IT is transforming Utility and Petroleum Industry

Date:   Sunday , March 04, 2012

Wise Men, based out of Houston TX, is a leading IT Solutions firm focusing on industry verticals such as Energy & Utility and Oil& Gas sector. An award winning Women and Minority owned business, Wise Men has recognized by Inc 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the US and one of the top 50 locally. Wise Men is owned by Juuhi Ahuja and has two divisions; Wise Men Consultants and Wise Men Solutions. Wise Men Solutions division is headed by Deepak Chandwani who is a 20 year technology industry veteran and focuses as extensive experience in developing IT Solutions verticals. Wise Men helps its customers implement cutting edge technologies such as Smart Grid Initiatives and PIDX eInvoicing, and ERP solutions.

Smart Grid

Utility industry is seeing a transformation like no other. Over the last 100 years very little has changed in the way power is distributed and consumed. The Power distribution grid is in desperate need of upgrades to meet the current demands and maintain its reliability. Since grid infrastructure is difficult to change, complex to maintain and upgrades takes a very long time, significant investments need to be made to make the grid scalable for next 100 years. With the advent of consumer driven generation, these devices need to be plugged into the grid and consumers can play the role of generators. Power generated needs to be measured for billing and settlement purposes, a significant change compared to current processes.

Utility industry, often compared to telecom industry has not evolved and does not leverage the technology to improve the service and lower its costs to operate. The difference is in the rate of transformation led by adoption of the technologies. Telecom industry deregulated long time ago and the competition in the market led to faster adoption of the newer technologies. The Utility industry on the other hand operated as regional monopoly, utility companies were paid a fixed percentage of the cost as margin and as such didnít have any incentive in adopting new technologies in order to reduce cost and improve customer satisfaction.

Whatís next?

Newer technologies will be adopted and the pace of change will be unprecedented. Some of the major reasons for this rate are the aging grid infrastructure and major power outages resulting in billions in losses and interrupting the economy. This change impacts more than just utility company, it will impact generation, wholesale and trading, retail and most of all the consumers. Similar to the wireless industry transformation with the advent of iPhone and other smart devices, Smart grid initiatives will change the Utility industry and power consumption. Consumers want to measure and monitor what they purchase. They want choices and mobility and save money at the same time.

Current processes for utility company and systems will be completely outdated. Existing business processes and systems will present massive inertia impacting their ability to change in a timely fashion. Major investments need to be made to upgrade the entire grid if consumers need uninterrupted power supply. These initiatives are termed has Smart Grid Initiatives. A typical SmartGrid deployment usually incorporates multiple functionalities ranging from network management, outage management, SCADA operations and a host of other functionalities. Another core component in SmartGrid deployments is AMI/Smart Meters.

These meters are usually installed at the customer premise (both industrial and commercial) and participate in a 2-way communication with the utility company. These smart meters emit huge amounts of critical information on a very frequent basis that can be used in creating trouble orders at much faster rate compared to traditional manual entry/IVR.

A leading electric utility distribution company, planning to replace existing legacy applications to support the Smart Grid initiative and is working with Wise Men Solutions. The project termed as Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) encompasses a wide-range of applications that need to exchange information in an effective manner. This system is at the heart of Smart grid technology and has bi-directional information exchange dependency. The goal of the project is to devise an integration architecture that is standards-based, scalable, and agile in adapting to future changes. This approach delivers immediate business benefits.
Markets for Utility Smart grid SOA and software integration infrastructure which were at $169 million in 2008 are anticipated to reach $1.7 billion by 2015 (Winter Green Research). Utility Enterprise IT Spending for Smart Grid is forecasted to reach $8.2 Billion by 2015, according to New GTM Research Report. Wise Men believes there is a significant talent shortage in this arena and is gearing up for ground up growth.

Petroleum Industry Data Exchange (PIDX)

American Petroleum Instituteís committee on global electronic business standards in the oil and gas industry recommends the PIDX format for facilitation of electronic commerce. PIDXís vision is to achieve petroleum industry and enterprise-wide integration of business processes through seamless electronic business communication. PIDXís mission is to influence the architecture and facilitate implementation of effective standards and processes for electronic business communications within the petroleum industry community. PIDX leverages the inherent value in existing EDI standards as well as actively pursue the benefits of emerging e-Business technologies. A leading oil field servicing company has engaged Wise Men Solutions to implement PIDXís vision of achieving petroleum industry and enterprise-wide integration of business processes through seamless electronic business communication. The PIDX project was to implement electronic invoicing out of the client billing system such as an ERP system in a manner, which can readily support all segments, customers, and GeoMarkets for organizationís global operations. PIDX form the foundation for B2B collaboration and meeting point for the different parties in the field, such as e-Invoice operators, IT developers, experts and users of electronic invoicing. Leveraging these solutions companies are able to reduce their days sales outstanding (DSO) and generate more value for their business with the faster cash receivables. An added advantage is automating leads to labor reduction.

>b>Whatís next?

PIDX technologies will not only be adopted at ERP level but also at Mobile devise level and the pace of change will be unprecedented. Some of the major reasons for this is the rapid integration of devices at user level and increasing focus on UI. This change impacts more than just Oil Company, it will impact Wholesale, Trading and Retail.

Markets for PIDX software integration infrastructure has a potential of a $100+ billion annual energy procurement marketplace. PIDX projects have reengineered entire business processes and operations for greater efficiency and profitability (PIDX API e-business committee). Wise Men believes there is a significant talent shortage in this arena and is gearing up for ground up growth.

A majority of the Wise Men clientele in Oil & Gas, Energy & Utility industries have SAP, Oracle as their core IT Systems, Wise Men helps the integration of above cutting edge technologies with the core IT systems in areas of high performance computing, Business analytics and Mobility. Lastly Wise Men has also been actively involved in community work in Houston Area and has been recognized by BP as the leading vendor who helped in the cleanup efforts of gulf coast oil spill.