Listening to Christian Buchel, you’d think he is something straight out of a digital technology mold: collaboration with French tech, agile methods, data governance, opening APIs, hackathons, etc. He almost apologizes for being so enthusiastic about his role. Yet unlike many CDOs, he had not had a career in digital technology before his appointment at ERDF in May 2014. Philippe Monloubou, CEO of ERDF since January 2014, entrusted its program for business-area digital transformation to this pure product of the electricity industry. But Buchel is also a professional transformer of organizations, just as likely to fetch ideas from Limoges as observe projects in China.
He is creating a network extending over thousands of kilometers. Buchel’s digital transformation program comprises four priorities: infrastructure management (telecontrol, predictive maintenance, and big data), external dialogue, meter and sensor data management, and social/cultural transformation. After examining how digital technology could help ERDF’s business areas, he drew on his previous experience to make a comparative study. "We carried out a digital diagnosis on our levers to find out how ERDF is positioned in relation to other companies," he explains. "We looked at world benchmarks for electricity distribution, as well as for automobile manufacturing and insurance."