This requires them to re-engineer and transform the business processes, enable process improvement initiatives, automate manual processes, achieve efficient process integrations within enterprise and help leverage their existing IT investments.

Huge disruptions are also taking place in the application integration space through cloud, mobile, and social media. These newer technologies cannot simply and elegantly replace decades of legacy IT investment—what is needed is a new approach to integration strategies and approach.

In an ideal world, a utility service provider will know its customers better than anyone else. Unfortunately, due to lack of a thorough integration strategy; most utility companies are prevented from leveraging their customer knowledge in an effective manner. They have tremendous amount of valuable data and insight, although this data is scattered across a variety of different applications and platforms.

Utilities typically lack an agile link between the wealth of customer data embedded within their full-bodied ERP systems (for e.g., SAP) to the most external layers of their organization. This prevents the creation of a unified view of the customers and inhibits a utility’s ability to reap the full potential of available data. In this realm, the key question for a utility executive is: how can the potential of this data be unlocked and put in the hands of employees, partners and customers in order to empower them in such a way that translates into increased customer satisfaction and profitability?

There is clearly a need for the utilities to have a comprehensive data integration strategy that can facilitate the provisioning of a 360° view of the customers that combines a uniform customer view with Master Data Management (MDM) and their enterprise CIS, such as SAP for Utilities (IS-U).

Salesforce.com—a layer of agility on a strong SAP core

Salesforce.com has addressed the torrent of structured and unstructured customer data by taking it out of on-site CRMs and placing it in a secured cloud environment.

At first glance, most utility executives think that they are faced with a choice of one or the other when it comes to SAP CR&B and salesforce.com. Nothing could be further from the truth—the two strategies are fundamentally complementary and, in Capgemini’s experience, the optimal approach is to use best-of-breed cloud solutions like salesforce.com to build a layer of agility upon their SAP cores.

A customer-centric methodology

Capgemini has combined its continued investment of time, money and people with technical expertise and three decades of system integration experience. It is this experience in collaboration with leading technical and cloud partners, which has resulted in a methodology that is turning utilities’ vision of customer centricity into a reality.

Making relevant customer data available to the people that need it, this methodology puts your customer at the heart of your organization. So from marketing to sales and service to billing, your organization has a holistic view of your customers. Through this connection, utilities can use the salesforce.com platform to better engage customers on social channels while applying the knowledge they have built up in their SAP systems—thus maximizing previous SAP investments.

Full salesforce.com implementation = full customer centricity

A utility can expect different results depending on the depth of its salesforce.com implementation. With a full implementation, a utility can gain complex bi-directional SAP IS-U and salesforce.com integration. This provides full customer centricity and a clear view of its marketing, sales, service and social functions. Salesforce.com can be implemented in variety of scenarios as described below, anywhere from limited to full scale implementation. When salesforce.com is implemented on a limited scale, it is used primarily for monitoring social media and responding to it.

Salesforce.com implementation levels

Ultimately, through joining the agile, interactive layer of salesforce.com with the robust application layer of SAP IS-U, a utility can:

• Immediately find customer details for retention calculation, retention budget rules and offer calculation logic – including best offer and next best offer.

• Obtain customer consumption details to address higher bill concerns.

• Periodically retrieve energy consumption details through salesforce.com to alert customers of higher usage.

• Update customer about rising in energy prices in advance.

• Fetch details about production farm initiatives customers may be involved in.

Capgemini and salesforce.com’s powerful, proven partnership provides utilities with a detailed blueprint for digital transformation. Capgemini and salesforce.com, along with SAP, give digital beginners and conservatives the capability to speak the language of the digital customer while effectively analyzing and generating valuable insight from the torrent of customer data—engaging these customers like never before. Capgemini’s utility experience coupled with salesforce.com’s digital integration take a digitally lagging utility and turn it into a fully connected, social and digitally transformed organization. Delivering a customer-centric experience to the digital customer achieves substantial cost reductions, gains in efficiency and reduced time to market.

About the Authors

  • Ajay Verma – Practice Director with Capgemini.
  • Manish Maheshwari – NA Utilities Solutions Lead with Capgemini.