When 174 Power Global was looking to rapidly establish an affiliate clean energy retail arm, 174 Power Global Retail, the company embarked on an ambitiously fast implementation of SAP Business One to get the new entity up and running swiftly.
Rapid implementation within 18 project days
Accurate financial reporting and cost tracking
Integration of billing, CRM and customer enrollment
To rapidly spin up a new energy retail affiliate – 174 Power Global Retail – and enable tight financial management to inform strategic decision-making.
Headquartered in Irvine, CA, 174 Power Global is the US-based solar project development company arm of the Hanwha Group, a South Korean Fortune Global 500 firm which manufactures and markets photovoltaic solutions across the value chain, from cell production to crystalline solar modules to turnkey solar power stations. With a focus on making solar energy competitive for a cleaner and more sustainable future, the affiliate benefits from all the resources, expertise, and experience of the Hanwha Group.
Following its soft launch in 2018, 174 Power Global Retail’s mission is to provide affordable, clean energy to its residential customers and make a beneficial environmental and social impact in the process.
As Max Chen, Staff Accountant at 174 Power Global & Hanwha Q Cells USA explains, “we were spinning up a brand new affiliate and needed a separate operating environment. Since we were already using SAP Business One, we were very familiar with the ERP solution’s abilities to streamline processes and support decision-making with real-time information. While the business model for the new entity differed somewhat in terms of revenue and cost recording, SAP Business One is flexible and adaptable, and we saw no reason to complicate our software landscape with another solution. The only difference was that we opted for the latest version of SAP Business One, which offered some enhanced functionality, and we chose Sapphire’s cloud hosting for the affiliate business rather than an on-premise deployment, for ease and speed.”
With a tight delivery schedule in early 2019, and just 18 project days budgeted for the implementation itself, the team entered into an intensive discovery period to establish the requirements of the new business. “Sapphire’s solution architect has worked with us for pretty much our entire history, so he visited our Houston office to join us for all-day meetings to discuss the business plan, operating model and system requirements. He advised how between Sapphire and SAP Business One, we could achieve our objectives, which proved to be very valuable insight,” recalls Max.
Although 174 Power Global Retail was a brand new company, they didn’t have to start with a blank sheet of paper, which considerably accelerated the implementation. “We had a master template in our current environment which, subject to a few minor adaptations, could be imported into the new environment. We really appreciated the efforts of the Sapphire team in preparing all the necessary documentation, and providing the implementation, data migration, and testing within such an ambitious timescale,” says Max.
“To meet the information needs of the energy retail model, we needed robust financial tracking and reporting for strategic decision-making. SAP Business One is the glue that holds everything together: we have a variety of different systems for customer enrollment, billing and CRM, so once these are populated, the data gets imported into SAP Business One, which acts as our master repository. We have three users in the Finance team who deliver dashboards and reporting to management on request, and plan to add more licenses in the near future.”
With the hard launch of 174 Power Global Retail set for mid-2019, Max predicts further exploration and exploitation of SAP Business One’s vast capabilities over the coming year. “When setting up a new entity and operating model, requirements aren’t always clear-cut. So moving forward, we will need to develop new processes and approval procedures for the affiliate business. As we scale up, we’re anticipating pretty heavy traffic going through the system due to the sheer number of customers we expect to onboard. Certain processes from our old environment won’t translate directly to the energy retail model, so watch this space in terms of evolutions, enhancements and add-ons,” he adds.
174 Power Global & Hanwha Q Cells USA’s long-standing relationship with Sapphire was instrumental to the success of the 174 Power Global Retail implementation, which was completed in under a month. “I’ve been working with Sapphire for about two to three years now, and have had the pleasure of meeting their senior management, and have always found the whole team very responsive. Our account manager and project manager are highly dedicated – no matter how small a project may be, it always feels like they’re giving us 100 percent – and their solution architect’s input helped bring focus to defining the journey as well as the system requirements. The support team is equally on-the-ball – our tickets are resolved very promptly, with none lasting more than a few days. It’s a wonderful relationship,” concludes Max.
One of our team will be in touch shortly.