SEC's Electric Ambition
Saudi Electricity Company’s IT & Communication department aims to consolidate its infrastructure, as well as roll out an advanced unified communications project
Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) was established as a Saudi joint stock company with a paid-up capital of SAR 41.67 billion. This was achieved by virtue of a Council of Ministers order, which stipulated the merger of all Saudi electricity companies in the Central, Eastern, Western, and Southern Regions in addition to the 10 small companies operating north of the Kingdom as well as the other electricity operations managed by General Electricity Corporation, into a single joint stock company which is now known as Saudi Electricity Company.
After the completion of the merger process in 2003, SEC followed a gradual and systematic method in restructuring the company’s business lines for the purpose of assuring continuity of the electrical power services while maintaining the credibility of the reliability of the electrical system and quality of services to customers.
In 2002, the board of directors approved the new transitional organisational structure, which was designed based on functional business lines for specialised activities. Strategic business functions emerged, including shared businesses and support services, to enable the company to reinforce its performance at the level of all business lines. In 2003, the transitional organisational structure was activated, and the second stage of the new organisational structure had been applied.
“The government started the journey of merging these companies in 2003. As a result, five major companies were combined. Some were non-government companies, or partially-owned government companies and one was an organisation that was government-owned,” explains Eng. Meshal Mohammad Alfouwais, Saudi Electricity Company.
“These five companies had their own networks, their own data centres, their own IT. The challenge was that not only it was a business merger; the complex IT infrastructure had to be merged. During the transition, the quality of services offered had to be retained, which introduced another challenge for the ITC management.
Today, extensive work is in progress to complete the restructuring project in the field of electric power production and distribution, bringing in strategic world-class partners with global experience. Naturally, this continues to have a profound effect on SEC’s IT operations. In the face of the ongoing restructuring, SEC is pursuing a world-class infrastructure, allowing it to deliver next-generation smart services to its customers.
SEC’s IT leaders are responsible for providing highly reliable, quality and cost-effective data and telecom services to support the business. Their challenge started when they needed to build a network and telecom infrastructure for the consolidated company, rather than outsourcing the services.
To add to the complexity, there was a need to utilise — as much as possible — the existing infrastructure built up by the disparate entities. During the transition, it was important to ensure that, at all times, the IT services were highly available not only for SEC employees but also for its end customers. In addition to previous achievements, SEC’s IT department had to be innovative, and provide new smart services to its employees and customers.
“The IT organisation is the main source of business and management applications and unifies communication for the SEC business lines and administration. Over 350 locations and offices, 32,000 employees and seven million customers are using the IT organisation’s services,” says Alfouwais.
“We have smart offices, smart electronic readers, and smart electronic large customer meters, with which we monitor and control large customers’ cooling systems. We also trace and direct emergency electricity groups.”
SEC IT has delivered on its promise to provide quality IT services at reasonable costs. However, there are significant challenges ahead. SEC’s employees are expecting smarter communication tools to better collaborate.