Joining the company in 1997, Stefan Engelhardt supported the specification and launch of SAP’s first industry solution for Utilities as Global Product Management Specialist. Since then, Stefan has held various management positions within SAP’s Industry Business Unit Utilities, finally becoming Vice President Utilities in 2007. He is currently responsible for SAP’s global Go-to-Market strategy for the utilities industry and focuses in particular on the definition and execution of SAP’s bi-modal product innovation strategy, based on SAP S/4HANA for Utilities and the new SAP Cloud for Utilities solution portfolio.
Regarding SAP’s Cloud for Utilities (C4U) project, Engelhardt comments “We are the solution owner for the complete business suite. In my role, I particularly support the C4U leadership board from a strategic perspective, as well as the team with our go-to-market activities.”
Considering it important to emphasise the technological approach, as reducing costs and adoption time is what the company strives to do, Engelhardt believes that the C4U offering is flexible to the specific needs of customers. “The architecture is modular,” he says, “so we leverage the independent cloud components that SAP offers. For service, for instance, for sales, for marketing, for commerce, for billing and revenue management. We're bringing them together, extending them from an industry perspective - but you still have the option to buy and run them separately.”
Unlike some other leaders who view traditional ways of working to be set in stone, or are otherwise adverse to making bold decisions, Engelhardt is adamant that the margins for this mode of operation are shrinking fast. “Utilities have to extend their scope. They have to go beyond the traditional energy business in order to offer value added or even completely independent service offerings.”
SAP C4U is uniquely equipped to enable those in the industry to compete in this brave new world. “For growth, they will have to look to new business dimensions, which is why the platform supports non-commodity and multi-service capabilities,” Engelhardt adds. “We leverage elements and know-how from the 26 industry solutions we have at SAP such as telco, automotive and so on, bringing them together in order to allow utilities to offer new bundled business services. Of course we also automate the traditional processes of the commodity business.”
Going forwards, the aim for C4U, is clear. Engelhardt and the company have a clearly defined vision and have the industry expertise to carry it through. “There is one simple goal. We want to help our customers to transform their business into the next dimension, and we're doing the same on our side. At the same time, I think what we are seeing happening that is interesting for us is more and more players coming from other areas and entering the space. Maybe our customers of the future are not just utilities, but other service providers who start to complement services with energy. Our platform should provide both with the necessary tools and processes to be successful.”