Industries Converge to Collaborate on a Joint Target: Energy Transition – Recap of the International SAP Conference for Energy & Utilities 2023
Last week the 17th International SAP Conference for Utilities and Energy took place in the beautiful city of Basel. There, I had the pleasure to welcome more than 800 customers, partners, and SAP colleagues from our Utilities and Energy Community to spend three days in interactive and inspiring workshops, roundtables, and discussions to exchange and network.
Being able to share with all our customers and partner our SAP Vision and Strategy to support our energy and utilities customer in their mission to reach net zero, is what drives me and gets me going every single day!
This is the video wrap to get an impression of the great energy and synergy at our event!
We kicked-off the event with a preconference day offering five deep dive workshops on S/4HANA Utilities and SAP Utilities Core, Asset Management, Customer Experience, Smart Metering combined with Energy Management and Distributed Energy Resources. A further workshop provided insights into the SAP for Oil, Gas, and Energy offerings. In the afternoon, the participants were able to participate in “Open Door Sessions” such as E-Mobility, Smart Water, Sustainability, SAP Signavio, SAP’s Industry Cloud, and innovations with the SAP Business Technology Platform.
In parallel we hosted an Executive Digital Exchange for Energy and Water with more than 35 executives from the energy industry. Including presentations from Bain & Company, Jera, Fraunhofer, ChargeX, Exnaton, and other startups inspired the participants to a lively dialogue.
The official 1st conference day started with brief welcome, followed by inspirational keynotes from Janne Müller-Wieland, a passionate leader and 3 times Olympian as well as founder of Unthink, about team success, mindset and motivation as well as on the 2nd conference day Emily Penn, ocean advocate and founder of EXXpedition, talking about the required shift to Net Zero.
Looking into the audience during my keynote and seeing Utilities from all over the world was an incredible moment. When we get together, all of us are reminded of how diverse the industry is, not only due to regulated and deregulated markets, but also due to the manifold segments. And as diverse as the industry is, as manifold are the challenges. To name only a few: Decarbonization, Energy Supply Chain Resilience and the increasing energy demand and management of Distributed Energy Resources.
We are here to support our customers with our deep industry expertise and our holistic view on cross-industry scenarios and a broad partner ecosystem. Moreover, we stay on top of changes in the industry and the latest innovation as we work closely with our research partners and international associations.
One of these associations is the federation of the European electricity industry “Eurelectric” where we became recently a business member. We were pleased to have Kristian Ruby from Eurelectric at the conference and on stage with insights on People, Power and Platforms.
Last year at our conference in Munich I announced our SAP Utilities Core offering on top of RISE with SAP. The market release followed in July 2022. At the conference last week, myself and Uwe Zachmann (Head of Product Management Utilities) stated again the value of this integrated cloud offering with a simplified pricing model, relevant for all market roles and across all regions. First customers are already implementing the solution and we saw great interest at our conference in dedicated workshops and presentations. We are looking forward to path the way to the cloud for our customers combining a solid and proven core system with agile innovation.
As a central element of the overall transformation strategy and a key part of the SAP Utilities Core, SAP S/4HANA Utilities has been covered in several activities: in the pre-conference workshops, we offered a joint session for Utilities and Energy for the SAP S/4HANA transformation. Over the following two days there were various customer presentations on their successful transformation to SAP S/4HANA Utilities (e.g., E.ON Sweden, SAPN) next to a dedicated session of SAP for the innovations, system demos and further roadmap. The entire topic of SAP S/4HANA Utilities was completed through various system demos on FIORI, Analytics, Machine Learning etc.
As we are operating in an asset intensive industry, we also made Enterprise Asset Management one of the focus points. The Energy System needs to be renewed and processes in the asset lifecycle need to become more efficient and reliable to meet the requirements towards energy production and supply. To enable the energy transition many renewable generation facilities need to be built, distribution and transmission grids need to be enhanced. A detailed, long-term Asset Investment Planning taking the remaining useful life of the assets as well as the future energy demand into account is therefore required. Moreover, Asset Investment Planning has to be integrated with the next phases, the Portfolio and Project Management and the actual Construction Projects. Applying standard maintenance procedures like Reliability-Centered Maintenance and Failure Mode and Effects Analysis allows a risk and criticality analysis of the assets and thus an optimized maintenance strategy. Maintenance tasks should be automatically scheduled to the best matching field technician taking skills, availability and location into account. On site, mobile solutions support the technicians with up-to-date information and also allow them to update data. Augmented Reality enables hands free work and remote support from experts. In addition, Business Networks enable collaboration with other stakeholders like manufacturers and service providers. We made sure to touch upon the whole Asset Lifecycle throughout the conference days.
One of my highlights of the conference was the official announcement of SAP Delivering the Future of Intelligent Customer Experience for Utilities. We are investing in utility-specific service, sales, commerce, and marketing processes.
Intelligent Customer Experience (CX) is ever changing and as demanding as today’s consumers. We presented an updated roadmap ‘CX for Utilities’ with many new and exciting features added. Service Cloud v2 with the Utilities Add-On is ready for implementation planning, the resigned agent desktop, the account and premise processes and the guided move layout got great feedback at the demo booth. Sales Cloud v2 is also ready on the new cloud native platform and we expect energy retail processes to be added later this year. Commerce Cloud and TUA get an improved integration to SAP S/4HANA Utilities, simplifying the order management. Emarsys Customer Engagement now runs with utilities data for segmentation and campaigns, and we expect new utilities templates to automatically support customer journeys with communication. CDP plays an increased role in unifying customer data, creating a single source of truth for a C360 and better recommendations.
The SAP CX suite became more connected, adaptive and insightful. It meets the high expectations of our utility customers, whether it’s an upgrade in customer service or a transformation to a new retailer business model.
Another one of our major focus topics for utilities is Distributed Energy Resources (DER). DER is impacting the complete Energy Supply Chain and key processes related to Assets, Customers and Energy, processes traditionally managed by SAP. A business technology platform to manage these new use cases is required and SAP has this on top of the Utilities Strategy. It generated a great deal of interest during the conference, since the generation of energy with decentralized energy resources (DER Assets), such as photovoltaic cells for solar energy, wind turbines and local battery systems and their integration in the grid is becoming an increasingly important part of the energy transition to meet the increasing demand for energy. In our DER roundtable session, we discussed how utilities use these assets and design new programs and contribution opportunities for their consumers with our customers from all over the world. We had a very interesting workshop around DER where we explained our vision, strategy, and existing solutions to address the DER key use cases. This is one of the main utilities topics of the future to make #energytransition happen!
Observing the interest in our Sustainability slots it is evident that it is mandatory in day to day business. To reach the sustainability goals, we do not have a silver bullet to aim for as Emily Penn summarized during her keynote. But it is a team sport where each little action and decision counts. How team sport can look like, was visible during the sustainability track. Stephane Bungener (Senior Manager Energy & Environment, Yara International), Carsten Borchers (E.ON Hydrogen GmbH) and Jonas Moberg (CEO, The Green Hydrogen Organisation) gave the 50+ participants in this track great insight on how Yara International will reach zero emissions in 2050 with clear defined targets in 2025 and 2030 and how E.ON will help their more than 50 million customers and more than 32 thousand industrial sites to decarbonize with a focus on green gases.
Let’s make it happen together!
SAP’s ecosystem is broad and only with them we can transform our customers into sustainable, intelligent enterprises and leverage the full value of SAP and partner solutions. Therefore, the International Energy & Utilities Conference is always a great chance to see & meet many of them and let them show their latest innovations. The Business Technology Platform (BTP) and the Industry Cloud portfolio are the comprehensive offering and technology to complete our customers End to End processes. We also invited especially our smaller Industry Cloud partners and had a shared booth for them at the conference. All in all we had 38 partners with us in Basel.
As host, we welcomed many customers at our booth, explained our energy and utility-specific solutions firsthand and listened to our customers experiences as well as their challenges with all of our SAP experts. We had an outstanding Exhibition Area where innovative scenarios and technologies as the Metaverse could be experienced first-hand, along with a huge offering of SAP Solution Demos. We ran more than 200 demos in 2 days for our customers and partners.
Another personal highlight of this year’s conference was our 7th Business Women’s Networking Lunch, which was attended by more women and men than ever before.
It makes me truly happy to see our industry becoming a more diverse working environment!
In my opinion, inclusion and diversity are essential elements in tackling the complex challenges that lie ahead. That’s why my team and I always make sure to embrace this and bring the best of all individuals to the table. I was thrilled to witness that both men and women who took part in the lunch shared my passion for this subject and acknowledge its importance – we also had the pleasure of welcoming three outstanding women to this year’s BWN who shared their impressive stories and experiences with us as speakers.
Finally, I am delighted to see that this year’s conference has initiated a range of positive outcomes. The event served as a platform to create strong connections, fostering an experience exchange among participants and helped to broaden networks for better cross-industry collaboration to create innovative business models that benefit future generations.
I am confident that this energy will persist, and in collaboration with our customers, we will make a substantial contribution to the #energy transition.
A big thank you to the ENTIRE SAP TEAM for making this event possible. All of our customers and partners witnessed how your passion, dedication and our joint team spirit leads to positive outcomes for them and their businesses.
#oneteam #collaboration #partnership #energytransition
So let’s make sure to save the date for our next on-site conference in Seville, Spain from April 23-25, 2024.