The following perspective was authored by Marc Rosson, Enterprise Architect for Snohomish County PUD.

Hello Utilities Community,

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending SAP for Utilities, Presented by ASUG, our annual conference for the SAP utilities community, held for the first time in Chicago, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk, from Oct. 9–11.

For those of you who have attended in previous years, you already know that this conference is our Thanksgiving dinner; we gather to see our family, with whom we have lots in common, but whom we do not see year-round. Every year, new members of the ever-growing utilities community join our SAP family, and this conference offers a chance for us to welcome and support them.

At this year’s event, we had three generations of SAP Utilities leadership on stage; Michael Sullivan, SAP National Vice President of Renewable Energy and Utilities, interviewed Lloyd Adams, President of SAP North America, and then presented Michael O’Donnell, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Digital Supply Chain for SAP North America, with a surprise thank you, in recognition of O’Donnell’s six years of service leading the SAP Utilities community. 

Our community continues to grow with new utilities, new SAP management, and new technologies. Through it all, we continue to embody the values of a true community, whose members support and learn from one another. That is why I love working with all of you.

I was not able to attend every session that I wanted to see, but I wanted to highlight a couple. Tina Kuo, Product Manager, Service Cloud for Utilities at SAP, showed us the future of our customer interactions, exploring all aspects of our current and potential future business cases while discussing the modernization of SAP’s customer service capabilities for utilities. Leveraging everything we have learned across the past 10 years with SAP Service Cloud, the future of this technology will take utilities’ enterprises to the next level and maximize the value we derive from customer interactions while further accelerating the standard operations we are all responsible for. We have over 20 utilities already live on SAP Service Cloud and as a team contributing to what its next edition needs to provide, in addition to utilities that will start their SAP journey on SAP Service Cloud 2.0 as early adopters.

In the utilities community, we love our family discussions (also known as panels), and this year supplied some great opportunities to dive in. (If you have not already done so, explore the conference's content library, featuring 60 presentations as presented at the conference.) What I love about our community is that we’re always getting better and working to improve our operations. What has never changed is the spirit of collaboration I’ve felt from this community as we have tackled our problems together. 

I had the pleasure of participating in “Implementing Utility Dispatch with SAP,” followed by an Idea Jam, in which we discussed challenges we have faced for many years with regard to dispatch capability and scheduling to mobile devices, across many different products and history with SAP. The panel featured utilities already live and working with SAP’s Field Service Management (FSM) solution as well as utilities dealing with existing challenges on legacy systems and exploring what it will mean to move forward and solve some of their issues with new SAP software. Those issues range from issues with people, processes, and technology—but, again, we are all in it to win it, working together to help one another succeed.

As one person, I could not get to all the sessions on offer at SAP for Utilities, Presented by ASUG, but I plan to review the content of its many presentations with our internal teams in the coming weeks. For me, the discussions of both RISE with SAP and SAP Signavio were highlights of the conference; seeing so many customers leading in these new spaces is so true to our community. We all take our turns leading.

Previously, utilities led the way with compatible units, which had been built for the utilities industry and are now part of core SAP solutions. We led the way on the multi-model SAP HANA database back in 2012, moving off legacy management systems. More recently, utilities led the way to SAP S/4HANA and SaaS-based applications like SAP SuccessFactors. Now, utilities leaders are making progress in their moves to the cloud and embracing the future of artificial intelligence (AI) accelerators becoming more integrated into our day-to-day businesses. We all take our turns leading, and we all take our turns learning from those who are doing the hard work, reducing the risk for all of us who’ll follow, and ensuring—together—that our utilities will be successful.

Marc Rosson is Enterprise Architect for Snohomish County PUD.

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