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Here is an interesting use case from a North American utility: They have a department called ‘Forestry Service’ that does vegetation management, trimming trees and plants along power lines, there are countless trees in their service territory and most distribution lines are overhead. To prevent outages, tree trimming is an important task. Sometimes this group wants to notify customers before the work takes place because in a residential neighborhood a tree that is worked on could be on the customer property but extending towards the power line. And it also happens that customers are unhappy about the trimming, for example a branch fell on a rose bush and did some damage. The customer then calls the utility, complains and expects an answer or a follow-up. So, this vegetation business unit is looking for a customer service solution, one that works well in the office and in the field and is also somehow integrated with the backend. And they want their ‘own CRM’, not the one that the energy services colleagues use in the call center for move-in and out, payment arrangements and so on. It just just seems too big of a task to share this application. The forestry group wants something easy, light, mobile, quick to set-up and with a great user experience.

How about the SAP cloud for service solution?

First off, what would it take to set this up? Remember, this is a cloud solution, it is already up and running. All you need is a subscription license per user. Your tenant can also be connected to a backend. In this case the utility is running SAP ERP with IS-U, CRM on premise for the energy service related call center and SAP work manager for field service including the forestry crews. That’s good news because a lot of data is then automatically shared across applications, like customers, locations, service orders and more and still, there is one version of the truth. For example, the service orders are visible in the cloud for service solution as a standard. That cross-integration does not require any additional setup.

The landscape then looks like this:

This can be done in a few days, there is no big project or go-live with data loading. Then it can be simply accessed via a browser or mobile app on a tablet or phone. Let’s look into this mobile application a bit more. How different is the mobile app? If I compare the browser and mobile app side-by-side, they are nearly identical. A few functions are a bit different but the end user barely notices. Here are screen shots for a customer search and a service order change:

As you can see, it looks almost the same, the left is from a big desktop monitor and the right screen shots were done on an older iPad with lower resolution.

And then there is the mobile experience: A tablet is always on, touch is easier to navigate, I love the scrolling with the flick and the response seems even faster than using the browser. If you give end users a choice, they might use the mobile app in the office. In the field, it just needs connectivity for online use and some functions and data is also available in offline mode.

But, wait, doesn’t the mobile app require some extra setup? Again, we have it simplified. It literally does not exist. What needs to be done is downloading the standard app from a store (2min), pointing it to the cloud tenant (1min) and logging on. That’s it.

Why don’t you try it as well, it’s now rather easy to provide their ‘own CRM’ to a forestry department, the key account managers group or the energy conservation team. It even comes with the choice of desktop or mobile, and any user can use both.


PS: Yes, SAP Cloud for Customer Sales and Service also fully supports the core energy and water processes like move-in and out, payment arrangements and such. But the point here was about the ‘other CRMs’ that ‘the other departments’ want.