Successful use of the X4 Suite low-code platform in the utility industry

Thüga Energienetze GmbH (THEN), a wholly owned subsidiary of Thüga AG, is automating its business processes, such as the control of inspection and installation orders for network connections, with the X4 Suite digitization platform from SoftProject GmbH. From now on, the entire process for maintenance orders, repair or installation work will be fully automated and free of media breaks: From the recording of factual data by the service technician on site, for example, performance and size data or the manufacturer’s number of gas pressure regulating or metering devices, to the transfer of data to the geographic information system (GIS) of THEN.

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“A large number of the factual data of the more than 4,000 orders that our clerks previously wrote manually into our GIS databases are now processed fully automatically. This saves us over 60 days a year,” says Christian Goerke, project manager at THEN. In addition, the quality of the factual data – including its consistency, plausibility, integrity and lack of redundancy – has increased considerably thanks to the automated completeness and validation checks of the information in the orders. “The complete and valid data records make it much easier and faster to search for orders in our databases, for example by filtering them according to specific criteria. They also ensure easy tracking and archiving of orders,” says Goerke.

The SoftProject solution guarantees transparency and control at all times

Adapters ensure the smooth flow of data between the systems involved in the process and networked via the X4 Suite digitization platform. These include SAP as the source of necessary order information for commissioning and checking network connections, the cloud solution Movilizer, which allows service technicians to record factual data on a mobile basis using a tablet, and the GIS / GEONIS and document management system EASY at various THEN locations. At the end of the process run, an automated feedback of the checked and complete orders is sent to the responsible clerk. “The latter can already view and track the status of the orders at any time during the individual process steps. This provides transparency and a helpful overall view,” says Dieter Göbelbecker, IT project manager at SoftProject.

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THEN appreciates SoftProject as a strong digitization expert

In the Digital@EVU barometer determined by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) in cooperation with the management consultancy Kearney and the IMP³rove Academy, which shows the degree of digitization of energy suppliers, THEN took second place out of 90 participating companies and is thus one of the top digitizers in a national and international comparison. The analysis covered the respective maturity levels in the use of big data analytics, in process digitization in general, as well as collaboration with partners and the anchoring of IT and data protection. Topics such as smart city, artificial intelligence and smart metering were also taken into account. “We are constantly working on new digitization strategies, are involved in digital initiatives and offer managed IT services and systems to municipalities, businesses and private customers, such as graphical information and document management systems,” Goerke said. “The successful automated order control project, which saves 75 percent of our manual data entry efforts, distinguishes SoftProject as a strong partner for further digitization projects.”

Automated processes accelerate workflows and collaboration

In the project currently being implemented, THEN’s X4 Suite enables data exchange across network boundaries: Iterative checks are performed to determine if all documents for an order are available in WebMaxx, which is used to control service providers. If new ones have been added, they are loaded from the EASY document management system and added to WebMaxx. As a result, users in WebMaxx always have access to all the documents they need. Another project facilitates and accelerates the filing processes: the X4 Suite digitization platform provides an interface to automatically file scanned documents in THEN’s network. The documents are then further processed and read in by X4 Suite. One example is invoices, which can now be stored fully automatically and processed immediately.

THEN and SoftProject GmbH are already working on a follow-up project in the area of energy portal. Using the X4 Suite, THEN would like to provide its customers with extensive services via this portal (e.g., concession contracts and transit information).

About Thüga Energienetze GmbH

With a distribution network over 5,500 km long, THEN reliably ensures that more than 120 communities in Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria can be supplied with natural gas and electricity. Over 200 experienced employees take care of the care, maintenance and expansion of the networks. THEN’s goal is to provide its partners, the cities and municipalities, with efficient energy networks as a basis for implementing the energy transition. THEN is part of the largest network of municipal energy supply companies in Germany. Together with 450 cities, municipalities and around 100 municipal companies in the energy and water sector, Thüga Aktiengesellschaft forms Germany’s largest network of energy supply companies.

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