5 Min. Reading time
5 Min. Reading Time
By Dr. Karsten Schmidt, author
Published on 21.08.2020
by Dr. Karsten Schmidt, author
Published on 21.08.2020
Many customers are generally sceptical about new software.
More precisely, they are afraid that renewable energy concepts can only be realized by replacing their existing systems with new, complex software systems. In their minds, horror scenarios of months of implementation projects and chaos in the existing systems take place.
In the following article we want to remove these concerns, using our AE Local Supplier as an example. We will briefly explain how our product is fully functional for you after only 8 weeks. The advantages of our software solutions lie not only in their intuitive operability, but also in their simple integration and commissioning.
For our customers this means
• No complex implementation processes
• No inevitable replacement of existing systems
• No great coordination effort, since we take over the majority of the necessary tasks for the commissioning
Our software makes it easy to implement renewable energy concepts. And thanks to the stress-free integration into any existing systems, the software can be used as quickly as possible.
To show you exactly how the onboarding process of new customers takes place after the contract is signed and how the software is provided, we answer the most frequently asked questions about implementation below.
After conclusion of the contract we draw up a project plan hand in hand with the customer. This is largely standardized at AE Local Supplier and consists of four phases.
1. The initialization
At the start date (which in corona times can also take place digitally without problems) we explain the complete project to all participants in a workshop. We finalise the project plan and clarify when the product should be ready for launch and which concrete steps still need to be taken. Usually this workshop takes about 2 hours.
Subsequently, we specify the scope of our services according to customer requirements. On the one hand we are guided by the given infrastructure (e.g. “Which accounting system is in use?” or “What do the data paths look like?” etc.) or on the other hand by the optimal scope of services for the customer (e.g. “Is there a functioning accounting system?” or “Should the accounting be done via our software-internal accounting system?”). Finally, the scope of services to be provided by the AE Local Supplier will be determined individually, as this can be adapted accordingly due to its modular structure.
The discussed scope of services is documented in a narrow specification sheet.
2. The implementation
Then we already start to implement the customer-specific interfaces and templates. Among other things, CI, logo and text modules are integrated into (tenant electricity) bills, cancellations, delivery confirmations and other customer documents, so that our templates are adapted to the respective customer in font, form and colour.
3. The data migration
In the third step we set up a customer client in our system so that the customer has his own workspace in our software. If necessary, data from existing tenant electricity projects is migrated into our software. In the standard case, formats, so-called change lists, are filled out, which then guarantee the export of data (customer installation, tariffs, meters of customers or generators) from previous systems or Excel lists to AE Local Supplier. Of course, the customer can now also create and edit new customer installations, as well as all other data (e.g. customers and tariffs) directly in the AE Local Supplier.
After the initial loading of the system, the interfaces that were implemented in phase 2 can be tested.
After the final phase, the software can be fully used by the customer as a cloud application. In a final training session, all users are guided through the customized software. Thanks to the easy-to-use interface and intuitive procedures, this is done very quickly and provides an opportunity to clarify final questions.
Between the start date and the provision of a functioning system, due to the necessary coordination, about eight weeks will pass. The actual work can also be done in a shorter time, but since different data has to be provided by the customer from week to week, 8 weeks is a good guideline for an efficient, speedy process.
There are two workshops, at the beginning and end of these two months. After that the trained customer has a working system – ready for daily use.
During the implementation phase we are in weekly exchange to coordinate the next steps. After the deployment and GO-LIVE of our software, we are no longer involved in the daily processes. After the workshops, working with the software is easy and self-explanatory, so there is no need for our ongoing assistance.
Customers from the real estate industry who are implementing tenant electricity projects for the first time are accompanied by us for a longer period of time, if required, in order to provide advice as energy industry experts. However, thanks to the energy industry expertise contained in our software, even energy-inexperienced customers will soon be able to handle energy on a daily basis.
Of course, we are available to all customers for questions and support via our hotline. We are also constantly working on our software solutions with Fraunhofer and incorporate the latest findings from the energy market in order to guarantee state-of-the-art technology and meet the current requirements of the market.
For the implementation of the project it makes sense to involve an energy industry expert who manages the tenant electricity projects as well as a customer manager from the accounting department. Depending on how the interfaces are designed, a member of the IT department should also be involved in the workshops.
In addition, we recommend installing a project manager on the customer side, who will bring together and coordinate all those involved in the company during the implementation phase.
In case the customer already realizes tenant electricity projects, we transfer this inventory data into our system. How quickly this migration can be implemented depends on the data quality. During the transfer to our software, data inconsistencies are sometimes revealed (e.g. due to manually managed Excel lists), which must be eliminated after consultation.
If no tenant electricity projects exist to date, new projects can be created directly in AE Local Supplier. Even if no tenant electricity contracts have yet been concluded, you can still enter meter data for the real estate, for example.
It is our guiding principle that we do not replace functioning existing systems, but offer a simple solution, a plug-in, so to speak, for the implementation of new tenant electricity projects. In principle, we can integrate all existing systems (mostly CRM / ERP systems) into our energy data management. Data is exchanged via a file-based CSV interface or a REST API.
So if the customer is satisfied with his existing inventory system for master data management or for accounting and billing, we can pull all relevant data via the interfaces without affecting this system.
Alternatively, if no inventory systems are available, the entire tenant electricity project can be created and managed in AE Local Supplier.
It is also possible to use functioning partial aspects of the existing systems, so that, for example, settlement can still be run via the proven ERP system. You weigh up together what the existing systems already successfully cover, and then the scope of services provided by AE Local Supplier is adapted to your individual needs.
To make it clear that these are not empty promises, but that the simplicity and user-friendliness in implementation and application inspire our customers, we would like to let Mr. Malte Künzer from Solarimo speak for us and hope that we will soon be able to convince you of our team and our software solutions yourself.
“The implementation of the Local Supplier in our systems was a really clear and pleasant process. It progressed rapidly and AMPEERS ENERGY also responded to our requirements in the process itself. The result speaks for itself – the software is user-friendly and the daily work with tenant power is made much easier for us.”
Malte Künzer, Founder & Managing Director at Solarimo GmbH