Easy ad hoc analysis of SAP data
SWB Energy and Water serves the German city of Bonn and surrounding Rhein-Sieg area with electricity, gas, water and long-distance heating services. The utility company, which sees its role as a partner to local citizens and businesses, invests in the highest quality standards for all of its business divisions. The company uses a powerful IT platform based on SAP IS-U and SAP BW to seamlessly execute its business processes. In 2006, the customer service and invoicing department added the analytic tool InfoZoom to its SAP landscape so that the team could analyze this data at any time in line with its changing needs.
While searching for a suitable tool, the project team knew one thing for certain – it certainly had more than enough data. The existing sources can easily serve the various information needs throughout the company – provided that the data quality is high and users can analyze it spontaneously. The project team was particularly impressed with InfoZoom’s fast, easy analytic capabilities on large quantities of SAP data.
»InfoZoom technology is user-friendly and easy to understand.«
Sales, marketing, financial controlling and energy production all need different types of information. Thanks to InfoZoom, the customer service department can flexibly address these specific needs individually. It also uses InfoZoom analyses to fulfill external information requirements for customers with several points of consumption as well as the German Federal Statistical Office, German Federal Network Agency or local authorities.
Searching for errors in SAP
In addition to running analyses related to customer service and invoicing, the department is also responsible for ensuring the quality of its master data. InfoZoom supports this task with its unique method of visual analysis, which instantly detects errors or irregularities in a large pool of data.
The software displays entire datasets on a single computer screen to make even complex data sources more manageable and understandable.
Correlations, abnormalities and outliers which were previously difficult to detect – such as empty table fields, different ways of writing the same words (e.g. the name of a facility manager who receives separate invoices for each point of consumption) as well as missing zip codes and meter points – are now clearly visible.
Data harmonization and plausibility checks
In addition to harmonizing data and reports, the department also uses InfoZoom for running plausibility checks in SAP. This way, the customer service representatives can continually check if e-mail addresses are available for all online customers, booked products correspond with the meter points and customer numbers for invoicing, and correct rate plans are listed in the customer master data.
Eliminating errors in SAP is a routine task. If the department has a large number of corrections in a certain business unit, the company can perform a mass change in SAP. Prior to using InfoZoom, it was difficult to even locate these errors – especially when hidden in complex correlations. Thanks to the analytic tool, the administrative employees who manage this data on a day-to-day basis can control and, therefore, take responsibility for the data quality in their department
Departments gain sovereignty over their data
Every month, IT extracts data for all active customers from the SAP systems and sends it to the customer service department as a .txt or .csv file. This file serves as the starting point for all analyses and quality controls. Users can import the current dataset containing over 300,000 records with 210 attributes into InfoZoom within 20 seconds and then use this information for creating routine statistics or special analyses for specific projects.
Prior to purchasing InfoZoom, the IT department had to create these analyses and special reports in SAP – a task that could take up to three days. Now, the users themselves can analyze the information they need without any assistance with just a few mouse clicks. Axel Kapellen, Department Manager for Customer Service and Invoicing at SWB Energy and Water, is certain:
»Integrating our department into the data management process was a successful step towards the continual optimization of the data quality at SWB Energy and Water.«