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The provider of Belgium's national electricity grid explains the benefits of outsourcing its  SAP infrastructure to oXya.

Interview with Mr. Joris Cupers, SAP Coordinator at Elia.

Can you give a brief description of Elia?

Elia provides Belgium’s national high-voltage transmission system, operating at between 30 kV and 380 kV over 8,000 km of lines and underground cables throughout Belgium. We play a crucial role in the community by transmitting electricity from generators to distribution systems, which in turn deliver it to the consumer. Elia plays an essential part in the national economy, supplying power directly to all the major companies that are connected to the grid.

Elia is not just Belgium’s transmission system operator – it is also a key player at the European level. Boasting a pivotal location, Elia is a key player in the energy market and the interconnected electricity system throughout the continent. Our company has set up multiple initiatives promoting the development of an efficient, transparent and fair electricity market for the benefit of consumers across Europe. 

Elia employs more than 1,200 professionals in Belgium who are not only committed to dealing with future challenges but who also handle the day-to-day operation of a system considered to be one of the most reliable of the European continent.

Can you describe your current SAP landscape?

Elia is using SAP ECC for core processes like Finance, Controlling, Purchasing, Plant maintenance and Project Systems for infrastructure projects. For reporting, we use SAP Business Warehouse with SAP Business Objects UI.

Elia is also using Supplier Relationship Management, SAP Portal and Identity Management.
Integration with non-SAP systems is implemented using SAP PI.

Why did you emark on this SAP project?

The energy sector is in the middle of a transformational change. Emerging technologies and new societal expectations promise not only to reshape how we generate energy but also the way we use it. Delivering the grid of the future requires significant levels of investment and the need to manage these new investments is in turn changing the nature of our IT systems.

How did you come to choose oXya as an outsourcing partner?

A European tender was started in 2006, and oXya was selected as our outsourcing partner.

Were there any other partners for the project?

oXya works with two Elia departments:  Asset & Corporate Applications & Projects (ACAP) and IT Infrastructure & Operational Services (IOS). Functional issues and decisions are dealt with by ACAP. IT infrastructure, hardware, OS and database technology are provided by the IOS department.

How did the migration between from your previous provider work out?

There was a smooth transition from the previous provider to oXya.

What particular challenges did oXya have to face during the project?

Elia demands particularly stringent SLAs for performance and system availability.

What benefits do you think you achieved from this project?

We benefit from that fact that, being focused on SAP BC services and having a large base of customers, oXya has established robust best practices and great monitoring tools. With their proactive approach, they identify and solve most issues before they have any impact on the business.

Are you planning any other projects?

SAP remains a very important tool at Elia and new projects are constantly being driven by new or changed business requirements. On the technical side, new operating systems, new database versions, and a new generation of end user devices are also pushing the SAP landscape forward. We believe that the best is yet to come!

How would you sum up your experience on this project?

oXya is a well organized service provider. They do not just get the job done within the agreed SLA’s but they are also very proactive, thinking ahead and collaborating with their customer in a very convivial partnership model.

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