Using the example of a utilities alliance



The change in the energy market poses enormous challenges for network operation and distribution, which hardly any company can cope with today. Many potentials of digitalization and many visions of what is possible hinder the everyday business and the historically grown IT structures. Obsolete systems with competing processes are opposed to a legally prescribed smart meter initiative.

“A specific digitalization strategy is in place for just 17 percent of the energy providers, but there are promising approaches to digitalizing business processes and developing customer-oriented digital offerings.”
PwC study “Deutschlands Energieversorger werden digital”, January 15, 2016


Business Challenge

The only solution for companies in the energy industry to meet the challenges of the future is seamless digitization in all relevant areas of the company.

In order to go the way of digitalization together, the three network companies SWO Netz GmbH from Osnabrueck, SWB Netz GmbH from Bielefeld and muensterNetz GmbH joined forces in 2015 to form a network. The aim of the merger is to advance common topics in the areas of technical regulations, grid connection processes and generation facilities.

An idea takes shape.
A representative was elected from each of the three companies to play a key role in pushing the project forward.

“The development of new digital business models and investments in innovative technologies are the top issues for energy providers in Germany.
Public utility study 2017 commissioned by Ernst & Young (EY) and the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW)
Roger Filges
Head of Customer Connection
Hartwig Dall
Head of Network Connection
Karl-Heinz Kasel
Head of Customer Connection
“We have joined forces to form a network because we are all three regional and municipal suppliers of comparable size.”
Hartwig Dall, Head of Network Connection at muensterNetz GmbH

The three departments met for the first time in mid-2015 to exchange experiences. It quickly became apparent that every company processes the same type of data. The project assignment was then jointly defined:

Establishment of a common interface logic to collect necessary information on grid connection issues of grid customers and their assigned specialist companies.

Within the small project team, 580 input fields, 230 dropdown fields and 85 check boxes were analysed, harmonised and defined in ten joint workshop days.

“When selecting a suitable partner, we looked at a group of providers. Our choice quickly fell on Simplifier AG because we not only felt that we were in good hands, but the company was also able to impress us with its expertise and experience in dealing with providers.”
Karl-Heinz Kasel, Head of Customer Connection at SWO Netz GmbH



The result of the workshop is a jointly developed requirement specification of 244 pages. In cooperation with Simplifier AG, the requirements of the specifications were realized. The results were three sections of the network portal: house connection- , commissioning- and installer portal.

From connection application to commissioning – the Simplifier network portal covers all relevant steps for effective application management. It is divided into six modules.

The portal solution is based on a technologically standardized basis: Our low-code platform Simplifier. The network company 4.0 intelligently interfaces with existing systems such as SAP, SAP IS-U, SIV Kvasy, GIS systems or Schleupen. It also serves an external and internal portal for communication with market partners.



The network portal receives positive feedback

Shortly after the launch of the house connection, commissioning and plumbing portal, the members of the utility network received positive feedback inside and outside the company.

With regard to the customers, the positive feedback is mainly due to the time saved. In the past, the registration of a network connection was often very time-consuming. The corresponding applications had to be obtained, quite extensive documents had to be filled out and finally sent by post. The analogous procedure usually took a very long time, which meant that constant delays were the norm. By switching to a digital solution, not only media breaks can be avoided in the future, but the process is also much faster and more efficient. The customer can now comfortably accomplish the registration in the portal for electricity, gas, water and district heating at home.

With the registration of multi-party houses, building contractors and installers are often confronted with a real flood of paper. The changeover to the network portal makes the process much more comfortable. The program provides with numerous explanations, assistance and functions to help you complete the form. Entered data can be saved and reused. This functionality saves valuable time and nerves. Step by step, the applicant is guided through the registration process until the application data is securely transferred to the ERP system (SAP, IS-U, Schleupen, SIV kVASy 5, GIS systems). A current processing status of the application also provides more clarity. Additional documents can also be attached to the application.
With this solution, utilities also benefit from automated workflows. Status values and action data are automatically transferred to the ERP system.

Installers still have the option of carrying out feed-in registrations and commissioning completely via the portal. Simply send it online with one click and the application is immediately processed automatically.

Customer Service

The registration of a network connection is now much easier, faster and less complicated for the customer.

  • Obtaining documents is no longer necessary
  • Media breaks are avoided
  • Faster processing of applications
  • Registration completely from home


“Installers particular appreciate the advantages of the portal. We assumed that we would reach about 80% of the installers in the initial phase, but after a short time we had a 100% coverage. I think that speaks for itself.”
Roger Filges, Head of Customer Connection at SWB Netz GmbH

Farewell paper flood

When registering multi-party houses, property developers and installers are often confronted with a real flood of paper. The changeover to the network portal makes processing much more convenient.

This functionality saves precious time and nerves.

The story as a video

The idea gets around

The cooperation between Simplifier AG and the utility network has meanwhile found recognition among other network operators. At the end of 2016, Andreas Barth, Stadtwerke Ulm / Neu-Ulm Netze GmbH, joined the network of utilities. Mathias Scheller, Staedtische Werke Netz + Service GmbH from Kassel, followed at the beginning of 2017.

“We started the project at the end of last year. The other municipal utilities have already performed outstanding preparatory work, from which we in Ulm can only benefit.”
Andreas Barth, Team Leader Grid Connection System Stadtwerke Ulm / Neu-Ulm Netze GmbH
Andreas Barth
Team Leader Grid Connection System
Mathias Scheller
Head of Customer Service


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