SAP energy transition
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The power sector is undergoing a major transition that will demand a transformation in utility companies.

We must look around to find examples of this new reality, which includes end-customers that are becoming competitors, new players that are joining the utility markets, consumers that are evolving into prosumers, utility companies that are offering new products and services to their end customers, and an increasing demand for improved customer experience.

As a whole, utility industry players are putting the customer in the centre of their business and are focusing on innovation to stay relevant in the market.

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International issue 1-2020. Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

This new situation demands new transformation programmes in the industry to secure an evolution in the right direction. These large transformation programmes are in line with the decentralisation of the utility business. These aim to capture new revenue streams in emerging customer investment areas, such as smart homes, electro-mobility, and distributed generation.

To meet these market demands, utility companies can adopt new technology suites and platforms to address key business needs in the industry. Designed to support lead-to-cash processes that can enable utilities to capture new opportunities and develop fresh business models in the dynamic market for innovative commodity and non-commodity products, SAP will be launching a new cloud platform in 2020 which will reduce the cost-to-serve and secure the core and commodity business activities.

This suite will also allow the utility industry to jump into new revenue streams, putting the customer in the centre of the business and maximising the products and services offered to the end customer. Additionally, these new products and services will hit the market faster for utility companies looking to adopt them.

New cloud platforms in the market will also support the evolution of businesses moving to the Intelligent Enterprise. SAP’s new platform, created specifically for the utility industry, will ensure continuous improvement and automatisation from new technologies to support this evolution, enabling them to become a self-running utility.

A few of the major business benefits that the utility industry can expect to see in return for adopting a utilities cloud platform suite include:

Product definition and marketing

Companies can now accelerate the time to market for new energy products and services, and bundle them into attractive customer solutions. A cloud platform allows a business to gain insights into a customer’s needs and preferences and deliver personalised customer experiences.

Order fulfilment

This includes the order-related process steps between selling to the customer and billing, including hardware that has to be shipped, services that have to be managed and conducted by technicians, subscriptions and commodity contracts that have to be activated, and the status that has to be monitored.

Billing and revenue management

A cloud platform also offers new streamlined and highly automatised billing and invoicing solutions that capture usage streams, rate customer usage, generate consistent invoices, manage in- and outgoing payments, and secure revenue streams for all kind of products – from commodity to non-commodity.

Market communication

With insights from the cloud, companies are now able to define a common model or platform across countries for communication exchange processes between market participants in deregulated countries and regions.

Fifteen utility companies have joined in on the innovation to bring a cloud platform to the industry, and represent over 100 million customers globally – these include EDP, rku.it, Conergos, Innogy and MVV. Companies like these have partnered with SAP in its co-innovation journey to assist early adopters in the utility industry to become more customer-centric multi-service providers.

In 2020, we’ll see utility providers look for new technologies that will assist them in creating a unified and efficient service experience for their customers. By bridging the gap between front-office engagements and back-office processes, those in the utility industry have the potential to meet market needs, support their customers, and act efficiently in their processes to create a stronger customer experience for all.

Utility providers can ensure an effective order fulfilment for the products and services sold in omni-channel mode to B2C customers.

About Mateu Munar:

Mateu Munar is Senior Director, Go-to-Market Lead for SAP Cloud for Utilities at SAP