The utilities industry, long recognized for its foundational role in providing essential services to individuals, businesses, and communities, continues to grapple with challenges stemming from outdated processes, regulatory complexities, and the need for modernization. 

Considering these challenges, it comes as no surprise that utilities professionals in the ASUG community are on a mission to gain insights into how SAP technology modernization can serve as a transformative force in streamlining operations, optimizing processes, and enhancing overall efficiency at their organizations. Presented by ASUG last fall, the SAP for Utilities conference exemplified this ongoing pursuit of technological transformation. 

Customers from a diverse mix of electric, water, and natural gas companies convened with a shared objective: to explore innovative solutions within the SAP solution portfolio and understand how best to integrate them within their organizations’ technology landscapes. SAP Signavio, an end-to-end suite for managing business processes and enabling continuous improvement programs, was one such solution in the spotlight. 

From my perspective, the most impactful sessions at SAP for Utilities were those that went beyond demonstrating the practical application capabilities of SAP Signavio and encouraged customers to integrate analytical discipline and hard benefit metrics into business and rate case discussions about the value of process improvement. Here are some key takeaways from these sessions.

The Challenge of Quantifying Process Improvements

Andrew Theis, SAP Senior Industry Value Advisor for Utilities, highlighted the enduring challenge of articulating a hard dollar value for process improvement. In his session, “Accelerating the Realization of Digital Transformation Programs with SAP Signavio,” presented in partnership with IMPRIVA, Theis stated, citing research by Kinsey, that only a modest “10-20% of utilities companies realize the [long-term] value” of process standardization and simplification when undertaking process improvement initiatives. 

In the rapidly evolving utilities sector, organizations face the challenge of meeting increasing customer demands while maintaining operational efficiency under the stresses of digitization and the massive capital requirements of the green energy transition. Theis emphasized the potential of SAP Signavio to assist with tackling these challenges, stressing the need for customers to view it as both a tool for large-scale projects and an enabler for continuous process improvement. 

A Necessary Catalyst

SAP Signavio transcends the conventional definition of a technology tool, instead serving as an end-to-end suite. Designed to capture processes, it also facilitates modeling and simulation to identify areas ripe for improvement. Through practical demonstrations, like the one presented by the IMPRIVA team mapping out a print job process, conference attendees saw firsthand how simulation capabilities—spanning total costs, cycle time, and resource consumption—can reveal organizational bottlenecks, overspending, and other inefficiencies.

As highlighted by Theis, the true value of SAP Signavio lies in enabling customers to visualize an idea, simulate its execution, evaluate the anticipated benefits of process improvement, and navigate simulated challenges before seeking formal approval. SAP Signavio, in other words, can be understood as a catalyst for continuous process improvement, which is especially necessary for utilities faced with overhauling outdated systems and updating processes across their technology landscapes.

Catering to Specific Utilities Needs

Drawing from 27 years of experience in the SAP utilities sector, DJ Taylor, Head of Business Process Management for Regulated Industries at SAP, highlighted the industry-specific process flows integrated into SAP Signavio, calling them the first of their kind in his session “SAP Signavio for BPEM Management.” Taylor underscored the significance of these capabilities in addressing the unique challenges of the utilities sector, which is characterized by constant changes due to evolving technologies, market dynamics, and regulatory updates.

Specifically, SAP Signavio Process Transformation Suite aims at helping customers redefine and optimize their business processes. Many utilities find they need to reconfigure the ways they approach onboarding new customer accounts, manage emergency work orders, and design energy delivery systems. The transformation suite enables utilities to tackle these processes, providing optimized process models and defining the logic to which these vital business processes adhere. 

The revelations gleaned from these sessions emphasize ASUG’s ongoing commitment to help our members understand the value of advanced technologies—like SAP Signavio—in adapting to the dynamic nature of the utilities industry. Beyond being a valuable tool for steering the sector, SAP Signavio is top of mind for ASUG as we seek to educate our members around SAP technology and propel them toward continuous improvement in their industries.  

Top Business Process Transformation Initiatives for Utilities

So where should utility companies begin considering their transformation projects leveraging SAP Signavio? Immediately, the solution can help customers tackle a few crucial initiatives for utilities. SAP Signavio can help enterprises as they adjust to fluctuating energy market regulations and customer expectations. The solution can help improve internal process efficiency, including standardizing enterprise-wide processes ahead of organization-wide digital transformation.

To learn more about SAP Signavio, tune into ASUG’s five-part SAP Signavio Fundamentals webcast series, free for ASUG members.

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