Midsize Utility Enterprises and Municipalities Power Momentum with SAP Solutions

December 12, 2006 by admin

Adding to the more than 1,100 utility customers worldwide running SAP software, six further utilities and municipalities in the United States – City of Newport News Waterworks, EnergySouth (Mobile Gas), Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA), City of Dallas and Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) – have selected SAP for Utilities solutions to optimize operational efficiencies, improve customer service and create more reliable and quicker regulatory reporting. The increase in adoption is further proof that SAP is the provider of choice among utility companies of all sizes that are seeking to drive efficiencies and support business transformation with the flexibility of enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA) and the SAP NetWeaver platform.
Utility companies of all sizes are selecting SAP over its competitors as more and more companies realize the benefits of SAP’s utilities industry-specific solutions. SAP software meets the criteria and the requirements of midsize enterprises, including a modular approach with applications that are quick to deploy and easy to manage, that are affordable and, most importantly, that incorporate the knowledge gained by SAP and its partners through more than 30 years of experience working with companies of all sizes in more than 25 industries around the world. “We are investing in our ability to respond to customer needs with improved technology,” said Charlie Huffman, CFO, Mobile Gas. “Our partnership with SAP will allow us to focus on our customer relationships.”
SAP software is the cornerstone of Mobile Gas’ “Project Centerpiece,” an initiative to upgrade the company’s business systems and processes, positioning it to provide improved customer service and planned financial returns for investors. Mobile Gas purchases, sells and distributes natural gas to nearly 100,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Mobile, Alabama area.

Increasing efficiency

As with companies of all sizes, midsize utility enterprises are seeking ways to increase efficiency by reducing and eliminating manual processes, standardizing procedures to ensure uniformity and compliance, and creating a single integrated platform to improve visibility across the enterprise. In short, companies are looking for solutions that are not too big, not too complex, are the right size and can be deployed quickly. More and more SAP customers have identified that their implementations of SAP solutions are the foundation for projects that target millions of dollars in benefits. These benefits vary for each utility based on the company’s unique factors but are usually found in the areas of lower total cost of ownership (TCO) of required IT systems, increased productivity for front-office and back-office operations, improved revenue collection and reduced costs to provide enhanced customer services.

Gaining insight

Inland Empire Utility Agency (IEUA), a regional southern California wastewater treatment agency and leader in water quality management and environmental protection in California’s Inland Empire area, selected SAP software in part for its business intelligence capabilities. IEUA will leverage SAP xApp Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP xMII), a composite application that solves the disconnect between the plant floor and the rest of the enterprise.
SAP xMII will help IEUA transform its business by Web-enabling all existing plant, maintenance, lab and other information systems to provide a common interface to all users in the organization. The portal solution directly supports the ever-evolving wireless revolution, allowing operations, managers and supply chain partners to monitor critical information through tablet personal computers, phones and other Internet appliances. Through emerging standards such as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), the composite application XML-enables all automation systems to simplify integration into applications supporting e-sourcing such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), business information warehouse and supply chain optimization.
“Integration was critical in our decision to select SAP,” said Dean Martin, executive manager of Finance and Administration, IEUA. “Inefficiencies from numerous disconnected systems created a real drain on resources and an obstacle to team management and solutions. Having the ability to synchronize business processes with SAP will eliminate administrative redundancies, lessen departmental conflicts and help the Agency control costs. It was clear to us that SAP provided the best enterprise solution that clearly met most of the Agency’s needs and did so at an affordable price.”

Customer focus and intimacy

Rochester Public Utilities, RPU, a division of the City of Rochester, is the largest municipal utility in the state of Minnesota. RPU serves more than 42,000 electric customers and more than 31,000 water customers, and has revenues nearing $100 million annually. RPU selected SAP for Utilities for its ability to effectively streamline RPU’s back-office and customer-facing functions. When compared to other vendors, SAP industry experience and financial stability convinced the evaluation committee. “RPU’s strategic service model is customer intimacy and SAP was the best overall choice to meet this model,” said Larry Koshire, general manager, RPU. “It will be an organizational change that will provide a comprehensive view of all customer interactions touching all aspects of our organization. It will position RPU to incorporate workflow technologies, design organizational metrics, review and change processes and allow interfaces for both external and internal customers.”
“Utility companies serve millions of customers and are a vital part of our daily lives,” said Chris Camino, senior vice president and general manager, Communications and Utilities, SAP Americas. “SAP’s ability to meet their requirements with a flexible, affordable solution is only the first part of our commitment to this market. Our on-going support and customer focus on midmarket utilities has resulted in growing market share and consistently increasing customer satisfaction scores. SAP has successfully grown its Utility practice to include more than 1,100 customers worldwide.”

Source: SAP AG

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