PPM Power: Manage Centrally, Operate Locally

We’re here to explore some major enterprise software and solutions, trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners and developers.

This customer case-study focuses on Enel Green Power and how their Italian utility business has benefited from improved management of core business processes and gained visibility into new energy projects, also adhering to compliance through better planning and the ability to scope out new projects comprehensively.

To learn about Enel Green Power’s innovative use of project and portfolio management, I interviewed Massimo Ferriani, CIO of Enel Green Power in Rome.

Listen to the podcast (19:53 minutes).

Here are some excerpts:

Massimo Ferriani: Enel Green Power is one of the leaders in the renewables market … We’re in all the most mature technologies such as hydro, geothermal, wind and solar.

If you think about a matrix to cross technologies and countries, we have a lot of trouble, because we operate four technologies in 16 countries.

It’s difficult because we have more than 300 plants all around the world. So it’s an asset portfolio that we have to operate, and we have to reduce the risks.

When we decided to deploy IT platforms, we didn’t think that it was a good idea to deploy conventional-generation IT platforms, but to build up new platforms more fitted to renewables’ needs.

We thought about the main objective in deploying these platforms and said, “OK, maybe we have to deploy platforms that permit us to minimize the portfolio risk, in order to know exactly what production should be.” For us, knowing the production is a condition.

We have to know production, and we have to know exactly the production that we’re promising to sell to the market.

The business strategy is to manage centrally and operate locally. IT had to follow the strategy. Our main IT platforms are developed with the objective to be global. Global doesn’t mean managing everything centralized, but to manage the IT platform as centralized, because it’s better for synergies and in terms of costs. But because we have to fit local needs, we we have to localize these platforms in 16 countries.

For PPM, as well, we decided to have a global, centralized, unique platform, in order to gather and collect all the data that we get from the field. This is one of the problems that we frequently have because, in effect, the operation is located everywhere. And, it’s not easy to collect information from each field operation.

We have lot of plants in the middle of nowhere — in the middle of the Nevada desert and in the middle of the Mato Grosso in Brazil. We have to gather information from these plants. So, it’s important to have global IT platforms, because one of our main objectives is that all our people have to work in the same way.

It’s also important to set the main goal of the PPM solution. Now, the PPM solution lets Enel Green Power manage its own worldwide portfolio initiatives, both business development side and the plant construction Phase 2, because we have to remember that the business development hands over the construction of the project.

We have to do it through building a unique, centralized, integrated platform, valuable to all the countries, designed to certify the market value of the pipeline and the potential future production related to that pipeline. For us, it’s absolutely important to forecast better, to make budgets, and so on. It had to be designed to support people, our colleagues, in activities like planning, project development, reporting, document management, and so on.

Setting the Main Goals

So when we decided to deploy this platform, we had a lot of work for a couple of reasons.

First of all, because we wanted to develop an integrated in-house platform in order to map the … core processes of the project, and at the same time to implement algorithms to develop a portfolio evaluation.

The second was to investigate adopting a standard solution available on the market that allowed us, with little customization, to fit the need of the business. It’s important to underline that, when we started this project, it was the end of May, 2010. We already knew we were going to have an IPO. We didn’t know the time exactly, but we had to be ready for the end of October, the estimated date of the IPO.

We adopted the HP solution, because the HP people convinced us that with a minimal set of customization we would be ready for the end of October — and we did it.

We chose HP because of the … strong automation in the collection of the data. As I said before, also important for us were simplicity and flexibility. Also, with reference to our geographical distribution everywhere, the adoption of a solution supported with global support was another constraint and was absolutely important.

We needed a standard technology accessible from a lot of countries and with integration with other applications that we have, for example Microsoft Project. We also required scalability and platform growth — and HP has a strength on this point — because we are adopting a Web service architecture. And we wanted the viability of a unique homogenous view of mandating KPIs.

First Things First

We’re only in the first phase in order to support the IPO and to support the certification of the market value of the pipeline. But the main benefits of this platform for the business are acquisition and centralization of the data.

For us, the flexibility was maybe one of the three main strengths on this platform and the reasons we chose HP. But the best one, as I said before, was the minimum customization we needed in order to fit the first phase. It’s not easy to have only three months time to set 64 workflows, because the local business development wants to fit their workflow on these needs.

It’s important for the automation to monitor all the steps of the workflow, of the individual steps of the process, to manage the workflow authorization of the individual steps, and monitor progress of the individual steps. All these data have to support us in order to plan the strategy. So there are plenty of benefits and maybe more benefits in the future with the evolution of this platform.

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, which tracks trends, delivers forecasts and interprets the competitive landscape of enterprise applications and software infrastructure markets for clients. He also produces BriefingsDirect sponsored podcasts. Follow Dana Gardner on Twitter. Disclosure: HP sponsored this podcast.

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