A success story in Modernization, Transformation and Collaboration

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Charles Brenn, Vice President Information Technology at Energize

Charles Brenn, Vice President Information Technology at Energize

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, organizations worldwide are undergoing digital transformation to stay competitive. Énergir, a diversified energy business headquartered in Québec, Canada, is no exception. With a mission to find sustainable ways to meet energy needs of its clients, Énergir embarked on its S/4 HANA journey to support its strategic vision and actively contribute to the energy transition of Quebec to help meet greenhouse gas reduction objectives. Through energy efficiency, increased usage of renewable natural gas and dual energy program, Énergir is committed to creating a lower carbon economy future.

Énergir’s Vice President of Information Technology, Charles Brenn, spearheaded the SAP S/4 HANA project in 2019, recognizing the need to migrate from the aging ECC system and create a solid digital core to support Énergir’s vision. After carefully planning the journey, the project started to take form and included three major components: migration, business transformation, and cloud adoption.

1. The first challenge was migrating all existing users, code, and processes from ECC to SAP S/4 HANA. This process ensured a smooth transition to the new platform, laying a robust foundation for Énergir’s future endeavours.

2. Énergir knew that in specific area, the technology and the innovation brought by S/4 HANA was so disruptive that a complete or partial business transformation would be required. They had also identified critical business function that needed to transform to meet their strategic objectives. Finance and customer service were identified as prime candidates for transformation, while procurement underwent partial modernization.

3. Embracing modern ways of working, Énergir wanted to leverage cloud technology to its advantage. Meticulous considerations were made while deciding on the approach for the infrastructure as multiple options were available. Ultimately the cloud was selected to guarantee the project’s success and future scalability.

After strategic project alignment, careful planning, business resources onboarding and properly planned supplier contracting, Énergir officially started the project in June 2021. After 11 months of hard work and collaborative effort from everyone, they went live in May 2022. The final launch was made a few months later and completed Énergir’s journey to S/4 HANA.

The organization experienced numerous benefits, including improved user experience and automation of low-value tasks. Business transformation was also a success and tools are now leveraged daily. Énergir’s finance team gained valuable analytics capabilities and a solid foundation to support its strategic plan.

From a cloud perspective, they enhanced agility and flexibility during and after the project. For example, by selecting a cloud infrastructure, Énergir was able to scale up the infrastructure during the project for migration purposes and to scale it back down, fully leveraging the benefits of the cloud, all of that without disrupting the project.

The S/4 HANA project was a major success for Énergir. Along with their partners the company collectively managed to deploy on time and on budget but more importantly on value.

Throughout the process of its systems modernization, Énergir learned a few important lessons and applied them on other projects since:

1. Effective preparation is essential. It may seem obvious, but it is crucial to understand the scope of your project, ensuring clear alignment with the business strategy, and securing solid business support for the project. Addressing these essential questions is imperative. However, it’s essential to strike a balance, as excessive planning doesn’t always lead to better outcomes. Flexibility and adaptability are equally vital, as certain aspects may need to be figured out along the way. The ability to adapt while staying focused on the original course is what will ultimately determine the project’s success.

2. Involve a significant amount of business resources right from the project’s outset and ensure that those who will play a substantial role in the project are adequately backfilled. Avoid overburdening resources with dual responsibilities. Engaging these resources in design workshops and testing phases will not only enhance their commitment to the project but also transforms them into valuable ambassadors within the organization. Their involvement will facilitate smoother implementation and drive wider adoption across the business.

 Through energy efficiency, increased usage of renewable natural gas and dual energy program, Énergir is committed to creating a lower carbon economy future 

3. Collaborating as one cohesive team with your partners (Systems Integrator, Hyperscaler, SAP, etc.) is crucial for the success of the project. Ensuring that everyone shares the same objectives will make a significant difference when challenges arise. It is vital to view any problem as a collective project/team issue that requires resolution, rather than attributing it to a specific person or organization. Aim to align the contracts with your partners to reflect this collaborative reality, fostering a spirit of teamwork and shared responsibility throughout the project lifecycle. This approach will foster effective problem-solving and contribute to the overall success of the endeavour.

Now that this project is successfully completed, Énergir is exploring other areas where technology could contribute in operating its vision. A 3 to 5-year roadmap is currently being developed, taking advantage of the solid digital core that has been established with the SAP S/4 HANA project. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and augmented reality are all under consideration to help Énergir play a key role in the energy transition, one of the most significant modern challenges.