With energy into eProcurement


With energy into eProcurement

Electricity is yellow, or green and therefore politically correct? As simple as the product is, the marketing strategies of energy suppliers have developed in many different ways. Digitalization brings even more variety. However, the implementation of new legal requirements, for example with regard to process automation, is often accompanied by confusion and fragmentation of the IT architecture. Some application maps within a company go beyond the imagination. This applies to the customer’s perspective as well as to many an IT organization of providers in the energy sector and, of course, also in other procurement departments in the private and public sectors. This is also the case for our customer EWN. The three companies in the group worked within a heterogeneous IT system architecture, a highly fragmented application landscape and procurement processes with different characteristics.

This fragmentation was accompanied by a divergent view of the contracting authorities in the group of companies on the so-called mandatory and evaluation criteria, necessary to coordinate a common, bidder-neutral specification and a corresponding evaluation model for awarding an eProcurement tool. The pressure to make processes and methods more efficient, transparent and congruent was increased for EWN from outside. A new procurement regulation obliges all contracting authorities for the upper threshold area (procurement procedures that must be put out to tender across Europe in accordance with the expected contract value above the EU threshold value) to carry out corresponding procurement procedures electronically in stages from October 2018 at the latest. In February 2017, the procedural regulations for the award of public supply and service contracts below the EU thresholds (Sub-Threshold Ordinance – UVgO) were also published.

Transitioning from what is to what should be: the kobaltblau approach

Our project began with a comprehensive analysis of the existing IT systems and actual processes of the three companies EWN, KTE and JEN within the Group. This was followed by the development of a group-wide and bidder-neutral specification of services with a corresponding evaluation model as well as support throughout the entire award process, which was essentially divided into a qualification stage (request to participate phase) and a bid stage (bid phase) with subsequent bidder negotiations. Finally, professional evaluation and support was provided in the awarding of the contract. Once the provider had been selected, the first step was to implement the specific recommendations for process optimization and harmonization. In addition, the implementation of the selected eProcurement solution was managed, including support during the test phase, training of the relevant employees and ensuring a timely and successful go live.

Step by step…

In the first step of the project, a consolidated target image was created on the basis of the analysis of the current situation, which enables a bidder-neutral, cross-group service description. The analysis of suitable mandatory and evaluation criteria then formed the basis for a market survey to check the identified requirements and the breakdown of criteria for the market availability of systems and to enable a requirements-based weighting and evaluation matrix for the transparent comparison of providers and their solutions.

A neutral service specification and corresponding evaluation model served as the basis for the subsequent tender and to support the awarding of the contract. As part of the tender itself, the bids were evaluated and weighted, bidder questions were answered by kobaltblau in cooperation with the project participants from the EWN group of companies and support was provided with the award justification. This was followed by process optimization based on a thorough analysis of all relevant interfaces in order to be able to assess where there is potential for optimization and how upstream or downstream systems can be ideally integrated.

As part of the subsequent implementation of the selected solution, kobaltblau coordinated the actual implementation of the requirements for the chosen tool, provided support with acceptance tests and the conception and implementation of workshops and user training and set up a professional, accompanying change management program that accompanied the entire organization communicatively until the go live.

Optimized, automated and standardized

At the end of the joint process digitization project, EWN had Group-wide systems and optimized standardized processes that make a significant contribution to better collaboration. Largely fully automated processes without media disruptions ensure significantly reduced throughput times and free up capacity for other projects and programs within the scope of procurement activities. Standardized evaluation logics in the implemented procurement system lead to comprehensible and legally compliant decisions and the cross-group harmonization of the application landscape generates long-term cost savings. The success of the project was guaranteed by clear central control, group-wide workshops and an iterative, i.e. agile, approach to system implementation and testing. The success of the project is demonstrated, for example, by a reduction or standardization of around 66 percent of the forms used and 30 percent of the roles required within the processes.

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