Customer Snapshot: Overview
85,000 km of electricity lines and 37,000 km of gas pipes
Energy needs are drastically changing. To keep the Netherlands green and sustainable, Alliander N.V. knows that efficient energy distribution and cutting-edge IT go hand in hand. With the SAP HANA platform, it is gathering and analyzing massive amounts of data to better maintain assets, optimize its grid, and help customers save big on energy bills.
€1.7 billion (2013)
Number of Employees
Arnhem, The Netherlands
Line of Business
Finance, Human Resources, Platform and Technology, R&D/Engineering, Sustainability
Data Science, SAP Business Warehouse, SAP Customer Energy Management, SAP Data Services, SAP HANA, SAP Information Steward
Customer Snapshot: History
Serving the Netherlands for Over 100 Years
Alliander traces its history back more than a century ago, when local authorities in the Dutch province of Gelderland sought electrification for its businesses and residents. Today Alliander builds and supports the infrastructures that carry electricity and natural gas to more than 3.5 million customers, making it the largest electricity and gas network company in the Netherlands.
Customer Snapshot: Business Model
Alliander operates the energy networks that distribute gas and electricity to large parts of the Netherlands. The company provides stable, sustainable energy by maintaining safe and reliable networks and managing distribution to provide energy service to over 3.5 million customers.
The largest energy distributor in the Netherlands…
Customer Snapshot: Success Strategy
In response to the rapidly changing energy landscape, Alliander works diligently to build a future-proof and open network that can accommodate multiple energy providers. To obtain insight into society’s energy ambitions at all levels, the company consults with provinces, municipalities, and other customers throughout its markets, helping them resolve their energy issues.
From large businesses to individual households, Alliander is dedicated to helping customers use energy more wisely – which is good for the environment and for customers’ wallets.
Helping customers use energy wisely…
We believe an energy company is an IT company. We need to help our customers at the household level use their energy much more wisely. And the only way to do that on a large scale is via software.– Jeroen Scheer, Manager, Taskforce Energy Transition IT, Alliander N.V.
One of the biggest challenges facing energy companies today is keeping up with rapid changes in customer demand. From new reliance on unconventional energy sources like solar and wind to the introduction of electric cars, the energy landscape is continually evolving. It is imperative, therefore, that Alliander improve its load forecasting capabilities across its networks to ensure that its grid is optimized and can continue to deliver consistent and dependable power.
Smart sensors for a smarter grid…
To keep up with changing market demands, Alliander needs to learn everything it can from the activity on its grid.
Another key objective for Alliander is to continually improve asset management. It needed to ensure that maintenance on assets such as gas pipes and electrical cables used across the grid is handled efficiently and effectively to keep costs down, risks low, and availability high. That meant creating a central data repository that could be used to accurately track asset status.
Because of the size and complexity of its business, Alliander has an intricate IT landscape. Its core business functions are partly supported by SAP solutions, but where SAP plays the strongest role is in analytics. With the SAP Business Warehouse application as well as SAP Data Services and SAP Information Steward software, data owners at Alliander can take advantage of the latest innovations in reporting and data analysis.
Taking reporting to the next level…
For many years, Alliander has relied on SAP software to help execute its analytics strategy. The utility company maintains close ties with lead developers at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, who, like their Alliander counterparts, are dedicated to driving greater energy efficiency through powerful technology.
Working together to innovate and save…
Enter SAP: The SAP Experience
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the “smart grid” in energy distribution is its reliance on sensor data to forecast future grid load. Alliander already gathers enormous amounts of data from smart sensors in its grid, but it needed the IT infrastructure to put that data to use. It found its answer in the SAP HANA platform.
A new IT experience…
Given its long and trusted relationship with SAP, Alliander was eager to test out the new SAP HANA platform and was one of the first to deploy SAP HANA in the Netherlands.
I would recommend the SAP Services team for three reasons: They are very committed to the job they have to do. They have the knowledge about what SAP can deliver. And they implement solutions in a way that will work for our business.– Robin Hagemans, Manager, Grid Information, Alliander N.V.
The key to driving energy sustainability and innovation is to know what is happening across the energy network. And the only way to do that is with powerful IT. Whether it is monitoring assets, forecasting energy loads, or understanding customer energy usage with smart meters, Alliander works closely with SAP to gather data in the fastest, most effective way and put it to use to the benefit of its customers and the business.
With SAP HANA, Alliander gets the most out of its data, helping it manage resources, monitor loads, and guide households on how to use energy wisely – saving energy for the world and money for customers.
Getting more out of the data...
Better Business: Benefits
Grid optimization is a key component in smart energy management. Before implementing SAP HANA, Alliander was only able to run load forecasts to optimize its grid once a year through a long process that could take up to 10 weeks. With SAP HANA, it is now able to optimize its grid once a month and the process takes just three days. This means more-accurate load forecasting, helping reduce excess generation and overall environmental impact.
Simpler Data Access Saves Time and Resources.
95.7% Faster load-forecasting process (from 10 weeks to 3 days)
With SAP solutions at the core of its analytics infrastructure, data owners within Alliander have access to the data they need without the help of IT. With SAP Information Steward and SAP Data Services software, data owners can manage data, define rules and key performance indicators, and present data to management in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
Improving Asset Maintenance with Better Data Quality.
4 hours to train business users on SAP Data Services and SAP Information Steward.
60% reduction in IT resource and design costs.
Proactive asset maintenance is crucial to ensuring safe and reliable service to customers. Working with the Data Science organization from SAP, Alliander is now using a cutting-edge data mining approach based in R programming techniques that allows it to identify patterns, extract regularities from the data itself, and complete missing asset data automatically. The result is lower project costs as well as significantly less effort and fewer resources for data quality management. That means better, more efficient planning for asset investments and more-streamlined regulatory compliance.
Ever since we learned about the data mining approach to improve master-data quality proposed by SAP’s Data Science organization, it has become a substantial component of all our data quality projects.– Rob Jansen, Manager of Grid Information, Alliander N.V.
Helping Customers Save Energy - and Money
It is without a doubt Alliander customers who are reaping the greatest benefits from SAP solutions and services. And there is no better example than the company’s use of SAP Customer Energy Management software. By collecting massive amounts of data from smart meters and processing it using SAP HANA, the software allows customers to analyze their own energy usage and then advises on ways that each household can use energy more wisely. Not only can each family help make the world a greener place, they can save on their monthly energy bill doing it.
What customers can do is really change their energy behavior – and you can reduce your energy bill by 10% or even 20% per month.– Jeroen Scheer, Manager, Taskforce Energy Transition IT, Alliander N.V.
Better Business: Lessons Learned
From smarter asset monitoring to greater customer involvement in sustainability efforts, Alliander is transforming the way it provides services through interconnectedness and Big Data. The lesson Alliander is learning with help from SAP is that the company’s network must be open, distributive, and collaborative – allowing anyone to access data at any time and use it to create value and save energy.
Better Business: Run Simple
Whether it is crunching the data gathered by SAP Customer Energy Management, enabling dynamic asset management, or achieving electrical substation automation, Alliander is continually creating new and innovative business models based on the power of the SAP HANA platform.
Our new SAP solution monitors our network at five-minute intervals and forecasts demand based on this data and many other variables, including demographic growth, seasonality, consumption forecasts, and specific events. We’re generating forecasts much more quickly, frequently – and accurately. Strategic load forecasting is seven to eight times faster than before, enabling us to get insight on grid conditions in real time. Peak load forecasting has made us more efficient at predicting load across the grid, heading off likely outages, and identifying leaks and fraud.– Robin Hagemans, Manager, Grid Information, Alliander N.V.
Alliander has big plans for the future, with electric mobility, sustainable area development, and sustainable living topping the list of priorities for 2014. Deepening the insights gained from network data will play a big part in that – as will SAP HANA. Over the next five years, Alliander will continue to stand as a leader in energy transition – giving customers the tools they need to become more energy aware and energy efficient.
A future of IT based on SAP HANA…