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Author's profile photo Henry Bailey

Reaching New Heights for the Digital Utility

As I reflect on our 14th International Utilities and Oil & Gas Conference in Lisbon, I wanted to share some of the key numbers, learnings and takeaways from this year’s event.

There were over 1000 total attendees with over 600 utility professionals and 55 partners representing the SAP ecosystem. Clearly the priorities have changed over the past 2 years.  In 2016, energy companies were still trying to figure out whether digital transformation is real or a fad.

Today, however, the discussion is based on experience – no longer on expectations. Customers and partners discussed how to use digital technology to optimize processes, extend the value they extract from their activities, and how to transform the business for new outcomes.

Henry Bailey, SAP Global Vice President, Utilities Industry Business Unit

My keynote focused on a digital utility journey rationalizing the 5 top strategies including engaging with the digital prosumer, embracing residential and commercial solar adoption, new services for the electric vehicle transition, offering microgrid management and understanding where blockchain adds value for transactive energy.  I also touched on our Leonardo for Utilities strategy, showing how our customers use our technologies to re-imagine their business and the way people work.


Stephan Parthier, Senior Vice President of Corporate IT, Uniper

Key customers like Stephan Parthier then presented on how Uniper is leveraging digital to support the energy industry transformation.  Stephan talked about how and why Uniper developed a digital transformation roadmap, what was essential for the success from their perspective and discussed several use cases critical to this success including one that involves Blockchain!


Phil Crannage, Centrica (left)

Another key customer, Phil Crannage, presented on how Centrica is enabling their business with digital transformation and described their S/4HANA journey and their Ariba procurement transformation.  Phil stated that the S/4HANA transition was “not difficult at all.”  He also shared with the audience some great lessons learned and gave good feedback to SAP as well!


Energy Executive Panel

Peter Maier, SAP GM of Energy & Natural Resources, later hosted a panel session which included the top executives from major energy companies such as Shell, SA Power Networks and CenterPoint Energy.  Peter also included two (2) start-up companies Enersis and XMPro in the discussion.  The conversation focused on the digital transformation, blockchain, situational awareness and responding to catastrophic events such as hurricanes and wild fires.


Leonardo for Utilities

Leonardo is already everywhere. Here we have a showcase built by Ashraf Hamed (the guy in the hardhat) and his team. We use IoT, machine learning, and mobile devices with image recognition to predict the failure of the pump, to assist in repairs, and to read the gauges.


E.ON Future Lab

E.ON (3rd largest Utility in Germany) is running their E.ON Future Lab to test and showcase new digital technologies and use cases. We work closely with them to make our Leonardo technologies tangible for E.ON’s employees and decision makers. Here we analyze 12 million households for energy efficiency to identify new good reasons for E.ON to engage with municipalities and their residents around innovative energy products and services.


Business Women Network

This year we had the 4th Business Women Network (BWN) lunch hosted by Florence Hanemann. Her 62 guests discussed the role of women in leadership and how they orchestrate and moderate the digital transformation in their companies. After a very small start in 2015 with only 18 participants, Flo has grown the BWN into an institution which attracts leaders like Emma Southwood (HR Lead, HR System & Integration of Suncor Energy), Silke Lehmann (Global Lead for Oil & Gas SAP Solutions of Accenture, Inge Opreel (Head of ICT of Farys), Laura Tibodeau (CIO)  of Americas Styrenics), Kimberley Reid (VP from Hitachi Consulting), and Delaney Bellinger (CIO of Huntsman). Her BWN chapter is one of only three BWN industry chapters and something SAP is proud to sponsor every year.



Benjamin Beberness, SAP Global VP O&G and Henry Bailey, SAP Global VP Utilities

 Benjamin and I had a great time in Lisbon with our customers, partners and SAP colleagues.  This was our 4th year co-locating the event with the Oil & Gas industry and the event continues to get better each year.  I hope to see everyone at next year’s SAP International Utilities and Oil & Gas event!

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