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Accenture helped Comgás use service-oriented architecture (SOA) with business process management methodology to develop a streamlined, Web-based customer relationship management (CRM) capability to enable penetration of the residential market.
Comgás (Companhia de Gás de São Paulo) is the largest natural gas distributor in Brazil and is controlled by BG Group and Royal Dutch Shell, which are among the world’s largest energy companies. The natural gas firm provides companies and industries with both uncompressed and compressed natural gas, and the company’s network of more than 5,000 kilometers (approximately 3,100 miles) of pipelines reaches more than 680,000 consumers in 177 municipalities in the State of São Paulo. Learn more about Service-oriented Architecture Services.
BG Group's sale of Comgas to Cosan was completed in November 2012.
Having achieved a solid presence in the industrial natural gas market, Comgás executives set out to expand the company’s residential customer base to boost growth potential and profits, and to improve service performance through business process redesign. One reason executives targeted the residential marketplace was to act on the company’s first-mover advantage, scheduled to expire in 2011.
Comgás needed to sell natural gas to residential customers through the retail channel with a fresh go-to-market strategy that embraced a solid CRM structure. With continual customization over seven years, the company’s existing legacy CRM system contained a number of process bottlenecks. Comgás needed to implement a faster overarching business process by abstracting embedded sub-processes of the legacy system.
The company was motivated to implement an SOA because of the potential benefits, such as expanded IT capacity, lower total cost of ownership, improved business processes, reduced operating costs, better time-to-market, improved collaboration and better business results through composite solutions in the area of CRM.
At first, Accenture teamed with Comgás to build a strategic SOA road map that addressed its business goals. Accenture also advised the company to speed business process implementation with a robust business process management (BPM) methodology and a business activity monitoring (BAM) application. With BPM, business and IT teams within Comgás could plan and organize the company’s business processes with ease, and reduce the gap between its business requirements and the technology capabilities for delivering measurable results.
After successfully defining the strategy and planning of its SOA implementation, Comgas asked Accenture to create an automated business process to register new residential retail contracts leveraging the same BPM methodologies and BAM applications. The automated business process would help customer representatives at Comgás open and manage service orders efficiently when customers reported natural gas delivery problems in their homes or businesses.
As part of its technical strategy, Comgás decided to use Oracle BPM as a key tool. It decoupled the existing technical architecture and then built reusable business services as much as possible. These new CRM-related applications would be able to leverage components of the SAP CRM solution earlier developed by Accenture for Comgás. Using composite applications that contain reusable business components and Web services would reduce time-to-market of potential new business functions beyond those targeted in the engagement.
Comgás has accelerated its ability to win residential customers and derive revenue from this area of the market.
From business and technical standpoints, SOA provided both the underlying architecture of the SAP CRM system and the corporate architecture strategy that delivered highly customized and flexible custom solutions that can be easily upgraded. Now, third-party resellers of Comgás services can deliver physical contracts and upload contract data into the company’s CRM system 11 minutes faster—a lead-time reduction of 85 percent. The high-quality implementation minimized Comgás’ application maintenance costs and made it possible to provide business-process metrics to business managers, so they can identify process bottlenecks.
Today, Comgás is quickly able to measure lead times between process steps, resolve identified bottlenecks and access metrics related to process effectiveness using BAM dashboards. In addition, Comgas has the ability to quickly audit the overall execution of business processes, implement business-process changes in the areas of sales negotiation and enter contract details for new customers. Furthermore, the engagement created the company’s first modular and reusable services related to getting client data, retrieving address data and creating contracts. Comgás’ newfound abilities are likely to reduce new implementation costs via reuse in future SOA initiatives, such as product/service bundling and productivity-enhancing mobile phone-based features that likewise contribute to high performance.
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