Mercury – Chasing Sustainability & Energy Freedom

Following on from e’ffect 2019, our most recent episode of the Best Run podcast gave me the opportunity to speak with SAP Best Run Awards finalist for data and analytics – Mercury NZ.

I caught up with Julia Jack, Chief Marketing Officer, and Kevin Angland, GM of Digital Services, to look at how this 100% renewable-energy company is encouraging sustainable energy practices with SAP’s support.

According to Julia, Mercury’s mission is to create energy freedom in a country that’s already at 80-85% renewable generation. “We describe that as energy freedom – freeing ourselves from the environmental and financial impact of our dependence of fossil fuels,” she explained.

“We also interpret energy freedom as people’s freedom of choice to do whatever they want with energy because we have that amazing renewable resource to use.”

Creating cultural and technological change necessary for transitioning to renewables mirrors Mercury’s digital transformation in that both require a comprehensive and holistic strategy.

“As soon as transformations occur in isolation – like cultural change as HR’s thing or rebranding as marketing’s thing – that’s a recipe for them not to be successful,” Julia said.

“There has to be complete alignment across the organisation and it has to start with having that mission, that purpose everyone’s going to get behind and everything is going to flow from.”

The collaborative approach to digitalisation is also reflective of Mercury’s executive structure as Julia and Kevin were hired on the same day with common goals and outcomes.

“It’s the collective view that ultimately makes us successful,” Kevin expressed. “It’s that common purpose, that single mission, and a set of shared objectives that say we succeed together or we fail together, which has ultimately led to huge change in the way we go to market at the front of the business, but also huge change in the technology capabilities that underpins that.”

Mercury is encouraging environmental consciousness and convenient service through its’ Mercury Go app. “Mercury Go app rewards my physical energy from running or walking with Mercury dollars that I can use to pay my power account or, if I choose to, I can transfer them to air points for air travel,” Kevin explained.

“Mercury Go is a key channel for us to be able to engage with our customers on their terms,” Julia added. “It’s a digital engagement, so people can engage with it as often as they want, and we have customers that engage with it every day. We need to make sure we’re really bringing our purpose and our mission to life as well as letting our customers do the day-to-day transactions that they need to do on the app.”

Mercury also promotes sustainable practices through Evie – an electrified 1957 Ford Fairlane that helps customers connect with the idea of energy freedom. This notion is pushed further with Mercury Drive, the company’s electric vehicle (EV) subscription service that lowers entry barriers for potential consumers.

“We knew that the emotional connection wasn’t there and that was the point of designing Evie as a campaign, as a story,” Julia said. “The point of the subscription service was to give people an opportunity – if they wanted to buy an EV – to try before they buy. We have three-, six-, and twelve-month subscriptions, so people can really test whether this is going to be the right option for them.”

According to Kevin, the company’s ongoing success has been its digital transformation through SAP.

“Our underlying core system is SAP’s ERP system for utilities, which runs our core customer billing and metering connection platform, making sure that we’ve got all the mechanisms in place to ensure we know how much energy has been used in a household,” he said.

Using SAP C4/HANA, Mercury has been able to become more consumer centric and refine its customer experience. “We worked hard with SAP to establish what our platform would look like,” Kevin concluded. “We tested it through a brief concept, and we were satisfied we’d made the right choice with the right partner to really get the foundations of what’s underlying the Mercury business back to a state necessary to support the transformation journey going forward.”

To hear this episode listen on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher or listen to other episodes visit The Best Run podcast centre.