A Municipal Provider’s Mobility Roadmap

German utility company connects Business and IT to deliver mobility roadmap in less than 6 months

CHALLENGE: From idea to execution – the beginning of true digitization

In 2016, the decision was made that SAP GUI and paper-based PM processes should be transformed to the digital age, enabling work access for maintenance staff to mobile devices. Significant cost savings due to the reduction of previously duplicated entries was not the only reason for this transformation. It also increased convenience for users, optimized the method of work in the field, and improved data quality.

After a broad selection process involving more than 15 providers, three favorites emerged. Two of these providers had ready-made mobile solutions, Neptune Software stood out as a viable alternative with its development platform. And some fundamental decisions had to be made.

Not only did they have to chose between vendor A or B, but also decide if it made more sense to “Make or Buy”. Combine this with a strategic direction for the mobilization of SAP processes and this decision turned into one that would have a direct impact on the IT roadmap for years to come.

After a comparison of the requirements, it became apparent that even highly rated standard solutions would require high adaptation efforts. “If you consider the characteristics of each SAP backend module and then apply the specific requirements from the users, very little of the actual “product standard” remains. This results in high license costs that could not be justified. In addition, we did not want to subject our processes to the software which had expanded over the years, but instead develop the software based on our established standard processes,” Dr. A. Schliemann summarized, a management consultant apart of the selection process.

“The idea of a configurable and modular set of individual Fiori Apps, which can be called up centrally via a launchpad, fit our requirements perfectly”, Dr. Schliemann said: “The fact that Fink IT [Neptune Software Partner] was not only an implementation partner who was familiar with the Neptune Software technology, but also brought along their own plant maintenance solution with various SAP PM apps, was the deciding factor”.

APPROACH: From theory to practice – IT and business work hand in hand

Given that the project was shaped through open workshops and close cooperations between end-users on the business side and IT, it became clear that the implementation process would be a team effort, not just a pure IT project.

It took roughly 6 months from deciding to go with the Neptune DX Platform from Neptune Software and the FITS/Maintenance Solution until the first apps were delivered. “We defined the service notification system as the first sub-process. This had an immediate benefit and could also work on its own. On that basis, feedback was gathered from users and we gained initial experience with offline applications and Fiori UX.” Daniel Hofmann, who acted as the interface between users and IT during the project describes the first phase. “As the project progressed, we systematically worked our way through our catalog of requirements, app by app,” Hofmann continues. He describes the mobile maintenance process implemented today, as follows:

“The supervisor receives an order and assigns it to the relevant technician. The technician then processes this order and records the checklists, messages, times, pictures, operating equipment data and material withdrawals. After the order has been processed, the technician reports back and the supervisor then checks the order and carries out a technical completion.”

“By gradually rolling out the new solution, we were able to significantly reduce the training effort required. With the initial apps, what needed to be done was explained in great detail. Once the users got used to the new UI, we found that a short description was sufficient enough for the rollout of additional enterprise apps. We gained good experience with the intuitive Fiori UX and had to do very little retraining”, states Hofmann.

Due to the modular approach of individual applications, which depicts sub-processes, the reusability for other user groups was made easily possible. As Hofmann further describes:

“Through the course of the project we discovered that the Neptune Software Fiori Apps fit perfectly in other areas. For example, the app for material withdrawal, which was originally intended primarily for maintenance staff, was rolled out to other groups outside of plant maintenance.”

RESULTS: The strategic outlook on combining SAP Fiori UX and Neptune Software

While the project was mainly driven by the business department, the IT department was always involved and clearly defined the guidelines from the beginning. The support of a complete on-premise architecture was just as important as the avoidance of unnecessary interfaces and redundant data storage in third party systems.

For us, the SAP PM project was the initial and successful start of implementing our Mobility Roadmap. We had planned to mobilize additional SAP processes from the very beginning. After receiving positive feedback from our users and the confidence level in using Neptune Software’s technology had grown, the first HCM processes were designed. Today, company-wide, vacation requests and time sheets can be recorded and approved digitally.”

With the rollout of the HCM apps to the entire workforce, naturally appeared the question around end-device strategy. The hybrid development approach offered by the Neptune DX Platform allows for an end-device agnostic use, which made it possible to implement the “Bring your own Device” strategy that WVV GmbH wanted.

CONCLUSION: App development platform instead of niche solution

With the introduction of mobile apps for SAP PM and SAP HCM, it was possible to achieve a higher-level project objective – to establish a cross-divisional platform for mobile applications instead of buying a niche solution. WVV GmbH now considers itself prepared for the future. With Neptune Software’s SAP certification for SAP ERP and S/4 HANA as well as its flexibility in terms of on-premise and cloud operation, the Neptune DX Platform provides the most native and robust technological foundation for continued mobilization and optimization of all SAP processes.

To read the case study in German, please click here


Customer Industry: Utilities / Public Sector

Geographic Reach: Municipal supplier of the city of Würzburg, Germany

Users: 1500 Neptune Users / enterprise-wide

Systems & Modules: SAP ERP (SAP PM, MM, QM, and HCM)

Devices: Offline and online Apps for every mobile device / “Bring your own Device”

Implementation: 6 months until first Go-Live / Neptune DX Platform Customer since 2016

Functionality Scope: Complete reporting of the maintenance staff on PM tasks, vacation requests, and time registration

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To download the case study in German, please click here

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