BI electrifies utilities company

Published on the 01/06/2016 | Written by Zag



  • Utilities


  • Deliver initial ‘general’ business intelligence solution; then targeted intelligence for procurement.
  • Improve visibility across inventory, purchasing and stock control.


  • SAP Business Warehouse, SAP BusinessObjects


  • Established a general BI platform
  • Introduced necessary data analytics to support visibility into procurement function
  • Established a platform for future BI initiative.


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How WEL Networks applies analysis to get answers to key business questions…

After selecting SAP All-in-One as its new ERP system, WEL Networks continued to work with Soltius with a focus on improving analytics to turn data into actionable insights. This capability was enabled through the introduction of a SAP Business Warehouse (BW) and SAP BusinessObjects, with the result that the utility today has the reporting required for high-level visibility over inventory, purchasing and other elements of procurement.

As an electricity distribution company, WEL Networks’ job is to distribute power from exit points on Transpower’s national grid to homes – doing it better, smarter and safer, around the clock. WEL Networks has a 100-year heritage serving Hamilton city, and the towns and farming community of the Waikato. WEL connects a vibrant and growing community of more than 160,000 people to reliable and cost effective electricity services through around 85,000 installation connection points and is 100 per cent community owned by the WEL Energy Trust.

WEL had experienced difficulty in turning data stores into necessary business insights and actions, particularly around its procurement function where it lacked the necessary insight over inventory and purchasing activity.

With an existing relationship with Soltius, which had implemented its SAP All-in-One ERP system, it opted to engage with the solution provider again in a phased approach to implementing tools to support an analytics strategy.

In wave one, both SAP Business Warehouse (BW) and SAP BusinessObjects were implemented by Soltius, and a core set of focused Business Intelligence (BI) reports delivered. As part of this phased implementation, Soltius returned to WEL in 2014 to expand on the initial reporting capability and further leverage the original implementation.

Even after this initial step, a lack of knowledge around procurement output was one of the main pain points for WEL. A lack of high-level visibility over inventory, purchasing and other elements of procurement had resulted in problems like overdue purchase orders.

WEL had a DIFOT (Delivered in Full on Time) report in place, but this was largely ineffective as it had been cobbled together from various data sources.

This gave rise to the second phase of the implementation, which also saw WEL Networks and Soltius take a different approach, focusing initially on the pieces of work they could take through to completion. Whereas, in the first wave, the approach was to meet with users at the beginning of the project to discuss and outline each of the specific reports they wanted, the new approach required business users to provide all the information necessary at the beginning, before the team began the effort of building reports. This approach saw a reduction in the loss of productive time, with the Soltius resources being concentrated on the tasks for which they had correct and complete information.

As a result of the second wave of the implementation, the procurement team at WEL now has the reporting required to get all the answers required. It’s well-functioning BI solution also provides a strong foundation for further expansion, which enables it to bring non-SAP data into or alongside SAP data, for consolidated reporting.

“We now have a much clearer picture of vendor performance, price fluctuations and our outbound delivery process,” confirms Chris Puddle, Systems Specialist at WEL.

 “We now have a much clearer picture of vendor performance, price fluctuations and our outbound delivery process,”

Throughout the various waves of work over the years, he has praise for the engagement with Soltius: “From the project management to the delivery, even down to smaller details like the documentation, Soltius has been great to work with,” Puddle affirms, noting that he is impressed with the company’s customer-centric approach. “For example, Soltius provided me with a folder full of BI documentation, which is a great point of reference for me day-to-day. This kind of thing has really made it easy for us, and I know that Soltius will be there to support us in future upgrades and with ongoing work when we need it.”


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