Utilities Business scenario has become very complex – from understanding the customer needs to incorporating the strategic Business changes and then measure the impact of new retail outlets, promotions, services on sales and margins – the success depends on an organization’s ability to efficiently extract actionable information from large volumes of data. Furthermore, the knowledge gained must be used quickly to build superior product offerings, strategic promotions and improved customer service.
Despite the above fact many Utility players tend to be poor in terms of information. The vast pool of data that they have is not put to effective use and the desired information that can be extracted out of them is yet to make much headway.
With the advent of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX Compliance), acute concerns about timeliness, accuracy, and consistency reach well beyond the IT department. Internal controls and trustworthiness of financial figures are key concerns for every CEO and CFO who has to attest to a financial statement. Compliance can be difficult or easy to obtain, depending on the route you take. Isolated data warehouse implementations take you down a difficult and expensive path to compliance. And it’s a path marred by risk. You extract information from a data warehouse, manipulate it with external tools, and then return the revised data to the system. There is no single version of the truth, and data modifications cannot be traced or audited.
The Real-Time Enterprise
For some years now, Gartner and other industry analysts have been evangelizing the real-time enterprise. A real-time enterprise is an organization that leverages technology to reduce the gap between when data is recorded in a system and when it is available for information processing. The idea is to get relevant information into the hands of decision-makers as soon as possible.
In Utilities Industry specifically in Retail segment, it is important because it often involves complex, multiple step processes requiring quick decisions about different kinds of business events—for example, what actions to take when a vendor is late with a delivery, or what if sales targets are drastically falling short.
But gaining the benefits of real-time information isn’t just a question of making a management decision to go for it and installing a specific piece of technology. Moving to become a real-time enterprise is a process that demands certain organizational attitudes and the support of an appropriate technology platform. Let’s take a look at three important areas to consider in terms of organization and then follow up by looking at three important areas in terms of technology.
What CIO’s Want
1. Solidified risk management
The solutions support efficient load-schedule management, forecasting, and management of high-volume interval data. They also integrate information and processes from portfolio management, energy trading, and risk management.
2. Improved customer relationship management
The solutions deliver personalized services and provide up-to-the minute information about interaction history, technical environment, and account status. They also support the offering of new products and bundled services, and provide effective tools for designing and executing marketing campaigns.
3. Increased asset usage and reliability
Utilities solutions from SAP help you manage assets by integrating information and processes from finance, procurement, maintenance, operational safety, and workforce management.
4. Efficient and automated back-office processes
Designed to support mass processing of consumption and customer related financial data, SAP Solutions for Utilities integrate customer service with finance, and enable compliance with local laws and regulations.
5. Streamlined collaborative services and deregulation processes
SAP Solutions for Utilities provide efficient and automated exchange of data with market participants, enabling supplier switching as well as payment and settlement processes.
6. Optimized procurement
The solution set helps you streamline procurement and revision processes, leading to reduced material inventory and efficient collaboration with contractors and suppliers.
7. Effective corporate governance and regulatory compliance
Online controls for auditors and support for whistle blowers enable you to address legal requirements, reduce the risk of noncompliance, and improve corporate governance.
8. Reduced (TCO) total cost of ownership
With SAP Solutions for Utilities, you can integrate existing legacy systems, third party solutions with complete my SAP Suite products including plant and geographic information systems, Strategic Enterprise Management and automated meter-reading systems. Composed and consolidated Business Solution presents an Integrated Enterprise Solution which impacts optimized operation cost and process control.
Know Your KPIs
A defining characteristic of the real-time enterprise is corporate commitment to timely, informed decision-making. This commitment starts from the top. Management translates corporate strategy into operational key performance indicators (KPIs), the metrics used to monitor and measure operational performance. In this way, management helps to ensure decisions are made on an informed basis and are in line with corporate strategy.
Businesses need to define a set of KPIs that reflect financially, customer, supplier, and other process-centric metrics. But defining KPIs is just the first step. For KPIs to deliver value, technology is required to make them visible to operational managers and to update the measures automatically as the activity takes place in the business management systems that feed the metrics.
Identify Key Events
Real-time information delivery is frequently triggered by some kind of event that occurs in a business management application. Simple examples of these events in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) context include stock-outs in inventory management, a lost order in a customer relationship system, a shortfall in sales target, or maybe a late delivery in a purchase order system. A real-time enterprise identifies the events that impact the business, either positively or negatively, and puts the technology in place to recognize and respond to those events as they occur in a business management system. This ensures that no significant business event goes unnoticed by managers and helps to prevent situations that could be avoided—such as lost orders, delayed parts, or unhappy customers.
Monitor your KPF’s
It’s important in today’s business scenario to closely monitor your Key Success Factors or Key Performance Factors (KPF).
Business Intelligence can help corporate to have sufficient information analytics to monitor the Key Performance Factors.
Understand Your Stakeholders
Every organization has a wide range of stakeholders on whom its success depends. These stakeholders include internal employees as well as external business partners and investors. The real-time enterprise aims to ensure all stakeholders are informed as quickly as possible of events that are relevant to them. This makes every stakeholder feel connected to and engaged in the business.
By clearly identifying stakeholder groups, management can ensure that appropriate information is channeled to these groups on a publish-subscribe basis. In this scenario, every business management application is a potential publisher of information and every stakeholder a potential subscriber to this information. For example, you could publish a sales report of a particular retail outlet; this could be subscribed by vendors/suppliers to the retailer, the management of the retail chain, etc. Technology is used to ensure stakeholders have the means to get appropriate information when it suits them and in formats, they can use.
Portals as a Channel for Information Dissipation
Portals are Web pages that deliver a personalized or role-based view of knowledge and business applications to users. The content and functionality may be sourced from inside and outside the organization. In a real-time enterprise, portals play a crucial role in delivering information, especially in the form of event alerts and KPIs. By packaging information and application access to suit the needs of a stakeholder role such as employee, customer, or supplier portals supplement e-mail and provide another channel to communicate with stakeholders. certainly, it has reached beyond the enterprise.
Real-time Enterprise Analytics
Enterprise decision making is demanding for instant analysis of business critical operations. It reduces the opportunity cost for the organization and results in quicker response to critical situations.
Maximizing Data Center Reliability and Utilization
Companies that own or lease data center space have the challenge of maintaining near 100% availability while keeping costs down. These goals are made more difficult by an environment of constant change, a minimum of operations staff, and an increasingly complex infrastructure of power distribution, reliability equipment, cooling systems and changing server loads, etc. The organization seeks for a solution by delivering a unified view of the performance of all area of operations through unique reach and depth of analytics that helps to maximize reliability, reduce risk, improve efficiencies, and cost-effectively manage the growth of the enterprise.
Putting historical and key performance indicators to work, Utility organizations gain valuable business insight which when is easily accessible and actionable, results in increased sales and margins, controlled operations cost and better customer satisfaction.
Increased User Productivity and Confidence
Once reporting source for critical and accurate information is available to all users – user productivity tends to increase when well-defined targets or benchmarks have to be met.
Improved Customer Relationships and Profitability
By enabling a cross-channel analysis of current customers purchasing habits to ensure that they will be future customers; using marketing intelligence capabilities and with efforts to identify, engage, retain and acquire new customers in the most profitable segments becomes easier.
Improved Data Accuracy
A single source of data used by multiple users increases the consistency and accuracy of data. Redundancy of the Enterprise data is removed to have a holistic view across the enterprise.
Improved Performance & Alert
Exception reports available that highlight the “best of” and the “worst of” performance indicators allowing users to focus on the opportunities of the “best of” and take action to correct the “worst of” performers and performances. Auto alert monitoring system can reach the Business owners beforehand it impacts business further.
SAP Business Intelligence to address the concerns
The number of SAP customers deploying Business Information Warehouse is quickly increasing, driven by SAP’s strategy of providing Business Analytics through SAP BI as “required” component of the my SAP Net Weaver suite. Many enterprises recognize the value offered by BW’s tight integration with R/3 and extensive predefined business content.
SAP positions it’s Business Information Warehouse (BW) product as a business intelligence (BI) platform with data warehousing capabilities. It takes data from SAP transactional modules and non-SAP data, integrates the data, and provides query and reporting capabilities to users. There are approximately 5,000 BW
installations worldwide with some or all components of BW.
Enterprise Data Warehousing
Enterprise Data Warehousing is the sum of all the decisions that have to be taken at the corporate level in order to obtain a durable solution that adheres to business-wide, specified guidelines, and fulfills all requirements for integrated, consistent and structured information. The more complex an enterprise’s structures, the more important it is to have corporate-wide guidelines and recommendations for the implementation of BW. It ensures long-term consistency and reduced costs.
SAP BI offerings
It provides tools, such as query, reporting, and multidimensional analysis, to support collaborative decision making. Users can access data on detail or summary levels, and they can analyze and share business information using a Web browser. Users can create their own reporting environments, graphically represent data, and visualize relationships between business information and industry benchmarks to produce comparative analysis.
SAP BI visually represents data analysis in a variety of formats, including grids, graphs, maps, and more. SAP BI offers a Decision Dashboard reporting environment for the Managers through Enterprise Portal.
Factors such as large data volumes, unpredictable usage patterns, and intense demands from users for fast response times can make performance optimization challenging, time-consuming and costly.
Turbo-charge your query and analytic performance with SAP NetWeaver BI accelerator, when working with SAP’s business intelligence (BI) solution. The BI accelerator is an innovative technology that provides extraordinary
improvements to query and analytic performance using state-of-the-art improved search engine technology.
SAP BI – SEM is used to create a balanced scorecard that provides KPIs in 4 important areas: customer, finance, internal process, and learning/growth. Identify the organizational and technical challenges that were encountered and how they were overcome.
Strategic planning and enterprise performance management
It’s a reality using SAP BW and BPS seamlessly integrated planning, reporting, and analytics activities. Organization is leveraging SAP BW in conjunction with BI-BPS to continuously improve business performance by defining and modeling customized key business performance metrics, such as booked sales, day’s sales outstanding and sales backlog.
Business Consolidation & Integrated Planning
Integrated Planning with Strategic Enterprise Management enhance your company’s overall reporting and performance management capabilities by integrating SAP Business Intelligence and SEM Business Consolidation System (BCS) for consolidated corporate reporting. Integrating BI and SEM-BCS can enhance the visibility of reported financial results, improve performance, and establish consistent results across all reported data and create a data model that integrates consolidated and non-consolidated data.
BI with Mobile Intelligence
It allows a BW Web Application to be displayed on different devices leads to an operational advantage for a business with a geographical spread with field It brings a very positive impact in the business tapping the functions like device recognition, generation of device-specific graphics (e.g. WBMP for WAP), server-based processing of style-sheets for PDA, offline usage of BW PDA applications through the BW Reporting Agent, alerts via SMS (for WAP) for user.
SAP NetWeaver BI delivers significant business intelligence benefits to the business. It addresses the Business KPI’s and Users can securely access consistent and timely information, collaborate with each other and can make quick decisions and act fast. It results in an increase of their efficiency & productivity. It reduces the need for IT support for the organization, cuts down TCO, discovers new business opportunities and mitigates existing business challenges.