James McClelland, Sr. Global Director with SAP, discusses the advantages mobile technology brings to the utility industry, harnessing the power of the Internet of Things and the current era of the more informed customer.
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UMC: Today I am speaking with James McClelland, Sr. Global Director, from SAP. Hello James, ready to get started?
James McClelland: Happy to be speaking today on behalf of SAP.
UMC: Let’s begin then. In every conceivable industry, up to date mobile technology is becoming paramount if a company wants to be successful. So many of your solutions have a mobility aspect, is this technology essential for the utility industry?
James McClelland: Absolutely. Mobility is not something new to the utilities industry as they have been leveraging mobile technology to manage their workforce and assets. But with the advancements of mobile they are now using it to improve the way they manage work, but also how they interact with their customers.
UMC: Publiacqua, a Tuscany based water municipality, used SAP Work Manager app [an application that connects technicians and subcontractors, enabling them to receive delivery requests and work orders in real time] and the SAP Workforce Scheduling and Optimization application to better orchestrate their 200 technicians. Not only has this saved them money, but it also maximizes the technician’s skill and time. Do you think these applications not only lead to customer satisfaction, but employee satisfaction as well?
James McClelland: Absolutely. In an era of complexity, anything that can simplify the way you do work improves overall employee satisfaction.
UMC: Do a lot of your clients take advantage of your SAP Work Manager app and the SAP Workforce Scheduling and Optimization application?
James McClelland: Yes, a large majority leverage our mobility solutions to manage their assets and workforce. As I stated earlier, utilities have been leveraging mobile technologies for a long time to support the asset side of their business.
UMC: About a year ago San Diego Gas & Electric received permission to use drones to conduct inspections within their territory. What is your prediction on the outcome of that endeavor?
James McClelland: I believe we are only at the cusp of leveraging drone technology within utilities. To be able to leverage drones to survey your assets in rugged terrain and deliver tools and equipment will shorten time from incident to action, improve worker safety and, again, improve the overall way we do business.
UMC: In your opinion, what kind of ramifications do you believe drone technology will have on the structure of the utility industry?
James McClelland: I believe the obvious is addressing the airspace regulations, but other ramifications would include addressing safety and privacy issues. These will bring along a whole new set of regulations a utility must address.
UMC: Tell me about SAP’s Predictive Maintenance and Services technology. Is this technology limited to a certain utility vertical or does it work across the board?
James McClelland: With SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service, you can analyze large volumes of operational data and apply predictive insights in real time – for the foresight you need to increase asset availability and satisfaction levels. This can all be done in real time. This allows any asset intensive industry, not just utilities, to harness the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology to transform field service and asset management.
UMC: Peter Maier, General Manager for Energy and Natural Resources at SAP was quoted saying “With the world’s population totaling 10 billion people by mid-century, demand for oil and energy will only grow, fueled by urbanization and an emerging middle class of consumers that wants more cars and other products. The upswing will come, even if the timing is uncertain.” What are SAP’s plans for supporting its current and prospect clients when this “upswing” occurs?
James McClelland: SAP continues to invest into our solutions to stay ahead of this curve with scalable solutions. Demand will only continue to grow and business will only continue to be more complex. It is SAP’s goal to simplify the way we do business. Run Simple is more than a tag line. “Run” is what we do. SAP runs more than 261,000 of the most relevant organizations in the world. “Simple” is our promise to customers to do the most sophisticated things in simple ways. The promise of Run Simple becomes real through our strategy to be “The Cloud Company powered by SAP HANA” – our in-memory platform.
UMC: Thank you James for speaking with me today.
James McClelland: Thank you for including SAP as a UMC Vendor Spotlight.