T&D World Magazine

Arizona's SRP Powers Business Transformation With SAP

Salt River Project (SRP), one of the nation's largest public-owned utilities, has chosen business software from SAP AG as the IT platform.

SRP realized its business needed a single, unified IT platform to improve operational efficiency across the back-office workflows running on outdated legacy systems and spreadsheet-based processes. Ultimately, SRP chose the enterprise resource planning (ERP) application SAP ERP and business intelligence (BI) solutions from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio.

Salt River Project carries a broad and diverse slate of operational demands. The Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, a political subdivision of the state of Arizona, provides electricity to nearly 940,000 retail customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, and operates or participates in 11 major power plants and numerous other generating stations, including thermal, nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric and renewable resources. Salt River Valley Water Users' Association provides central Arizona with nearly 1 million acre-feet of water annually, operating an extensive water delivery system of reservoirs, canals and wells.

Working together in a value engineering process, SRP and SAP identified potential enterprise-wide benefits, especially in areas such as financial, human resources (HR) and supply chain management. The process uses industry benchmarking data to help identify and best address business challenges with existing IT investments and complementary solutions.

One of the major challenges for SRP lies in consolidating and cleansing decades of data spread throughout legacy systems to gain data quality and confidence, a task that will be addressed with enterprise information management (EIM) solutions from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio. This will create a unified BI platform for business planning and the ability to plan, project and report budgeting information at a consistent level for any desired periods in the future and to drill down, drill back or rearrange data at any level of detail.

In addition to financial management, productivity gains are also targeted in HR management processes such as payroll, benefits, time-keeping, recruiting and learning and development. For example, time-keeping processes can be enhanced with employees' ability to enter time via multiple service methods, including online or via cell phones or other handheld devices. Processing travel expenses on corporate credit cards also gains an efficiency boost via the SAP Bank Communication Management application.

A further challenge lies in replacing paper-based processes as much as possible, transforming these into digital forms and adding new capabilities for indexing, search and "check-in" and "check-out" controls. Native integration of SAP workflow and partner solutions will make documents available directly via the work process when and where they are needed across SRP's geographically dispersed work force. For example, the SAP Archiving application by Open Text will create a central contract repository for procurement to optimize vendor management and invoice collection processes, and the SAP® Interactive Forms software by Adobe will help replace paper-based processes and reduce redundant data entry across the organization.

New workflow and document management features will also help enable new procurement capabilities such as strategic sourcing, that were previously hampered by lack of unified, robust data and manual processes. The bidding engine and e-sourcing tools within SAP software support employees in decision-making by making purchasing histories readily available, expediting requisition processes, and integrating tracking of purchase and work orders along with their respective cost centers. The centrally archived procurement system also alerts users prior to overspend with automatic notifications.

With compliance as a key regulatory demand as well as core corporate value, Salt River Project will also deploy SAP BusinessObjects software to control system access, manage risk, enhance security and comply with mandated reporting guidelines.

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