Yorkshire Water improves management reporting with SAP BW

Since the water industry was privatised in 1989, Yorkshire Water has managed the collection, treatment and distribution of water, supplying around 1.24 billion litres of drinking water each day to its customers in England's biggest county. From April 2000, SAP software has supported the company's finance, HR and supply chain operations.

From 2001, this included work management for field operatives too. When faced with an essential upgrade of management reporting systems, to the latest version of SAP BW, Yorkshire Water engaged Bluefin Solutions for assistance.

Essential expertise and advice over the years as an SAP customer, Yorkshire Water has developed a self-sufficient Centre of Excellence (CoE) to support the entire systems landscape. Recognised by SAP as a competency centre, the CoE delivers expert implementation assistance across all systems and functional business units. With a focus on financial and work management reporting, the version of SAP BW in use at  Yorkshire Water had been deployed for nearly four years and was in need of upgrading to keep in full support with the supplier and to provide a new platform for growth.

"With a critical mass of reports in daily use throughout the organisation, the obvious decision was to upgrade to the latest version." Julia Sheer, Team Manager, Reporting and  Support Services, YorkshireWater

At the time, the SAP BW team at Yorkshire Water was small but highly skilled. However, this was the first upgrade of the BW application at Yorkshire Water and, more importantly, a very early example anywhere of an upgrade to the latest version of SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence. Yorkshire Water discussed their requirements with four organisations before choosing Bluefin Solutions as their partner for the upgrade project.

"We realised that we were at the leading edge with this project and we would need some specialist  support." Julia Sheer, Team Manager, Reporting and Support Services, Yorkshire Water

Partnering for excellence

Rightfully proud of the contribution the Yorkshire Water Centre of Excellence makes to the organisation, developing the skills within the Reporting and Support Services team was a key element of the project. With a culture oriented towards partnerships rather than suppliers and customers, the search was on for a partner who could help with the upgrade and, at the same time, transfer enough knowledge to enable the team to support the new version once it went live. 

"Because we value the skills within the team, we place a lot of  emphasis on personal growth. We felt we could work optimally with Bluefin because of the cultural fit. While we consider price as an important part of the equation, their friendly and open approach, the clear mutual respect and desire to work together was very compelling." Julia Sheer, Team Manager, Reporting and Support Services, Yorkshire Water

The Bluefin experts worked side-by-side with the Yorkshire Water team from the outset.

"The brief was to work and collaborate with us at every stage, to maximise the knowledge transfer. In fact, having a Bluefin consultant in our team for 6 months, focusing on the upgrade, as well as willing to contribute to other projects, really helped to advance our own skills." Julia Sheer, Team Manager, Reporting and Support Services, Yorkshire Water

Improved reporting downstream

Whilst the objective of the project – to achieve a technical upgrade without any impact to the business – was accomplished, Julia is now keen to take advantage of the new functionality available.

"We saw better performance immediately, so our internal customers are getting better service. The other key benefit is establishing a more advanced platform for reporting. We will take advantage of integrated planning and the Visual Composer and, of course, our reporting has a more modern look and feel." Julia Sheer, Team Manager, Reporting and Support Services, Yorkshire Water

SAP BW is so important to the organisation that Yorkshire Water has expanded the internal BW team since beginning the upgrade project and the team's skills are growing. But Julia is planning further collaboration with Bluefin.

"We still need additional expertise and, more importantly, experience of how to exploit the new functionality." Julia Sheer, Team Manager, Reporting and Support Services, Yorkshire Water

There are times when the Reporting team's resources are stretched and they need extra resources to support the business.
"Bluefin's consultants are very knowledgeable and helpful. They are collaborative, responsive and flexible. With Bluefin around, we have a virtual team to support us – overall it has been a really good partnership experience." Julia Sheer, Team Manager, Reporting and Support Services, Yorkshire Water

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