ComTech visits with Amir Soufizadeh, Head of Commodities & Utilities Practice at BJSS. Founded in 1993, BJSS operates across the UK and USA, providing consultancy and services for the delivery of enterprise-scale IT solutions. The company’s clients include some of the world’s largest organisations including investment and retail banks, government departments, retailers and commodity traders.
ComTechAdvisory: How is business for BJSS at the moment and what is driving it?
Amir Soufizadeh: (AS) Business is great! BJSS has grown organically since 1993 but last 12 months have been extremely busy, with rapid growth in each of our four industry verticals – Financial Services, Commodities & Utilities, Public Sector and Retail & Media. Digital transformation has been the key driver, led by Cloud, AI and machine learning initiatives.
ComTechAdvisory: What trends are you seeing within the European utilities business and how is that impacting your business?
Amir Soufizadeh: (AS) A number of industry drivers are impacting our utilities clients’ business models. Increasing intermittent generation, Smart Grid, move to shorter settlement cycles and ever changing regulations all have contributed to new business models and consumer focused digital transformations. These have been key part of driving demand for BJSS’ extensive experience in innovative technologies, especially for our Cloud adoption services.
ComTechAdvisory: ComTech sees a fairly rapid interest in cloud deployments, are you seeing a similar trend and how extensive is it?
Amir Soufizadeh: (AS) The acceptance of public Cloud as a secure platform enabling increased agility has seen almost all our customers exploring the benefits of public Cloud in the past 12 months. Clients are at different stages of their Journey to Cloud but the key challenge now is industrializing cloud services to truly gain the advantage offered by cloud. This is an area that BJSS provides expert guidance to help customers adopt a cloud framework capable of underpinning digital transformation. Many of our clients are asking for our help to establish a Cloud Competency Centre to help drive Cloud adoption across their businesses.
ComTechAdvisory: What sort of application areas do you see as well suited at present in the energy space?
Amir Soufizadeh: A new era is opening in both O&G and utilities, in which a huge variety of data can be captured, manipulated and analyzed in real time. Machine learning as well as latest innovative technologies can be leveraged to optimize revenues as well as improve operational efficiencies. The impact of digital technologies has been significant and driven new products and business models across the sector. The variable nature of renewable markets has also created a need for better demand forecasting models and data analytics capabilities.
ComTechAdvisory: What relationships do you have with CM/CTRM vendors and what form does that cooperation take?
Amir Soufizadeh: (AS) One of the initiatives I’ve kicked off at BJSS has been to expand our relationships with E/CTRM vendors. Over last 18 months we have formed new strategic partnerships with vendors in the sector and I am currently in discussions with others.
We’ve seen increased demand for easily configured and implemented Cloud-based E/CTRM solutions. This has been driven by lower commodities prices and margins but also a growing need for the agility and faster time to market which Cloud-based solutions offer.
ComTechAdvisory: What impact do you see smart grid having on trade activities?
Amir Soufizadeh: (AS) Smart grid is one of the key enablers of the digital business transformation in the Utilities sector. It fosters the creation of new business models such as energy self-provisioning, network congestion management and most importantly sharing energy economy. The industry is moving towards more ‘Uber-like’ services by placing consumers at the center of their services. To be successful, firms need to be data savvy and build capabilities to benefit from underlying data available to them.
Amir Soufizadeh, Head of Commodities & Utilities Practice at BJSS
Amir has spent his entire career in the capital markets and commodities industries. His experience spans trading physical products, paper and complex derivatives, to leading risk management teams within front and middle office of financial institutions active in commodities as well as energy and utilities majors and commodity houses. He’s also pioneered and led large global transformation programmes in both banking and commodities sector.