Puget Sound Energy (PSE) – an energy company that serves more than 1 million electric customers and almost 800,000 natural-gas customers in Washington State – needed to strengthen its ability to plan and report financial results, drive greater financial transparency, and provide more robust financial data to support business decisions.
The transformation required implementation of a common software platform and a consistent budgeting tool that employees from the back office to those managing maintenance and capital projects in the field could use to plan their budgets and report the results of their projects.
With the installation of updated SAP software, PSE’s budgeting and reporting have improved significantly. Additionally, teams that manage those processes have developed a better understanding about the budgeting and reporting process. And although back-office software and processes are transparent to the millions of people who rely on the company for electric and natural-gas energy, these improvements will help ensure that they continue to receive reliable, cost-effective service.
When Puget Sound Energy decided to transform its finance operations and enhance its budgeting, planning and reporting capabilities with updated software, it engaged our firm to play a major role as a trusted advisor. We helped the company plan the project and manage its first steps. We engaged professionals with experience in finance, accounting, financial management, and business processes, as well as in SAP, which was the software platform selected by the company.
Our role also included organizational change management, training, and building capabilities in the budgeting, planning, and forecasting processes. We conducted workshops, trained and coached users who then could train others, and sent specialists into the field to serve as resources for managers who handled maintenance and other projects.
Executive sponsorship is critical for major change, including the selection and rollout of software that will have an impact on a broad employee base. It’s important to have engaged business leaders who can make decisions and resolve issues. Close collaboration by PSE’s chief information officer and chief financial officer was a key element in the project’s success.
Build and then follow a robust organizational change-management plan. Engage subject-matter experts to form an effective network and provide support after the software is live. Address issues from all angles and create a sustainable change-management model for future projects.
Keep key stakeholders up to date on the project, identify risks, and solve problems quickly. Make sure that the project-management team is focused on the plan, meets regularly and removes roadblocks.