How ImWind navigated the build or buy question

“And then our portfolio grew”

This is an increasingly common statement that can be a double-edged sword. On one side, it’s a positive. Increasing the portfolio means a scale-up of renewables, a speed-up of the energy transition, and an increase in the bottom line. 

But on the other hand, this can trigger concern, particularly for those that don’t have systems and processes in place to a) handle the growth and b) be able to scale that growth sustainably. 

This statement came from our customer ImWind based in Austria. The issue they were having in their early growth phase was being able to handle weekly, monthly and long-term analysis, which at the time, was being done manually by a single individual, with records being kept in a living Word document.

“We realised with the growth we were experiencing; it wasn’t possible to continue with this time-consuming process so we decided OK, let’s add some additional human resources. 

But the struggles of the day-day operation didn’t become less important, rather they became more important and more frequent. 

The bigger your portfolio is the more often you get some emergency things like cable breakdowns or bigger component failures or requests from the client asking how many MWs we have installed here, or what are we going to produce until the end of the year?

It’s questions like these that are also day-day business for operations managers, so there was never time to initiate structured data analysis.

Eventually, we reached a point where the processes we had in place, simply weren’t best practices. 

So, we added some internally developed tools that delivered hourly reports to check if turbines are compliant with current power output as well as reporting on things that were going on site.

This in itself was a milestone for us but it was not the same to look at real-time data and always the last hour, then to look in a structured way on a bigger time frame.”

The turning point came when ImWind completed a digitalisation effort where all the processes of operational management were digitalised and written down as end-to-end processes. Multiple programs were developed to help automate parts of the business but after identifying the in-balance of input vs outcome regarding the weekly & monthly analysis, the decision to partner with an expert in the field was made.

“We were in a fortunate position to collaborate with i4SEE early on to help shape some of the internal tools they developed. From a product offering perspective this was hugely beneficial to i4SEE because we knew from speaking to lots of other companies that the issues we were having were not unique.

A key outcome of the results i4SEE delivered was to be able to focus on things reported to us and then follow them up to solve the issues. Rather than spending endless amounts of time developing the tools ourselves to find issues. 

There was also a parallel in the way results were delivered. Not only did we not have to build the tool to find the issues, but we also didn’t need to spend time configuring or creating anything in any software which is an enormous benefit and only adds the scalability of our organisation”