Javier García, Director of Applications at Acciona: "We are in a transformation process with the aim of becoming a data-oriented company"

About Javier García Vizcaíno

Javier García Vizcaíno is Director of Corporate Applications at Acciona, a global group for the development and management of sustainable infrastructure solutions, especially in renewable energies. His team supports different processes of the organization through the services and projects they carry out. Among them stand out the areas of People Management Systems, Economic - Financial Systems, Document Management Platforms and collaboration, Development of customized solutions in 'modern' development environments, Business solutions based on technological enablers such as Blockchain or IoT, Platform of Business Intelligence and Advanced Analytics.

Javier García also has a wide professional background in industries belonging to sectors of a diverse nature such as Media, Energy, Construction, Sports, Education, etc. He has also participated in Digital Transformation, Data & Analytics and People Transformation projects.

In addition to this, he combines his professional activity with teaching, directing the online master's degree in Business Intelligence and Big Data in Structuralia, and collaborates occasionally with different entities and business schools, and in different mentoring programs.

What are the main challenges you face in your day-to-day life?

Acciona is currently in a strong transformation process that will allow it to be more competitive in the different business areas, optimize its internal management processes and become a benchmark company for its innovative solution proposal.

We are committed to a different way of doing business that promotes the well-being of society and the planet, beyond economic interests

Therefore, we are committed to a different way of doing business that promotes the well-being of society and the planet, beyond economic interests. That is why we invest in sustainable projects that make the world a better place.

This means that all areas of the organization are continuously in agitation to provide the business, within our scope of responsibility, with the necessary tools that allow us to propose valuable solutions to the market.

For example, some of the solutions and areas of activity in which we are present:

  • Energy: wind, photovoltaic solar, thermosolar, biomass.
  • Transportation: highways, bridges, tunnels, ports.
  • Water: integral cycle, purification, desalination.
  • Social: health, university campuses, design and event management.
  • Cities: efficient building, electric mobility ...
  • Real estate: sustainable and eco-efficient homes, industrial properties.
  • Financial: asset management, capital market.

All of this incorporating the geographic variable since Acciona is present from New Zealand to Canada, covering practically all time zones.

Therefore, from the Corporate Applications area we must be prepared and provide the business with the technological elements necessary for this value proposition, having a growing demand in recent years for the need for data ecosystems that allow their collection, transformation, availability, exploitation and analysis.

How does analytics and Business Intelligence influence decision-making in a large corporation like Acciona?

As I have commented previously, Acciona is currently in a process of transformation and reorganization with the aim of becoming a data-oriented company.

All of this leads to speeding up the information availability processes, as well as self-consumption by the business areas and support functions.

This implies putting the 'pieces' of the puzzle to evolve the degree of maturity of Acciona in areas such as data quality, data life cycle, etc. Therefore, work is being done in different areas of action to ensure that data-based decision-making is adequate.

  • Defining an organizational model for data management.
  • Democratization of the information available in environments that allow the analysis and consumption of data by the organization.
  • Accelerating the adoption of BI tools and data visualization, and that allow the self-consumption of information.
  • Increasing the robustness of the processes for data integration and treatment (quality, security and data labelling, among others).
  • Incorporating the necessary profiles for the implementation of Advanced Analytics initiatives in the organization. 

All this is allowing to acquire a vision of the data as a strategic asset of the organization. All initiatives incorporate or must incorporate the ‘dimension’ data as a part of value.

Currently at Acciona we have different analysis models, from descriptive, to predictive and applied, for example, in our wind turbine plants or water treatment stations, and advancing in the development of prescriptive analytics.

In addition, advanced analytics is not only being used in the business field, but also in corporate functions such as People Management. During the last two years we have been working on the implementation in Acciona of Workday, which allowed, among other things, to carry out a structuring and storage of data related to people with high quality.

It has been working on the generation of dashboards and reports useful for the organization, but in this transformational process of Acciona to become a data-oriented company and to have a culture of decision-making based on data. Likewise, the application of advanced analytics models has begun that will allow, not only a better use of the data, but also to identify use cases that allow, for example, to have predictive analysis on performance, staff turnover, absenteeism, etc., in order to anticipate and take preventive actions for the retention of key personnel in the organization.

What technological challenges is the sector currently facing?

Acciona is a global group for the development and management of sustainable infrastructure solutions, especially renewable energy. Our activity covers the entire design, construction, operation and maintenance value chain.

Therefore, we are constantly innovating in our solutions, incorporating cutting-edge technological enablers that allow us to design differential solutions. Enablers such as blockchain, mixed reality, internet of things, etc., are already part of these solutions. And without forgetting 'data', which is already a fundamental element that we incorporate into our solutions.

In this sense, Acciona has created advanced solutions, implemented for a long time that incorporate the data or advanced treatment of the same (video analytics ...) as part of the solution together with internet of things technology, blockchain or mixed reality. Here are some examples:

ZeroIoT. Deployment of sensors in work areas and workers.

  • Real-time analysis of all the information collected by the sensors.
  • Sending alerts to workers in case of detecting any risk to avoid possible accidents.

SDA. Range Detection System during lane cuts.

D3S. System for detecting fatigue in drivers. Analysis of yawns, duration of blinking, pulsations, luminosity. Sending alerts.

Which are the main current technological trends in the sector?

Our objective is to lead the transition towards a low-carbon economy, for which we put technical excellence and innovation at the service of all projects to design a better planet and contribute to the economic and social development of the communities in which we operate. For this reason, innovation is present in all the projects and solutions that we execute.

We put technical excellence and innovation at the service of all projects to design a better planet and contribute to the economic and social development of the communities

For example, immersive technologies represent a perfect coalition of the physical and the virtual world. In fact, at Acciona we have spent years exploring the potential of Extended Reality, (a term used to encompass Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality) in professional environments: virtual tours, telepresence meetings, visualization of referenced objects for construction projects...

A first example of the use of this technology was the 3D printing project of the Arco de las Dueñas of the MAN in Madrid carried out by Acciona, which also included the scanning and digitization of valuable pieces of art, making it possible to create a digital twin of each of them. These are exact replicas of elements in the real world that allow us to carry out all kinds of simulations to optimize processes, carry out maintenance work or even, as in that case, “print reality”.

Another sample. Water management, where we take advantage of a large part of that potential that extended reality gives us. Plants such as the Acciona ETAPs (drinking water treatment stations) already have immersive technologies in their operations, solutions that facilitate maintenance tasks and safe and efficient training in the management of complex processes in the plants.

And what does the future hold for us?

After a 2020 that was marked by the pandemic, 2021 has resumed the path of technological innovation renewed with energy. And it should be noted that many of the main scientific advances of the year have resonated more in our social networks, have a common denominator: sustainability and the fight against climate change, in which Acciona is absolutely committed.

The most relevant advances that will be part of future and sustainable solutions include the following:

  • Batteries inspired by mammalian bones. New generation of batteries that mimic bone structures and offer unprecedented performance.
  • Organic waste to give wings to aviation. A new technique makes it possible to convert food waste and manure into jet fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 165%.
  • Buildings constructed by means of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence to dream new architectures. Innovative software will use building databases to create new designs capable of synthesizing various styles.
  • The advancement of mixed reality and its new applications. AI is not the only cutting-edge technology architects are using. Recently, we talked about the applications of mixed reality in construction
  • Water purification without electricity. Access to drinking water is and will be one of the great concerns of humanity. The new system, which automatically dispenses chlorine, can be installed at any water tap and will help in regions without access to it.
  • Sunlight to break down carbon dioxide. The new ally in the fight against climate change are photocatalytic materials that decompose carbon dioxide with natural light.

All these technological innovations, among others, will be incorporated into the solutions proposed by Acciona to design a better planet and contribute to the economic and social development of the communities in which we operate.