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Chris McClain

Mobile Fever Rising in Utilities

Posted by Chris McClain in SAP for Mobile on Mar 11, 2013 2:49:35 PM

In its recent Web conference, IDC presented its 2013 energy insights for utilities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The message that resonated most with me was IDC’s statement that “Boosted by apps, mobile fever will hit utilities.”

 

Of course, “mobile fever” has struck virtually every geography and every business and consumer environment. The fact that IDC felt it important to make this statement makes it all the more important to claw past the headline to understand its implications for all of us.

 

Take the case of National Grid, one of the biggest, privately-owned utility businesses in the world, for example... 

 

On a daily basis, National Grid´s mobile workers are on the road across their service areas in the UK and the northeastern United States, maintaining the company’s electricity and gas transmission infrastructure and fixing problems as they occur. To increase efficiency and ensure the safety of its workers, National Grid decided to deploy a mobile field force management solution to allow it to push work orders to its field workers equipped with mobile devices. Additionally, it wanted to provide those workers with mobile access to the information they required to execute emergency and maintenance tasks. Previously work dispatch processes were paper-driven, delaying response times.

 

By implementing the SAP Mobile Platform (formally the Syclo SMART Work Manager for Energy Delivery solution) and equipping its field force with mobile devices, managed by SAP Afaria, about 4000 mobile workers now have access to critical data needed for on-site maintenance and repairs of the energy grid. This means they can dispatch work orders and respond to service requests with zero paperwork. This mobile deployment is also helping National Grid mitigate the risk of injury by helping workers complete safety checks and follow safe work practices. To date, National Grid has realized a 20% improvement in productivity, attributable to its SAP mobile implementation. Most important, its employees can more effectively keep the energy flowing that keeps businesses running and supports people’s lifestyles.

 

The Danish company, DONG Energy, one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe, provides another impressive example of the value of implementing a single, standardized enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution.  It deployed SAP’s enterprise ready mobility platform to manage its mobile business requirements in production, sales, service logistics and warehousing across its multi-faceted energy production businesses.

 

In a blog she posted from the Annual SmartGrid World Conference in Madrid last fall, Alison Welch cited one example of the payback DONG is realizing as a result of this implementation. “Windmill maintenance,” she wrote, “is a big job. Normally it takes two weeks for two men to service a modern wind turbine. Using fully mobile documentation and checklists, DONG has been able to gain insight into timing of individual steps, allowing them to optimize the process and significantly reduce service cycle time.”

 

Here’s one more example of the power and value of SAP mobile technology in the utility sector.

 

Anglian Water is a leading UK provider of water and wastewater services. The company has several hundred field teams on the road each day to maintain, repair and enhance the company’s assets. To streamline the scheduling and management of these field personnel, Anglian Water relies on SAP Unwired Platform. Work crews are able to access work orders, locations and customer information from laptops via SAP Unwired Platform, employing the SAP Work Manager app and SAP CRM Service Manager. Field workers have responded very enthusiastically to this mobile deployment. Of course, the bottom line is that Anglian Water is now better able to respond quickly to outages and minimize service interruptions.

 

I could go on, but suffice it to say there are many more examples of how “mobile fever” has taken hold in the utility industry and how SAP technology is helping utility companies increase their efficiency and profitability.

 

Before I wrap, though, there is one more bit of news I’d like to share with you. When most people think of mobility technology in the business world, they naturally think of B2B applications. While some of these applications do touch consumers in one way or another, they are properly categorized as B2B.

 

Recently, however, SAP released the Utilities Customer Engagement App. This new app allows consumers to manage all aspects of their utility accounts and view important information from their utility companies anywhere and anytime. Using the app, consumers can access and change their utility account information and report service issues right from their iPhones. They can also receive alerts from their utility companies on outages and view a map of their outages with an estimated time for resolution.

 

See the following:

  1. Transforming the Utilities Industry with Mobile
  2. Video showing the SAP Utilities Customer Engagement App in action:

 

 

As always, I’m interested in hearing about the challenges you face in your workplace and how you’re using SAP mobile technology to address them. So, by all means post a comment and let’s keep the conversation going.

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