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Author's profile photo James McClelland

Key Takeaways from the 10th SAP International Utilities Conference

What an event!

Over 1200 attendees, representing over 220 different utilities and oil & gas companies gathered in Berlin this past week to collaborate, share ideas, discuss strategies and learn more on what SAP S/4 HANA means to their industry.

After attending the utilities portion of the event, it was clear to me some key takeaways.

  1. There was life before SAP S/4 HANA (in-memory computing)  – but it won’t last long!

SAP S/4 HANA is the foundation for the future, and the future is now, not 10 years, not 8 years, but now. Business is changing, and utilities must reinvent themselves, or at least be looking at new business models, whether it be an aggregator of services, a lead finder for other organizations, a reseller of products or become a general service provider of energy related products. If the utility does not become the hunter,they will become the hunted.

2.     What you see in your rear view mirror is closer than you think – Cloud computing is moving fast

The transition to cloud computing is as inevitable as the move from paper based accounting to computer based.Within 10 years utilities that have not moved to the cloud will very much be In the minority.

3.     In school a 95% is an A+, in utilities, falling 5% short of perfection spells disaster

A wonderful story of great success and a hardy struggle to regain the confidence and respect of your customer.Although, some views stated at the conference the customer does not want a relationship with their utility, it has become more evident that the customer and the utility of the future do want a relationship. This created a great debate, and I would like to hear your thoughts, but it is my belief the customer does want to have a greater voice to their energy supplier, not only when the lights, gas or water go off, but energy usage contracts customized on how I use my energy. Multi-channel customer service, here we come.

4.     It really is Simplify, Innovate and Execute

Not much of a mantra, but it does make sense. As business becomes more complex with the growth of data, new technologies such a wearables, in-memory computing, cloud computing, and who knows what is next coming down the pipe, these were developed to help make life more simple. Do not fight change, but embrace it. It is so much easier than to fight a winless fight.

I will be sharing some of the key presentations in the near future, but would be interested in hearing your thoughts on what the future will bring.

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