Electricity operator TenneT taps Accenture for SAP implementation

16 October 2019 Consultancy.eu 5 min. read

Netherlands-based European electricity transmission system operator TenneT has selected Accenture to support a large SAP implementation in the Netherlands and Germany.

With total assets of over €20,000 million and over 22,000 km of electricity lines and cables at 110 kV and above, TenneT is one of Western Europe’s larger electricity transmission system operators. The Arnhem-headquartered company is the national electricity transmission operator of the Netherlands (owned by the Dutch government) and is one of the four transmission system operators in neighbouring Germany. Across both markets the utilities company supports electricity provision to 41 million end-users. 

The technology backbone of TenneT’s operations is managed in SAP, one of the globe’s largest enterprise resource planning (ERP) software systems. The SAP system facilitates some of the key processes run by TenneT, including the handling of electricity transmission services, monitoring energy market flows, as well as back office tasks such as finance, human resources, warehousing and logistics, procurement, maintenance and preservation, and asset management.TenneT taps Accenture for SAP implementationIn a bid to lift the maturity of its internal operations, TenneT has opted to streamline a number of business processes using SAP’s S/4HANA technology. The transition has two key objectives: 1) increase the efficiency of processes and 2) harmonise the way of working between the Dutch and German business units. 

Elaborating on the transformation, Carina Krastel-Hoek, Senior Manager Financial Services Corporate at TenneT, said, “TenneT not only wants to enable the energy transition, but also to advance it. Therefore, it’s important that we harmonise, optimise and further automate our internal processes.” 

On the decision to build on SAP technology, she added; “SAP S/4HANA provides a modern, flexible and standard solution that provides better insight into processes in the Netherlands and Germany.”

Following a search for a consulting and integration partner, TenneT picked Accenture out of a range of consulting firms with a track record in the utilities industry. “Accenture understands the challenges of a complex transformation project and has demonstrated that it has the right accelerators and the right team to execute this modernisation in a controlled way,” commented Krastel-Hoek.

Accenture has been tasked with creating a blueprint of the new business processes on SAP S/4HANA, delivering the technology architecture and interfaces, and overseeing the programme management. 

Embedding technology change

The consultancy has also been tasked with change management services to help enable successful execution and help TenneT employees in both countries get the most value from the new system. A key part of the transition – as illustrated by two recent failures in the SAP implementation space. Last year, German supermarket Lidl cancelled a large-scale SAP roll-out after having sunk €500 million into the project, with poor change management pinpointed as one of the major flops. 

"We’re not just helping TenneT implement a new technology, we understand the organisational challenges the company is facing.”
– Roy Ikink, Accenture

In the Netherlands, car lease company LeasePlan faced a similar hardship, and in August this year the firm rocked its shareholders when it unveiled that it had lost over €100 million due to a failed SAP project. As a result, the company now needs between three to five years to build a replacement system, leaving its employees behind with legacy solutions and sub-optimal processes. 

Roy Ikink, a managing director in Accenture’s Resources practice in the Netherlands, said that Accenture’s project team is fully geared at ensuring the TenneT project “delivers the required business value and mitigates risk during project execution”. 

He stated; “We’re not just helping TenneT implement a new technology platform, we understand the organisational challenges the company is facing now and in the future. By working with them to manage this, we can make sure the implementation of SAP S/4HANA is sustainable.” Equally important, the firm has taken measures to deliver this project “in a controlled and predictable way [so that] disruptions to the business and customers” is minimised.

Interestingly, TenneT is led by chief executive officer Manon van Beek, who previously spent 22 years with Accenture, five of those as country managing director. She joined TenneT in the summer of last year, and was succeeded by Irine Gaasbeek.