How an atmosphere of excellence elevated Hanley Energy to the world stage
An Irish critical energy specialist is punching well above its weight against some of the biggest names in global tech.
“We consider ourselves an agile organisation,” says Clive Gilmore, Chief Executive Officer with Hanley Energy.
“We can respond quickly to a customer’s needs. We can prioritise according to a customer’s requirements and, you know, we’re lucky with the calibre of the staff that we have to be able to do that.”
Agility is a recurring theme in the story of Hanley Energy, a specialist in energy management, critical power supply and IT infrastructure – and it’s a key part of the strategy that’s allowed the Irish company to thrive among bigger rivals on the global stage.
Competing in an international marketplace dominated by multinational giants, Hanley Energy has grown adept at punching above its weight. It has now established itself to the extent that these same global competitors are partnering with the company because of its reputation for dependable services and innovative solutions.
Hanley Energy can enable 100% ‘uptime’ on its critical power services – and when you’re in a business where minutes of unplanned downtime could run into the millions, you’d better believe time is money.
A strategic edge
But in a space where reliability, quality and technical competence are baseline attributes – the absolute bare minimum to even be considered as a player in this most competitive game – the company recognises a need to offer something far above and beyond to prospective customers.
That, says Clive, is something they can offer in a way that enormous international competitors cannot; something that relates directly to their agility, and manifests itself through everything from their corporate structure to internal culture.
It’s innovation, it’s agility, it’s advisory services and engineering excellence all rolled into one – and ultimately, it’s the crafting of a very different customer-supplier dynamic.
As Clive puts it: “We’re trying to anticipate what our customers’ requirements are and offer them solutions in advance of them actually realising they have a requirement.”
It’s an approach that’s far easier talked about than implemented, however. And at the heart of it all is the organisation’s Global Competence Centre – its international headquarters, located close to Dublin Airport.
The Tiger team
From here, its Tiger team of world-class engineers can be promptly despatched to resolve critical energy issues experienced by clients, whenever they occur, anywhere in the world.
By housing the vast majority of the company’s senior expertise under one roof, rather than scattered in different branches around the globe, these experts are constantly in an elite environment – and the result is what Clive calls an “atmosphere of excellence”, helping them to attract, retain and motivate top talent within the industry.
“Our biggest challenge is getting the right people inside the organisation,” says Clive, “and if we’re getting the right people, we’re going to do right by our customers.”
As CEO, Clive is spearheading a successful strategy that has seen the company stay one step ahead of bigger rivals. He emphasises that agility – the ability to react to and deliver on clients’ specific needs – has been key to getting the company where it is today.
“Some of the major companies in this space design their own ecosystems around their capabilities. They’ve built up such a huge supply chain, such a huge manufacturing capability, that they have built closed ecosystems.
“When a customer wants to deviate from those large ecosystems, it means they’re going back to a $25 billion company and saying: ‘We like some of what you can do, but we don’t like all of what you can do – can you change some of your processes, can you change some of your architecture, can you change some of your integration principles?’
“And the big company is saying: ‘No, this is what you get, this is our ecosystem.’”
But the critical energy sector sits right in the middle of a very challenging intersection – a perfect storm of exponential growth, fast-developing technologies, and incredible technical complexity. In this environment, it’s no surprise that out-of-the-box solutions are increasingly falling short.
“That’s eked out a niche for Hanley Energy, where we’re able to work with these large ecosystems but we’re also able to tweak them to the customers’ specific requirements.
“We’re able to actually take them apart and put them back together in a way that delivers real value for our customer.”
Clive pinpoints the origins of this approach back to a situation when a client had an ecosystem from several large suppliers but a single point of failure within the architecture posed a massive risk to their entire business.
“This was a crucial piece of infrastructure which, if it went down, it would cost millions of euros because it directly related to the mission-critical power supplying the building. Our customer came to us with a problem and obviously, being engineers, we wanted to engineer a solution.
“Today, we’ve over a thousand deployments of that product, so we’ve become an integral part of the technology sector supply chain just for that one piece of kit that’s continually rescuing global networks every second of every hour of every day.”
Manifesting innovation at Hanley Energy
The company deals with its clients as partners, says Clive, and more and more customers treat Hanley Energy as their trusted partner in return.
“What we have done is moved from being the integrator to being a trusted partner that can reverse-engineer their daily challenges, through innovation.”
The term ‘innovation’ is one that’s frequently taken in vain, particularly within the engineering sector. But Hanley Energy has put their money where their mouth is, in the form of its Research and Development (R&D) division.
“We’ve 70 employees,” says Clive, “and we now have an R&D department that has five full-time employees and we’re actively recruiting for two more. So our R&D department will make up 10% of our workforce. If you go to any of the multinationals and ask them what percentage of their total headcount is R&D, you’d be lucky if they said 2% or 3%.”
What this means is that Hanley Energy provides the R&D for many of its trusted partners. When a client hits a problem which requires a solution that hasn’t yet been invented, they call on Hanley Energy.
This reputation – and the company’s ability to deliver on it – is what will drive the company to new heights, says Clive.