Fossil fuels are being replaced with renewable energy. Increasingly, energy is being produced, stored and consumed locally. For the relevant processes and IT systems used in energy companies, the changes are significant.
‘Eneco is the third largest energy supplier in Belgium,’ explains Roel Matthys, manager of Eneco’s Business Technology Organization[A1] . ‘Among the big players, we are the most sustainable. We want to continue to play a leading role in the transition. We use customer data collected through digital meters and artificial intelligence to advise consumers and companies on the best time to use this sustainable energy at the best price. This requires substantial investments in IT applications and infrastructure. We need to be able to switch quickly because of the need for an agile internal organisation. Flexibility and scalability are crucial.’
‘Two years ago, we set up a synergy track from the Netherlands for the entire group,’ explains Roel Matthys, manager of Eneco’s Business Technology Organization. ‘The migration of SAP ERP to the cloud is part of it. In Belgium, we are deploying all of our own SAP expertise on the MIG 6 project. MIG 6 is the manual for the new generation of market processes. As a result, our people are not always available for operational tasks, such as the daily monitoring of systems or the handling of incidents and change requests.’
‘Today we are getting competition from unexpected directions,’ Roel Matthys points out. ‘KBC, bol.com, Decathlon, Coolblue and others are all jumping at the energy market. SAP must prove itself time and time again. As an IT organisation, we must consistently sell SAP within our own company. We must deliver quality because every euro is being flipped. This is both sensible and challenging for our team.’
‘“That’s why we decided to outsource those tasks,’ says Erwin. ‘Local expertise was at the top of our list of requirements. Legislation and regulations have their impact on the SAP landscape and differ from country to country. The Belgian energy market is also very complex because of all the regions, languages, regulators and ministers with different agendas. Our business organisation expects us to be flexible. That too was an important selection criterion. In May 2020 we signed an SLA with TheValueChain for operational support around SAP Finance. In December 2020 we extended that contract to SAP IS-U, the sector solution for companies in the utility industry. TheValueChain replaced two full-time freelancers with two dedicated consultants. They now work for Eneco at a fixed cost per month (1.2 FTE). In addition, we benefit from a package of hours for extra services when needed. The assigned consultants can rely on a TheValueChain team with extensive sector experience and a comprehensive view. This increases service quality.’
‘TheValueChain is transparent. If the consultants work fewer hours than planned, the invoice is lower. Also, not all questions submitted to the service desk require senior expertise. The cost of operational support dropped by 20 to 25%.’
‘Local expertise is equally important for the set-up of IS-U,’ Erwin van Eeden continues. ‘Eneco Netherlands does not use IS-U, so there is no functional expertise within the group. For this purpose, we count on TheValueChain. A SAP Solution Architect advises and guides us with a lot of knowledge of what’s going on in the industry. He is closely involved in negotiations with Eneco Nederland and with myBrand, our infrastructure and hosting partner.
Different points of view sometimes lead to lively discussions. TheValueChain has a strong opinion, but always respects our choices. They implement loyally what has been decided. We appreciate that attitude tremendously and we are happy to have a partner who thinks in a proactive and constructive manner.
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