SAP unveils road map to next-generation, services-oriented utilities solutions

Hosting customers, industry experts and partners from around the world, SAP AG will outline its vision for next-generation utilities solutions at the Fifth SAP International Utilities Conference 2005, opening Feb. 23 in Vienna, Austria. During the three-day event, where more than 1,100 attendees are expected, SAP will lay out a clear transition path for utilities companies to ready their business processes and IT landscapes for changing market conditions in 2005 and beyond...

VIENNA, Austria, Feb. 22, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -- Hosting customers, industry experts and partners from around the world, SAP AG will outline its vision for next-generation utilities solutions at the Fifth SAP International Utilities Conference 2005, opening Feb. 23 in Vienna, Austria. During the three-day event, where more than 1,100 attendees are expected, SAP will lay out a clear transition path for utilities companies to ready their business processes and IT landscapes for changing market conditions in 2005 and beyond.

Customers such as The EDF Group (France); EnBW AG, E.ON Kraftwerke GmbH, E.ON Ruhrgas AG, RWE Energy AG and Vattenfall Europe AG (Germany); Energy East Corporation and OG&E Electric Services (United States); GazMetro Limited Partnership (Canada); National Grid Transco PLC (UK); PowerCor Australia; Belgorodenergo (Russia); City of Cape Town (South Africa) and 30 additional customer presenters will illustrate how SAP for Utilities solutions are helping utilities address market trends such as deregulation, cost optimization, supply security, compliance and new collaboration and integration technologies.

To help utilities achieve the flexibility to adapt effectively to new requirements, SAP is engineering its next-generation solutions against its renowned Enterprise Services Architecture. Taking a services-driven approach, SAP is combining its industry-focused solutions with the technology found in the industry's leading application and integration platform, SAP NetWeaverTM, to drive a unique "applistructure" approach. The term "applistructure," coined by Forrester Research, points to a sea change in the architecture of software solutions that comes from the convergence of applications and infrastructure. Led by SAP's vision of Enterprise Services Architecture and the successful introduction of SAP NetWeaver in 2003, software providers are weaving together applications and infrastructure to bring new levels of business flexibility to customers by enabling them to expose and fully leverage Web services. This allows for rapid deployment of new software applications to meet new business challenges.

With the services-enablement of its solutions, SAP will give utilities the flexibility to quickly respond to market conditions by rearranging workflows and their underlying applications. With software no longer hard-coded to execute rigid process flows, utilities will deliver solutions to users across the organization as business-process services. This will help utilities adapt standard processes quickly to local regulatory changes. For example, in the supplier-switch process -- a customer switching service from one utility to another -- the various applications supporting individual processes such as meter reading, billing and intercompany reconciliation can be rearranged according to the newly mandated process flow.

The SAP road map for utilities takes into account key market trends and challenges, targeting pending deregulation requirements such as "unbundling," which will affect sweeping changes across utilities' organizational structures, business processes and IT systems. As early as 2007, utilities in the European Union and other countries around the world must meet regulatory requirements to separate their previously "bundled" generation, distribution and retail operations. To provide market participants such as retailers discrimination-free access to distribution networks, utilities' software will have to support collaborative business processes and enable reliable and smooth data exchange with third-party IT systems.

SAP, the leading provider of utilities-specific software solutions has built the necessary collaborative services capabilities into its utilities solution set. Utilities can customize inter-company data exchange processes and adapt interconnected workflow processes-such as supplier switch, reconciliation and settlement and payment processing -- in response to local market requirements. In addition, SAP for Utilities addresses the needs of customers in deregulated markets by providing compliance management and analytics capabilities.

"SAP has the best platform, deepest industry insight and strongest vision to drive utilities companies' mission-critical business processes now and into the future," said Klaus Heimann, senior vice president and head of Utilities, SAP. "SAP is delivering benefits to utilities companies today and helping customers gear up to meet the industry's looming challenges. Built on Enterprise Services Architecture and powered by SAP NetWeaver, SAP for Utilities will help our customers do new things in new ways to help turn tomorrow's business hurdles into profitable market opportunities."

Powered by the SAP NetWeaver platform, SAP for Utilities is helping companies such as E.ON Ruhrgas AG meet business challenges today while paving the way for smooth adoption of Enterprise Services Architecture and SAP's next-generation, service-enabled solutions.

"We are making a smooth transition to SAP NetWeaver; the platform's business intelligence and portal technology are in full swing and we're now focusing on data exchange with third-party systems," said Rudiger Erbe, team leader, IT Support for SAP Financials, E.ON Ruhrgas AG. "We have integrated our various databases with SAP Business Intelligence and are using SAP Enterprise Portal as our strategic platform for reporting, analytics and information delivery. The SAP platform is helping us take a business process- oriented approach to our IT infrastructure, providing users with the information and applications they need to get their jobs done via a single, role-based interface."

At the Fifth SAP International Utilities Conference 2005, being held in Vienna, Austria, Feb. 23-25, delegates from more than 180 utilities companies in 45 countries will be on hand for three days of customer and SAP presentations, workshops and product demonstrations, all focused on the needs of electricity, gas and water utilities. The event's topics include key enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities such as financial analytics and strategic enterprise management and customer loyalty drivers such as integrated customer service management, efficient call centers and customer self services; asset reliability enablers such as enterprise asset management; risk solidifiers such as energy capital management; and growth enablers such as selling of energy and service. For more information, visit:
www.sap.com/industries/utilities/newsevents/utilitiesconference/index.epx.

SAP for Utilities (www.sap.com/utilities/) is a set of state-of-the-art software solutions that helps electric, gas and water utilities of all sizes in regulated, transitioning or deregulated markets sharpen customer focus while increasing flexibility, productivity and profitability. With 950 utility customers in 70 countries, SAP offers what no other solution provider can: end-to-end management of all critical business processes to help utilities gain enterprise-wide visibility for better decision-making and quick responsiveness to market demands. SAP for Utilities enables customer-centric and asset- centric strategies across core processes such as enterprise asset management, customer financial management, billing and settlements, energy data management; and energy sales and services. Based on the open architecture of the SAP NetWeaver platform, SAP for Utilities helps companies integrate third-party systems to better collaborate with partners, quickly adapt business processes and extend operational excellence into the field with SAP® solutions for mobile business.

SAP (www.sap.com) is the world's leading provider of business software solutions. Today, more than 26,150 customers in over 120 countries run more than 88,700 installations of SAP software -- from distinct solutions addressing the needs of small and midsize businesses to enterprise-scale suite solutions for global organizations. Powered by the SAP NetWeaver platform to drive innovation and enable business change, mySAPTM Business Suite solutions are helping enterprises around the world improve customer relationships, enhance partner collaboration and create efficiencies across their supply chains and business operations. SAP industry solutions support the unique business processes of more than 25 industry segments, including high tech, retail, public sector and financial services. It has subsidiaries in more than 50 countries.

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