The state-owned water utility shortens financial close, boosts customer satisfaction, and lowers total cost of ownership with Oracle Cloud ERP.
Scottish Water is the sole provider of water services to the more than 2.5 million households in Scotland. The company is committed to the well-being of its customers, diversity and inclusion for its employees, and environmental sustainability for the health of the planet.
Scottish Water’s long-term strategic plan, “A Sustainable Future Together,” includes three ambitions covering service excellence, going beyond net-zero emissions and delivering great value and financial sustainability. To support these aims, the company will continue to shrink the size of its digital estate. As such, over the last three years, the water company has gone through a digital transformation, migrating complex and outdated on-premises technology systems to modern cloud solutions. From the beginning, the strategy has been to move to the cloud in order to lower costs, avoid capital-intensive IT investments, and to establish an end-to-end finance and operations platform to enable information to flow unimpeded across all operational entities.
With the legacy systems, finance leadership could tell the time of the month without looking at the calendar, as staff heads were down and struggling to get reporting completed on time. Too much time and money was being spent on manual processes. On the systems side, too many resources were being devoted to maintaining customizations and integrations that had been added over the years. The utility was facing the potential of a series of disruptive and expensive upgrades.
Also, finance teams were limited in their ability to do sophisticated finance and workforce planning, which has become increasingly important in the quest to meet the organization’s strategic objectives.
To address these challenges, Scottish Water launched a “Business 4.0 Digital Transformation” with four primary objectives. First, deliver personalization with better customer segmentation to respond to individual needs. Second, leverage ecosystems of suppliers and customers on a cloud collaboration platform. Third, embrace change and manage risk with culture that embraces agile transformation. And, fourth, create exponential value through faster time to market, improved decision-making, improved asset intelligence, and shorter billing cycles powered by automation.
We were an early adopter of Oracle Cloud ERP and it’s proving to be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. When the pandemic hit, we were immediately able to move to remote working. We haven’t missed a beat; all business processes including system integrations, payroll, and accounts payable have run to schedule and we have achieved all month- and period-end reporting requirements. It would have been a disruptive and costly nightmare with our old systems.
Group Financial Controller, Scottish Water
As the water company’s leaders considered upgrading existing PeopleSoft on-premises financial systems, the first step was to examine Oracle’s cloud strategy. The conclusion was that Oracle was the market leader in terms of product maturity, as well as having the requisite breadth and depth of cloud solutions. This would enable Scottish Water to move incrementally to the cloud while adopting embedded best practices to support process reengineering and performance improvements. With Oracle, these goals could be attained without the need for customizations and radically reducing the need for complex system integrations.
Since adopting Oracle Cloud, Scottish Water has experienced 40% faster book closings and 21% higher customer satisfaction levels. Oracle Cloud ERP has helped the company realize 12% more accurate project tracking and a 22% lower cost of IT ownership.
With Oracle Cloud ERP, the organization has also reduced the size of its digital footprint, supporting the majority of operational requirements with one cloud platform across finance, performance management, and projects. Manual workarounds have largely been eliminated, along with hundreds of customizations and dozens of integrations that were creating bottlenecks and draining resources.
By insisting on zero customization of its Oracle Cloud applications, Scottish Water ensures that regular updates are simple and that its processes are integrated and scalable. As a result, the utility has shortened its order lead times, improved asset intelligence, reduced customer complaints, and boosted overall customer satisfaction levels.
Other benefits include improved security, access controls, greater transparency, better visibility into record changes, as well as simpler and more efficient financial approvals via mobile devices for users.
With Oracle Cloud continuous updates, our mantra has been to ‘adopt and adapt’—adopt the updates and adapt our processes to meet the new challenges. The solution is very strong and we’ve been able to implement best practices to re-engineer our processes across finance, performance management, and projects.
Capital Investment Finance Manager, Scottish Water