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As I sat in my darkened house after Hurricane Sandy blew through, the burning question was ‘when is the power expected to come on?’  One night of ‘pretend camping’ with 4 sons and no power is amusing, more than that is, well, torture.  If the power wasn’t expected to return the next day, I needed to dust of my Marriott points and scour the area for one that was humming, indoor pool preferred.  The only thing operational in my house was my iPad and iPhone.  Too bad my Utility company didn’t have an app with restoration estimates by location.

SAP just launched an app for that – SAP Utilities Customer Engagement App.  The Android version has posted already and can be found here.  I expect to see it post to iTunes shortly.  What I like most about this app is it allows two way communication with customers on outages.   The customer can report an outage, receive alerts from the utility company on outages, and view a map of their outage with an estimated time for resolution.  In the screen shot below you see in green – “estimated restoration.” 

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For the Utilities consumer, Utilities companies can revolutionize customer care and improve customer intimacy through mobile apps. 

  • Customers want to track their energy usage to not only manage the rising cost of energy but also to reduce the impact of energy usage on the environment.  Utilities want to satisfy customer needs and also support the National Energy Conservation Policy Act.
  • Like me, most customers want real time information on outages in their area, mobile apps can do this, two way, and using geo-location.  Hurricane Sandy caused a 16,000% increase in usage for energy company websites, imagine the traffic for an app.  Customers want to not only see their bill but also to pay via mobile payments.  This allows utilities companies to shorten their bill cycles and reduce delinquency of accounts.

Mobile apps allow all of this in a multi-channel care environment with personalized information, anytime, anywhere.   SAP Utilities Customer Engagement App can do all of the above in one app

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In working with many utilities companies on their mobile strategy, it is clear that game changing mobile strategies revolve around three roles  –

  • Utilities consumer
  • Utilities supervisor
  • Utilities maintenance worker

And the interaction among the three groups through mobile apps creates the game changing scenario, like this.

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For the Utilities Supervisor and the Utilities Maintenance worker, SAP’s Work Manager & Inventory Manager (acquired offerings from Syclo) demonstrate how you can save significant costs and improve productivity through innovative mobile apps.  Add Analytics, Safety apps and productivity apps tied to your backend systems and it is a powerful mobile suite resulting in faster response times and more accurate billing.  SAP is bundling up these offerings by role and offering the most comprehensive mobile offering in the industry.

SAP Work Manager helped HP reduce the time spent on a work order by 45 minutes per day; and helped J&J reduce the cost of a work order from $9 to $4.50 per order.    More insight at the Syclo conference keynote by Rich Padula.   Rich has spent over 20 years as a leader in the mobile industry as the CEO of Syclo, now leading mobile app development for SAP.  He has great stories from the trenches of the early days in mobile.

Another great customer example is National Grid, one of the world’s largest utilities covering both Electrical Transmission Grid and Gas Transmission Network across the entire UK, as well as business in the Northeastern US, has over 4,000 mobile workers using SAP Work Manager mobile app to dispatch work orders and service requests without paperwork.  More on SAP Work Manager can be found here

Mobile revolutionizes not only the Utility companies ability to transform workforce productivity, but also a utility company’s customer intimacy.  SAP has the only 360 degree mobile solution for Utilities companies. 

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  1. Marilyn Pratt

    Sometimes it takes experience to allow us to fully empathize with another’s plight.  I too, experienced “Sandy” and I sent a rather irate tweet (during the brief window that I had blackberry access) to my Utility provider because communications around outages and restoration plans and mapping of them was quite a FAIL. 

    Interestingly, I had signed up for all the utility company “notifications” before losing power and thanks to a head’s up from Greg Chase was following the storm and predicted river surge and winds on google Crisis Maps http://google.org/crisismap/2012-sandy

    I’m hoping my service provider gives customers updates through an APP such as the one you share.  Thanks for this content Sharon.

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