Businesses that operate in an environment of massive volatility and fluctuating commodity prices are always looking for that one distinct advantage that will set them apart from the rest of the competition. In the energy industry, such a differentiator often comes in the form of a merger or acquisition. But for two Texas-based companies, Tesoro and CenterPoint Energy, it’s also about realizing the full potential of their data.
Both companies had information in a lot of different places. Tesoro, a Fortune 100 independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, receives an immense volume of transactional, market, and sensor data – every hour of every day throughout the year. Meanwhile, CenterPoint Energy, a Fortune 500 electric and natural gas utility, has thousands of meters generating 8 terabytes of data per month. The sources of information may differ for these energy giants, but the strategy is the same: create business value by pulling data together into one place to make expedient decisions.
During the SAPPHIRE NOW session “Follow the Digital Journey of Tesoro and CenterPoint Energy with SAP,” Steven Sterin, executive vice president and CFO of Tesoro, and Gary Hayes, senior vice president and CIO of CenterPoint Energy, shared their journeys in leveraging an integrated platform consisting of a digital core and advanced analytics.
Tesoro: Changing the way the work is done with integrated data
Sterin kicked off the conversation by underscoring the importance of integrated data and information. “In the past, business people needed to be part of the transactional system to get information. They had to learn the language of the technology; otherwise, they couldn’t get what they need from the company,” Sterin shared. “Now that we are bringing together information from inside and outside of the transactional system to visualize it, change it, manipulate it, and manage it, we can give decision makers more than what they ever thought they needed.”
Tesoro is integrating information with a real-time, in-memory data structure. This approach allows the company to unite clean transactional data, market data, and other information. And by introducing data visualization, business intelligence tools, enterprise mobility, and real-time or controlled data management when needed, decision makers are more informed as they look at the business from a variety of perspectives. For example, employees can review transactions and weigh potential scenarios – such as higher commodity pricing and timing of actions – without constraints.
“If you can visualize, touch, and manipulate information that’s meaningful to you, it does change the way you work. And I think that’s the future. Even the way people get together and collaborate is changing,” Sterin observed.
CenterPoint Energy: Delivering service excellence with greater speed, insight, and efficiency
Agreeing with Sterin’s observations, Hayes mentioned how a digital core powered by in-memory computing became a central part of an advanced data management platform. “[Like Tesoro,] we had information in a lot of different places. Most likely, you’ve heard discussions about the Big Data lake. We took that philosophy to create a smaller lake of rich data and use the data ponds around it to bring data together during the decision making.”
Hayes’ team applied the speed of in-memory computing to efficiently process and store data that is collected in 15-minute intervals. Now, the company analyzes 13 months of live data and pushes it out into a Hadoop platform to perform long-chain analytics. By adopting a predictive analytics engine, CenterPoint Energy is taking this information to give its customers exactly what they need, when they need it. During a customer call, for example, the system assesses 14 million data points in less than one second to understand an issue or request. If no exception handling is required, the customer can quickly resolve the inquiry through the interactive voice response (IVR) system.
Hayes remarked that this process is 9,000% faster than an agent acquiring that information from the customer to get to that point of a decision. “It’s significantly increased our call deflection and first-call resolution time, as well as reduced our agents’ time during each of those calls. Now, our agents are taking calls that are much more qualitative- and quality-oriented calls. And it’s positively impacted our customer satisfaction scores.”
The secret to their success? It’s all about having the right focus
The experiences of Tesoro and CenterPoint Energy embody a fundamental, yet important, lesson: Digital transformation of any kind is about creating value, not implementing technology. By re-evaluating how every front-office and back-office function can benefit from the speed of in-memory processing, the connectivity of a digital core, and the real-time insight generated from advanced analytic tools, companies can redefine themselves with a business model that best matches customer needs and market dynamics.
Get a clear vision on how a digital core and advanced analytics can change how your business operates and serves its customers. Watch the replay of the SAPPHIRE NOW session, “Follow the Digital Journey of Tesoro and CenterPoint Energy with SAP.”
Learn how to bring new technologies and services together to power digital transformation by downloading “The IoT Imperative for Energy and Natural Resource Companies.”