Monday, July 31, 2017

One SAP Roadmap for Utilities: Wrap SAP Cloud Around On-Prem SAP Financials

Recently we were talking with one of our utility company clients about their SAP roadmap, and how utilities can leverage the latest SAP Cloud-based solutions while maintaining their robust and well-design SAP Financials core.

Our guidance for utilities considering such a direction is to initially wrap Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions around the SAP Financials they already have in place. Integrating third-party or SAP SaaS offerings with SAP Financials will be faster and less costly than a total overhaul, and SAP has great middleware in Hana Cloud Integration (HCI) that runs on the SAP Cloud Platform.

Under this kind of model, a SaaS billing solution, for example, would send APIs to the HCI to message SAP Financials for revenue transactions. The HCI would also be used to connect other SaaS offerings to SAP Financials, such as Fieldglass for contractors, Concur for employee expenses, and Success Factors for HR/payroll.

This strategy of integrating SaaS offerings with on-premise Financials has a number of benefits. First, it provides utilities with access to more modern, user-friendly applications that front-office staff and field operations will appreciate. Second, it safeguards regulatory accounting, overheads and allocations, and even the monthly close itself, which are too important to rip and replace without the utmost care. And third, it creates an opportunity in the future to move to a hybrid solution running SAP S/4HANA in the Cloud. Conversion will be more efficient when some front office and field tech functions have already been moved there, and the primary on-prem system remaining is Financials. Then, once S/4HANA is in place, utilities can build-out analytics on the SAP Business Objects Cloud (BOC) as their repository for all reporting from SAP and other non-SAP apps.

Learn more about HPC's implementation services for a terrific SAP SaaS offering, SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer (SAP C4C).

Friday, July 21, 2017

SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer - utility company project update

HPC America's implementation of SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer at a utility company is progressing nicely (read prior posts 1 and 2). We now have the following functionality working in SAP C4C:

Guided Move-In / Move-Out
This is one of the most important aspects of utility company customer relationship management, and in SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer the functionality steps the end-user through the move-in/move-out process. Initially, there were challenges around meter read estimation and inputs, but we’ve resolved them. We also developed some BADis to streamline the process. For example, out of the box, C4C’s move-in function was creating multiple Service Orders, instead of a single one as the customer required. By modifying the BADi, we've enabled SAP C4C to generate a single Service Order.

Payment History
Customers’ payment histories were initially not replicated fully in SAP C4C, due to the select query working only on certain ECC payment entry configurations. Our utility customer’s ECC payment input is configured to allow multiple entries, so we worked closely with SAP Technical Support to update Cloud for Customer to meet this requirement.

Editing/Creating Meter Reads
Input of meter reads by contract is now operational in SAP C4C. This update is manual, but the system can also make estimates automatically. If a customer’s account has a smart meter, uploaded readings may be edited or overridden.

Testing of Responsive U/I
We’ve now tested SAP Cloud for Customer's Responsive U/I on various mobile devices, including Apple IOS phones and iPads and Android LG phones. The results are excellent, and the user interface makes for a very rewarding experience. The responsive interface in combination with critical functions, such as manual meter reads in territories without AMI, will provide tremendous benefits. In such a case, for example, field technicians will be able to input meter reads in real-time while at a service address without using any other software by SAP C4C.

Tickets and Customer Interaction groupings
In SAP C4C, the ticket is the main record of all customer interaction. We’ve now configured tickets and work tickets to align with our customer’s “Customer Interaction” groupings, which define categories such as Outage, Disconnects, Payments, Billing, and Service Request. All phone calls and emails between a CSR and a customer will be recorded and linked to the customer account in SAP Cloud for Customer.

To learn more about SAP C4C's benefits for utility companies, please contact HPC America.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

New White Paper About FERC Reporting Options on SAP S/4HANA

HPC America’s FERC Reporting Option Matrix for SAP S/4HANA outlines three alternative regulatory accounting designs for utilities on SAP. It covers one derivation-based FERC reporting model, and two different transaction-based FERC models. Request your copy now.

This detailed white paper is based on HPC America’s 20+ years of experience developing regulatory accounting solutions for utilities on SAP. It summarizes how three different approaches to FERC accounting function on S/4HANA, including their respective technical requirements, reporting capabilities, and data granularity to support rate case preparation and regulatory inquiries. It also addresses FERC-GAAP reconciliation, financial statement drill-down, FERC adjustments, FERC budgeting, and other topics relevant to utility accounting stakeholders running SAP S/4HANA.

Utility finance, account, rates, and IT professionals may request their copy of the white paper online.