In their tenth year, the SAP4U Excellence in Utilities Awards broke several records. Over the course of a four-month process – and spanning five unique award categories – SAP received over 35 nominations, and counted over 10,000 votes. In fact, races were so tight that our awards committee from within the utilities committee certainly broke a record for time spent deliberating!
In the end, six organizations were recognized as being the best in industry. Each accepted their much-deserved award on the mainstage, in front of over 1,000 peers in Huntington Beach.
Utility of the Year: DTE Energy
Several years ago, DTE Energy set out to replace their existing, complex CIS with numerous and disparate data sources into one, simplified solution landscape. There was need to improve capabilities in the areas of customer service, back office billing, and revenue management. Together with Accenture, they created a culture of “this is an enterprise project, not an IT project. They went live on time, within 5% of budget, and no defects.
They delivered for their customers in a way that satisfies all of the optionality a customer might demand in terms of channel, payment options, and communication and mobility preferences. On top of this, they’ve also forged a path around how they will transform in the areas of procurement, human capital management, and travel expense.
In so many ways, they are becoming one of the leading digital utilities in the United States, with an audacious and aggressive roadmap on which they keep delivering.
Excellence in Customer: Washington Gas & Tampa Electric
TECO In the words of TECO President and CEO, "the last time we upgraded our customer billing systems, the term "internet" wasn't even in the public sphere!" Needless to say, an upgrade to CRM on HANA has been a welcome improvement - better serving the 1.5 million residents of Tampa based on their unique preferences. The project was delivered on time, with nearly all necessary metrics hit within 3 months of go live.
Washington Gas WGL had ambitious goals to improve their customer experience, and a mainframe CIS implemented in the 1970's wasn't going to get them there. This included 12 different CIS mainframe applications, leading to an ever increasing level of difficulty in managing. Enter Customer Relationship and Billing on HANA, which has accounted for reduced call times, self-service improvements, and improved collections within weeks of launch.
Excellence in Operations: Xcel Energy
Through their PTT – Productivity Through Technology – initiative, launched in 2014, Xcel Energy embarked on a multi-year enterprise transformation to improve their customer experience, drive operational efficiencies, and embrace a competitive mindset. This enables the “One Xcel Energy Way” across multiple business units. The core of PTT is focused on the development of a new WAM solution, which will deploy to its five operating companies and over 14,000 stakeholders across its territory.
Four deployments are under their belt, and a fifth and final is weeks away. Two reasons PTT is thriving is due to 1) They have an incredible partnership between the business and IT, and 2) this transformation has been a mandate from the CEO on down – full transparency and communicated often.
Excellence in Business Transformation: Puget Sound Energy
Puget Sound Energy completed both a financial and customer transformation to better realize a truly live business. An entire migration of ECC, CRM, and BW to Suite on HANA has helped the utility find financial efficiency, with future benefit coming from an ERP reconfiguration. A better customer experience was also enabled by the call center efficiency brought upon by BW.
Currently, the team is engaged heavily in a historic “get to zero” program to further streamline operations and intently focus on customer satisfaction.
Utility Partner of the Year: Accenture
There are so many proof points that distinguished Accenture for this award, but three customers in particular really encapsulate Accenture’s great year with utilities. In addition to enabling the Digital Utility at DTE and Xcel Energy (above), there was great success at CenterPoint as well.
Here, Accenture and SAP announced the co-development of a next generation, predictive analytics solution for asset management to enable condition based maintenance. The SAP PdMS for Utilities is now a Tier One product for Asset Health and Risk Management. Since the products formal release in December, two (2) releases have followed and have significantly improved equipment uptime in transmission and distribution, as well as maintenance and equipment replacement planning.
Thanks to all of those who cast the nearly 11,000 votes – took the time to submit some incredible nominations – and especially to those who were able to join us in Huntington Beach for the 10th Annual SAP for Utilities Conference! We look forward to the continued relationship that has made our industry so successful, as we aim to better serve the needs of you and your customers.
Congratulations again to our winners, and best of luck in the coming year – as the next SAP4U Excellence Award winners embark on their transformation journey. See you in San Antonio!