Municipal Utility Optimizes Mass Activities and Customer Service with Process Automation

Reliable control

of mass activities

Fail-safe, reliable

and intuitive solution

Collaboration

with excellent support

Company Overview

Stadtwerke München (SWM) is one of the largest municipal utilities in Germany. In addition to providing energy (electricity, natural gas and district heating and cooling) and drinking water to the citizens of Munich, SWM also supplies urban mobility solutions, telecommunications services and 18 indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The utility’s top priorities are the expansion of renewable energies, sustainability and having a customer-centric approach.

The Power of the Masses

SWM collects and processes huge amounts of data in a complex SAP® landscape. There are systems that handle different tasks, including meter-reading services and electricity sales. At the center of it all is SAP IS-U, SAP’s industry-specific solution for the utilities industry integrated in SAP ERP. Within SAP IS-U, mass activities automatically divide the large volumes of data into multiple jobs and then process those jobs. For this to work smoothly, a powerful automation solution is required. When SWM’s predecessor product, Control-M, was no longer up to the task, the SAP Basis team decided to switch to Redwood for their automation orchestration needs.

Meter-to-Cash: Automated Business Process Control

The term meter-to-cash covers SWM’s entire business process: from reading meters, maintaining data and preparing and sending out invoices. These mass activities in SAP IS-U, which consist of many steps, are controlled securely and reliably via Redwood. The software offers the SAP Basis team maximum control, and it is possible to define in detail which processes are executed, including when and how they are done. Importantly, the correct sequence is adhered to, meaning a secondary process does not start until the previous one has finished and has run without errors. In the event of an error, special recovery routines take effect. In addition, a corresponding alarm is triggered, which enables immediate intervention.

Redwood offers an extremely wide range of possibilities for automation, and orchestration works excellently. But the best thing is - it just runs. Johannes Demmelhuber, Stadtwerke München GmbH

Increased Focus on Customer Service

SWM’s goal is to offer the people of Munich the best possible customer service. For a service-oriented utility, customer loyalty is a key strategic issue. In an effort to continue working on innovative ways to optimize customer service even further, SWM implemented the “Next Best Activity” project. As part of Service Center 2.0, this add-on system complements the original solution and supports the service center team with all customer-relevant information.

What sounds simple is actually a very complex process, because, in the energy industry, large amounts of data from ERP systems like meter and financial data must be consolidated and processed. Redwood automates the interfaces between the data sources and ensures that all required data is reliably available on a daily basis. Having all of the customer data available at once, including master file information, meter readings, billing statements and more, means that service center staff can provide customers with expert advice and can better respond to inquiries and requests so that customers have a positive experience.

Results

For 10 years, SWM’s five-person SAP Basis team has been using Redwood to automate all SAP processes. Support for mobility solutions, including applications for mobile ticketing and parking, is included, and the team has set up a system for improving the quality of data and billing processes despite a large amount of complexity.

In the past, mass activities were a resource hog. At least one hour of manual work had to be calculated for each process. Today, these core processes are controlled with Redwood and automatically executed in the correct sequence. At night, all data is loaded into a central data warehouse (SAP HANA®) and processed. In the morning, the service center team then has access to the latest information for their consultations. This is an important prerequisite if you want to provide customers with highly competent points of contact.

Processing in the SAP HANA database takes 6-7 hours, and the complex calculations alone take 1.5-2 hours. Previously, nightly process orchestration across all system boundaries was not possible. With Redwood, the SAP Basis team now has the flexibility for customized scheduling at any time.

Another Redwood benefit is self-recovery. If one of the SAP HANA processes breaks down, a repair routine is automatically started, and the process is restarted after 30 minutes. This prevents the possibility of jobs being forgotten or processed in the wrong order and of incorrect information being passed on to the service center, such as what could happen if documents were deleted or changed in the meantime. The SAP Basis team is very satisfied with the cooperation with Redwood Support, and they appreciate the pleasant environment and the fact that there is always an experienced contact person available.