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United Energy Distribution and Multinet Gas have a problem – Information Envy.

United Energy and Multinet Gas own and manage the distribution networks that deliver electricity and gas to 1.2 million customers in Victoria Australia. They recently implemented SAP HANA in 4 months and from day one they were blown away by the surprising insights into their operations. This rapidly attracted interest from all parts of the organisation.  Now everyone wants similar insight into their part of the of the business.

Trailblazers Lead the Way

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Utility companies were talking with trepidation about a “Tsunami of Data” from smart grid devices and smart meters and despairing at the seas of “Dark Data” that flowed from these operational systems into long term storage never to be used again.

In response, a first wave of trailblazers embraced SAP’s in-memory technology and proved that HANA could tame Utility grade big data for everything from customer engagement to long term demand forecasting. These pioneering Utilities helped drive forward the development of HANA as they delivered unique solutions to prove the technology for their businesses.  Their innovative stories are well told:

The Second Wave

Of course many companies are risk averse and don’t want to be trailblazers so we are now seeing a second wave of Utilities looking for proven solutions to simplify the way they manage data and generate insight. The good news is that in the last 4 years the technology has matured as HANA has evolved from revision 16 in 2011 to revision 90 by the end of 2014. This maturity is evidenced by the rapid, on time, on budget HANA implementations of Utilities like United Energy Distribution and Multinet Gas. Along the way the HANA technology has passed the maturity tipping point to become mainstream, feverishly copied by competitors and a magnet for partners to develop complementary solutions such as SAS, ESRI, OSIsoft, Space Time InsightFichtnerRolta. If your Utility had any lingering doubts that the technology was ready for prime time, then these should have been put to rest by the S4 HANA launch where SAP indicated that in the future core business applications will only run on HANA. Not surprisingly then, these days Utilities are no longer focused on “Proof of Concept” projects to prove the technology but rather “Proof of Value” activities to demonstrate the business case.  This is important because the business case for a HANA deployment involves not only IT benefits but more importantly business benefits.

IT Benefits

The IT benefits for HANA involve reduced cost of administration, hardware and software according to Forrester and up to a 50% reduction in report development effort according to Southern California Edison (play video from 18:25).

Business Benefits

The business benefits for analytics can be more difficult to quantify and get signed off in a business case. This is why a Proof of Value can be so powerful. As United Energy Distribution and Multinet Gas found out, it can be hard for business process owners to imagine analytics that are impossible with business as usual technologies.  However  when they see insight delivered on their own business data in a way that could never be done before, business people recognise the value immediately.

You never know, you may inspire Information Envy amongst your business also. Wouldn’t that be a good problem to have?

If you would like to know more come to the International SAP Conference for Utilities and see the presentation “Information  Next – Building an Innovative and Customer-Centric Platform” Anna Manojlovic, United Energy & Multinet Gas.

If you are building a HANA business case you can find free business case templates and questionnaires using the SAP Value Life Cycle Management tool.

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