How a Public Utility used an SAP Tool for its Digital Journey

To help customers with their complex digital journey, the SAP Transformation Navigator is a self-service road-mapping tool for customers to figure out what solutions are best aligned with their business goals.

Snohomish County PUD at a glance

  • Serves 348,000 electric and 20,000 water customers just north of Seattle
  • Currently employs about 1,1000, and is undergoing a churn as older, retiring workers are being replaced by younger ones
  • Has been a customer of SAP since 2010, having implemented several on-premise solutions such as CRM (customer relationship manager), ECC (ERP Central Component), BW (Business Warehouse) and PI (NetWeaver Process Integration)
  • In 2015, moved all systems into a single platform – Business Suite on HANA
  • And now, planning to move some functions to the cloud with SAP C/4 HANA and eventually to S/4 HANA

Digitization is the disrupter du jour.

Today, most companies – even stodgy ones such as electric utilities – are turning to digital solutions to manage business processes, everything from payroll to finance to customer relations. They are simpler to learn and execute by employees, and technically easier to integrate with different legacy systems.

But digital transformation entails many critical decision points: What’s your digital strategy? Are you going to embrace cloud or remain on-premise? What type of solutions will align best with your business goals? And what about integration with your existing systems?

That’s where many companies stumble.

They have complex, legacy infrastructure comprising silo’ed systems. Say, a utility’s payroll could be on one system, while its meter to cash solution could be on another. So, making the right decision when it comes to replacing those existing systems with digital solutions – within time and on budget – can be a daunting task.

For SAP customers, here’s some help on hand.

The SAP Transformation Navigator, launched at the 2017 SAPPHIRE NOW event, offers customers a simple, step by step guidance on how to choose their digital solutions based on where they are on the maturity curve and also where they’d like to be in the near future.

“The SAP Transformation Navigator is a self-service road-mapping tool helping our customers chart their digital transformation journey with SAP,” says James McClelland, senior director at SAP – Energy & Utilities.

Large transformers at Snohomish County PUD
Self-Service Tool

With more than 31,000 product maps created, more than two-thirds by customers themselves, the SAP Transformation Navigator is fast emerging as a reliable guide for businesses at the cusp of making a digital journey – no matter if they moving to cloud, on-premise, or hybrid solutions.

The SAP Transformation Navigator is accessible through the SAP support portal. The link below can be used to launch the gated tool www.sap.com/transformationnavigator, or visit the public website for more information https://support.sap.com/stn

The tool, for example, helps customers with decisions such as:

  • Which solution to use in which use-case;
  • What is the impact on existing license agreements;
  • How to move forward with the integration;
  • How would the transformation align with their business goals;
  • What’s the value of innovation which is important to build a business case for the required investment;

    James McClelland

Although SAP would like its customers to ultimately migrate to its S/4 HANA platform and use this tool to figure out the roadmap, McClelland reiterates that this tool is meant for the company’s entire portfolio of solutions. And it is designed to address all types of industries and lines of businesses.

Most important, it is aimed to guide customers, not to drive sales. A set of 3 documents is delivered providing comprehensive information related to Business (why?), Technical (what?) and Transformation (how?) aspects.

“SAP conducts a follow up with the customer (who uses the SAP Transformation Navigator) only if they request it,” he says


“This is not a lead capturing tool, but a tool to assist our customers in how to achieve their future strategies and maximize value.”


Snohomish County PUD
Keeping up with Millennials

For the power utility of Snohomish County, Wash., digital transformation is imperative.

With a base of 348,000 electric and 20,000 water customers just north of Seattle, the utility says the changing demography of its employees are a driving factor behind its digital journey. It currently employs about 1,100, and is undergoing a churn as older, retiring workers are being replaced by younger ones.

Marc Rosson

“For us, we need the technology to match our workforce,” says Marc Rosson, enterprise architect at Snohomish County PUD – a position he’s held for the past 10 years.

“The millennials don’t want to deal with old systems. In this gig economy, they are not coming into jobs for 30 years, they are looking at jobs for maybe 1 to 2 years – they are not tied to a specific company for a lifetime.

“We need simple solutions, a simple interface, so they are trained and proficient in their jobs quickly. We don’t have the time for a six month training program if they only stay in the job for a year.”

The utility has been a customer of SAP since 2010, having implemented several on-premise solutions such as CRM (customer relationship manager), ECC (ERP Central Component), BW (Business Warehouse) and PI (NetWeaver Process Integration).

In 2015, it moved all systems into a single platform – Business Suite on HANA. And now, it’s planning to move some functions to the cloud with SAP C/4 HANA and then eventually to S/4 HANA.

Rosson says he’s using the SAP Transformation Navigator to figure out how best to move to the new platform and what would be the value of innovation or integration – questions that would ultimately help build a business case during the transformation.

For instance, some SAP solutions such as Simple Finance for utilities are easier to move from on-premise to SAP S/4 HANA. But some others are not so easy, at least in the near term.

“As the product matures, I’m sure we will have SAP S/4 HANA solutions for all utilities,” Rosson says. “Part of my role as an enterprise architect is to know the roadmaps for all products.  The SAP Transformation Navigator makes it possible for us to clearly see the changes ahead.  Navigating the fast pace of change in our industry is a huge challenge for everyone and having SAP provide us this tool ensures our mutual success.”

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