our experts and start your own AWS Cloud journey today.