Just a few weeks ago close to a 1000 professionals in the Utilities industry came together in San Antonio, Texas for the 11th annual SAP for Utilities conference. We had almost 100 utilities represented, not just from the USA and Canada also from South America, Asia and Europe.
I apologize right at the beginning that I will not be able to list all the great presentations, there was just too much. So I am just picking a few examples.
One theme for the conference was Purpose. And Paula Gold-Williams, President and CEO of CPS Energy did an excellent keynote explaining how powerful CPS as a purpose driven utility acts.
In this presentation as well in many others it became clear that all the utilities have a vision for purpose. They know they are not just serving the customer who is paying the bill, they are serving families, businesses, the community. They all are asking the question how can we serve them better or how Retha Hunsicker, Vice President from Duke Energy described it in her presentation:
This leads to the other theme of the conference, Transformation. Everyone agrees that the utilities industry at large is undergoing rapid transformation. Whether it is technology, commercial, regulation and not the least customer expectation.
During the conference we heard from many utilities how they are taking advantage of new technologies to enable and accelerate their business transformation. The interest also showed in the large attendance to the SAP presentations for example on SAP S/4HANA Utilities for Customer Management by Robert Straubinger or the Roundtable on Cloud for Utilities by Axel Memminger.
With Energy Data being a key element of the transformation the need for better, smarter management for that data becomes critical. The exploding volume of consumption data is not even the most critical aspect. Accessing and analyzing this data for customer information, rate and grid planning, new products and services is becoming a challenge for conventional solutions. Here we presented our Cloud for Energy which provides a SaaS solution to utilities in all roles.
In our keynote, Dieter Körber, Vice President and Chief Product Owner for Utilities at SAP and I addressed how SAP is supporting utilities to transform into true intelligent enterprises. Key message is, the SAP platform is bringing Data, Processes and the right technology together to enable those intelligent processes. Here an example how this could look like, showing the addition of intelligence (some available today others planned) to a sample process (Lead to Cash):
SAP is continuously investing to build out our solution, improving integration to further simplify end-to-end processes as well as to enable business innovation through our platform and the SAP Leonardo intelligent technologies.
Inge Opreel, CIO of Farys, a large water utility in Belgium which is already using SAP S/4HANA said it best:
“Even in regulated markets, it’s important to invest in innovation. To improve your quality and efficiency, to create additional services to your customers, to meet sustainability goal of clean water and sanitation, … SAP helps us stay ahead and be prepared for whatever the future holds.”
Of course SAP is not the only vendor here. There is a great ecosystem of partners and the best were at the conference:
The show floor was buzzling throughout the days with people, networking, discussing and solving problems.
So, in case you were there, you know what I am talking about and in case you missed it, I hope I stirred your interested enough to join us for the next installment! See you 2019 in San Diego for the 12th SAP For Utilities Conference!