Simultaneous go-live of 4 clients

Published on Friday, 23 August 2013

Upstream! How Itineris realized a simultaneous go-live of 4 UMAX clients in the Netherlands


On August 1, at midnight, the Netherlands officially switched to the new Dutch market model (also known as Upstream!) changing the dynamics of the utility space completely and preparing the Netherlands for the future. At the same time, Itineris succeeded in the simultaneous go-live of 4 Dutch UMAX™ clients; all of them compliant with this new market model. This marked a major milestone and unique achievement for Itineris, the company behind the UMAX™ business solution for utilities.

The new Dutch market model: Upstream!A couple of years ago, the Dutch energy sector had started a comprehensive program called ‘Upstream!’ (‘Stroomopwaarts’) to achieve a more sustainable and future-proof market model, primarily focusing on the liberalized retail segment. This new market model consists of several components of which some have already become effective, such as the capacity tariff and the introduction of smart meters.

Yet it was not until the 1st of August 2013 that the new Dutch market model came into actual force. As of that day, a major consequence was also visible for the customer: the distribution company model, in which the network costs (i.e. costs relating to the exploitation of the natural gas and electricity grid) were charged by the local distribution company to the end customer, no longer exists. Whereas numerous residential customers and SMBs used to receive a bill from their supplier as well as from their local distribution company, they now receive one combined energy bill from their supplier, which also comprises the network costs. The latter now acts as a single point of contact for all customer requests regarding the meter index, billing, contract extensions, switches, moves….

A fundamental instrument of this mandatory supplier model is the Central Connection Register (C-AR), which holds the correct data of all electricity and natural gas connections in the Netherlands. The centralization of data and the switch to new standard for messaging based on the XML-format simplifies and improves the process of exchanging data between utility players.

For the full impact of the Upstream! program and detailed information on the exact changes, we kindly invite you to check:

Upstream! impacting business systems at utilities….These improvements and changes in the market linked to the Upstream! program also had an extensive impact on many other players and areas linked to the utility industry, such as the providers of ERP/CIS solutions and the IT consultancy companies supporting utilities in the management of back-office processes.

Itineris, who supports major utility players active in the Dutch market such as E.ON, Eneco, GDF SUEZ (in implementation, go-live Q4 2013) Delta, DNWB,… through its UMAX™ customer information system for utilities built on and certified for Microsoft Dynamics AX, was one of those IT/CIS providers impacted by the new market model. As a consequence, Itineris needed to adapt its standardized UMAX™ solution for suppliers and grid operators and have them comply with the new Dutch market requirements, as well as adjust its localization pack for this particular market (as e.g. the messaging standard was changed).

Roger Van Beeck – UMAX™ Product Delivery Director at Itineris – explains: “The Upstream! program and the sharp deadline of August 1 2013 represented a vast challenge for our company, project & product teams. Let’s say the actual go-live was the culmination of a long-term commitment involving many preparatory activities such as customer groups, several workshops with the different clients, roadshows, a thorough assessment of the functional and technical impact, the detailed mapping of business processes, creation of Functional Designs, development work etc. Although this was an adventure never seen before at Itineris, we managed and simultaneously went live with 4 UMAX clients on the first of August. These utility companies are now running on the same integrated UMAX solution with each customer having its own configuration and parameterization. No critical issues were logged in the first 25 days after go-live at the 4 customer sites. I’m extremely proud with this unique performance of the teams.”

Yvan Goossens – Project Manager at Eneco B.V. – explains for his client Eneco: “The weeks prior to the go-live of Upstream! at Eneco were exciting for all involved. Not only did Eneco have to comply with the new market model, this utility company was also upgrading to the latest version of the UMAX™ version - as the new market model entailed substantial modification to Eneco’s current CIS - and all eyes were (of course) on the migration track. Tension was immediately relieved when it turned out that on August 1, various processes were running at full steam: successful loading of contracts, sending out the first quotations & invoices and eventually the first real billing runs.”

In the case of Delta, another Dutch utility player supported by the UMAX™ solution for suppliers, the Upstream! program also comprised some major consequences such as the adoption of some new business processes, new features…. The company decided to upgrade from UMAX™ on Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 to the newest version of the UMAX™ CIS on AX 2012. Delta now benefits from important accomplishments such as the transformation of Customer Self Service , the implementation of a new appealing BI solution, better analytical capabilities, an increased performance as well as full compliancy with the new Dutch market requirements.

Josine den Rooijen – Program Manager SOW2, Test Manager & PM at DNWB - explains the situation for her client: “DNWB is a grid operator supported by the UMAX™ solution and had already implemented several major changes related to the grid in 2011 & 2012. For DNWB it all came down to adopting the latest & newest requirements and becoming one hundred percent ‘Upstream proof’. The mandatory supplier model changeover and subsequent conversion progressed uncomplicatedly. After go-live, all processes were immediately back in full swing."
For E.ON, yet another client supported by the UMAX™ solution for the management of its B2B customer portfolio, the run-up to the go-live of the new Dutch market model was somewhat different from the other UMAX™ operated utilities mentioned above. E.ON was already running on the latest version of UMAX™ for suppliers and had therefore implemented most of the required regulatory changes.  Nonetheless, the company was still required to adopt a new messaging standard (XML), to accustom the related business processes to the mandatory supplier model and adopt some new processes. The last crucial steps such as the processing of the C-AR extract were taken and went off without a hitch while emerging issues were quickly fixed.

A huge thank you to all parties involved!This remarkable achievement is to the credit of a significant amount of people on customer’s, Itineris’ and EDSN side. We therefore would like to take the opportunity to thank all involved for the relentless effort, determination, resilience and excellent cooperation!

Below we share some quotes, from customers, market parties and Itineris’ employees, proving the tremendous effort & commitment of the last few months & weeks as well as the excitement related to the making the deadline, the actual go-live and the proudness on the achievement.

“I would like to thank you for the superb work of the past few day of which I’m satisfied, happy and proud. I look forward to future projects with Itineris.”
David Vlot,
Program Manager B2B efficiency E.ON Benelux B.V.

“There has been much speculation about when SOW2 would go live: 2008, 2012, October 2012, April 2013. Yesterday 31/07 I was wondering, would it be true, and it very much is: we are going live with Upstream! on Thursday August 1. Migration turned out well and how! I would like to thank Itineris on behalf of Eneco Business for their hard work. We are live without too many troubles, also thanks to the suppliers.”
Barth De Klerk,
Managing Director of Eneco Business

“The go-live and the implementation of the new system went smoothly.”
Ton Hartman,
Project Leader Eneco Business

“Delta B2B - we are live!! With appropriate pride and also some relief we can announce that EDSN went live on 01/08 and so did we! All systems work; yet there is still much to do, to resolve, to polish and to learn as we are running on a whole new system, but the challenges are calculable, were even foreseen or can be resolved quickly. A sincere compliment to all who have directly (or indirectly) contributed! Thanks for many hours of effort and long shifts even during the holiday period. A big sacrifice, but it certainly pays off now!” 
Jaap Rieter & Vincent Meerman,
Delta the multi-utility company on the go-live of SOW2

“This once again shows that UMAX™ is an agile, future-proof and flexible business solution for utilities and this achievement also proofs the professionalism, commitment to excel and drive for success of the Itineris consultants. I particularly want to thank everyone who has helped to achieve this success. This achievement marked another major milestone in the development of our company.” Edgard Vermeersch,
CEO & founder of Itineris - on the news of the successful go-lives






Discover UMAX during the European Utility Week 2013
from 15 to 17 October in Amsterdam.
For your free exhibition pass or for more information, click here.




More news
Dakota Electric chooses UMAX ATLANTA, April 27, 2015 – Dakota Electric Association, the second-largest electric cooperative in Minnesota, has ... Read more
City of Baltimore selects Itineris’ UMAX CIS solution for water billing and customer care ATLANTA, Oct. 31, 2014 – The City of Baltimore Department of Public Works has signed an $8.4 million (USD) contract ... Read more
Aim high. Aim Itineris. A growing company looking for talent After welcoming GIMV as a new shareholder in November 2013, Itineris is now looking to welcome 45 additional talented ... Read more
Gimv leads capital round to fuel further international expansion of UMAX Gimv and the Gimv managed Gimv Arkiv Tech Fund II together invest EUR 6.5 million in the Belgian software solution ... Read more
De Watergroep extends UMAX De Watergroep firmly commits to the Microsoft Dynamics AX technology and UMAX 29/08/2013 – Deurle (Ghent), Belgium. ... Read more