UGI Utilities, Inc. Reduces Customizations and Streamlines Financial Processes Through Enterprise Resource Planning Upgrade
 
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UGI Utilities, Inc. Reduces Customizations and Streamlines Financial Processes Through Enterprise Resource Planning Upgrade

  • Oracle Customer:  UGI Utilities, Inc.
    Location:  Reading, PA, United States
    Industry:  Utilities
    Employees:  1,500
    Annual Revenue:  $1 to $5 Billion

UGI Utilities, Inc., which is wholly owned by the UGI Corporation, distributes natural gas to approximately 575,000 customers and provides electric service to 62,000 customers in eastern, northeastern, and central Pennsylvania. Other subsidiaries in the region include UGI Penn Natural Gas and UGI Central Natural Gas.

The company had used Oracle E-Business Suite as its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system since 2006. When its current iteration was nearing end of life, UGI saw this as an opportunity to ensure maximum support and reduce the number of customizations it had developed over the years for accounting, payroll, and management processes. For example, the company used a third-party vendor to print checks, which cost several thousand dollars each year.

With this in mind, UGI worked with Oracle Partner Wipro to upgrade to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12. With the upgrade, UGI reduced ERP customizations by 22%, such as eliminating an intercompany accounting trigger, complex payroll costing systems, and a third-party invoice approval routing system. In addition, the company consolidated bill payments to vendors from three disbursement accounts into one, which reduces costs. Further, UGI Utilities established an environment that will enable it to overhaul other financial applications in the future—such as its billing system—cost effectively, as new systems can integrate easily with Oracle E-Business Release 12.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from UGI Utilities, Inc.

  • “The extensive new functionality we found in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 has enabled us to significantly reduce customizations and remove the need for third-party vendors, saving us money and easing IT management. With Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12, we are leaner and more efficient.” – Scott Culbertson, Chief Information Officer, UGI Utilities, Inc.

  • Upgrade the ERP environment to minimize maintenance and support costs
  • Reduce customizations, such as intercompany accounting triggers and invoice approval routing, to enable the company to respond more quickly to utility requests from customers and bill customers and vendors accurately
  • Consolidate accounts payable from one company, as opposed to three, to lower costs and enable better financial monitoring
  • Establish a framework that enables UGI to replace legacy applications, such as the customer information and billing systems, which no longer meet evolving needs within the utilities industry

Solutions

  • Reduced ERP customizations by 22% by using native functionality found in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12
  • Consolidated payments to customers and vendors to be generated by a single company, as opposed to three separate subsidiaries, which reduced costs and improved account management
  • Eliminated third-party check printing, which could save more than US$8,000 per year
  • Established a framework to realize future cost savings as the system is easier to maintain and has fewer maintenance costs than the previous iteration
  • Assisted in positioning UGI to replace other business critical and aging mainframe-based applications
  • Computerized work processes, such as dispatching a crew for meter reads, to flow through Oracle E-Business Suite, which helps administrators better track capital improvements, meet customer needs, and generate billing for contractors

Partner

UGI Utilities worked with Oracle Diamond Partner Wipro on the upgrade. Wipro helped with end-to-end project management, along with functional and technical consulting, and it served as the technical architect. The Wipro core team was on site on a near-full-time basis supported by an offshore team. Wipro leveraged its upgrade methodology to create a simple approach for UGI to follow. In addition, Wipro used its Easy-Upgrade solution, a rapid assessment and planning tool, which helps organizations evaluate their current Oracle landscape, plan for the future, and implement upgrades. Wipro estimates Easy-Upgrade can deliver as much as a 40% reduction in assessment costs for organizations looking to embrace Oracle E-Business Release 12 or Oracle Fusion Applications.

Wipro developed more than 500 Oracle User Productivity Kit training scripts to cover all functions associated with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12, helping UGI’s employees take full advantage of the new product and mitigating implementation risk. Ultimately, UGI Utilities began its upgrade in May 2011, and went live in February 2012. With Wipro’s expertise, the final upgrade was completed one week ahead of schedule and 10% under budget.

“Wipro developed a program that provided very specific steps for us to follow, matching our internal processes with Oracle E-Business Suite’s extensive functionality. Wipro was instrumental in ensuring a partnership between our functional, technical, and project management teams, enabling a smooth upgrade. Wipro was very flexible and a great partner for our implementation,” said Scott Culbertson, chief information officer, UGI Utilities, Inc.