The Four Top Transformation Initiatives of Leading Utilities
Where’s the best place to start? Which transformation project should be your utility’s top priority?
When people ask for advice on choosing their transformation initiatives, I always look to the experiences of proven industry leaders. After all, who knows better how to execute these initiatives than the organizations that did so successfully?
Here are my top-four transformation initiatives for utilities, along with the solutions that helped spur their success. If your company is ready for change, consider following these leaders.
Adapt to changes in consumer energy market regulations
A European power company faces government regulations designed to make the country climate-neutral and less reliant on energy imports over the next 30 years. To prepare for the liberalization of the energy market, the utility wanted to offer innovative services beyond traditional energy supplies.
Meeting this goal required new processes and workflows. Existing process documentation made it hard to find information or support transparent, enterprise-wide communication. And it was impossible to simulate new processes or automate existing processes. To enable the best processes and workflows, the utility needed cutting-edge process intelligence technology.
By deploying business process transformation solutions from the SAP Signavio portfolio, the utility eased the capture, standardization, sharing, and automation of processes needed to support regulatory change. The company’s overview of process management now focuses on operational excellence, rather than just documentation. The SAP Signavio solutions offered standardized, transparent process mapping, and the utility published 75% of its business processes. The solutions also support clear visualization and process sharing across business areas.
As a result of this initiative, the utility significantly improved process times and costs, while simplifying communications between business units. Now the company has the agility to keep up with ever-changing regulations.
Improve internal efficiency
A large transnational waste and water management company found that its time-consuming, manual processes increased contractual risk with suppliers. The utility wanted to streamline invoicing processes to reduce delays and errors in the procure-to-pay (P2P) process.
But understanding where refinements were needed required better insight into bottlenecks. The utility also needed enhanced process governance to detect process compliance risks and violations.
Using business process transformation solutions from the SAP Signavio portfolio, the company boosted efficiency in several P2P areas. The new solutions reduced the time needed to register supplier invoices from more than 10 days to just minutes. And supplier invoices are paid faster than ever before.
The utility can pinpoint suppliers whose backdated invoices create registration delays, and managers receive alerts when procedures are incorrectly applied to certain invoices or suppliers. This insight helps the company identify and monitor the risk of missing a supplier payment deadline. That’s a great way to use increased process efficiency to reduce contractual risk.
Meet shifting customer demand
Consumers around the world are demanding more sustainable utilities. Recognizing this, one energy, water, and telecommunications firm in Europe focused on transforming its offerings from fossil fuels to a renewable, climate-friendly energy supply.
Yet meeting this demand required efficient, customer-friendly business processes and workflows. In addition, the organization wanted its departments to use automation to reduce manual workloads and make service processes more adaptable.
Business process transformation solutions from the SAP Signavio portfolio helped the utility improve its ability to meet dynamic customer needs. Process automation decreased manual labor, vastly improving process times and lowering costs. The company developed robotic process automation to check implausible meter readings – which saved the equivalent of two full-time positions per year and provided a responsive way to address consumer complaints about high bills.
Now the utility runs optimized, adaptable service processes that can meet demand faster and with more flexibility. No matter which services and features future customers require, the company will be ready with processes that support cleaner, more sustainable energy.
Standardize processes across the enterprise
To support digital transformation, a global utility recognized that it needed to unify and standardize processes across its multiple subsidiaries.
To get started, the company had to determine which processes needed standardization and how to best optimize each one. That required a detailed assessment and model of each process. Decision-makers also needed to understand the responsibilities and duties associated with each process.
With business process transformation solutions from the SAP Signavio portfolio, the utility gradually standardized processes across multiple business units. Process intelligence capabilities helped identify rogue processes and bring them into compliance. This standardization enabled a 60% reduction in processing costs, increased process efficiency, and simplified communications across business divisions.
The utility is now considering adding new process mining capabilities that will help ensure process uniformity and transparency across all business units. I think it’s a great next step toward the ultimate goal of enterprise-wide digital transformation.
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