SAP Design Thinking Approach Utilized by Netze BW’s NeWa App


German energy company Netze BW leveraged the SAP Design Thinking framework from SAP AppHaus and other intelligent technologies to create an Apple Watch application that improves the safety of its service workers during both routine and particularly challenging tasks.

EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, of which Netze BW GmbH is a subsidiary, provides services in the areas of renewable energy generation, electricity and telecommunications network management, electromobility, and smart, sustainable energy solutions to residential and commercial clients. In particular, more than 2 million consumers are served by Netze BW’s low, medium, and high voltage electrical grids, and over 177,000 solar power stations are connected to these networks.

Netze BW is constantly working to improve grid operation and assess new technologies through the implementation of research projects. Additionally, the company supports the energy transition while making maintenance processes more streamlined and secure thanks to the implementation of innovative digital solutions. The business also recently announced two initiatives to improve power transmission in Germany: a Kusterdingen power grid upgrade and the newest biodiverse summation substation in Hechingen-Weilheim.

As stated by Netze BW’s Product Manager, Claus Jürgen Bader, the wellbeing of the company’s service technicians is their greatest priority. He further emphasized that it is Netze BW’s goal for all employees to return home unharmed after each workday. Therefore, in the second half of 2021, Netze BW turned to SAP about developing a solution to assist its technical team while out in the field, particularly in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

NeWa, short for “Netze Watch,” is an Apple Watch application that was jointly developed by Netze BW and SAP. The service technicians at Netze BW stay up-to-date on their tasks and are able to send information to SAP directly from the app. By using the app’s dead man switch feature, they can cut down on both accidents and response times to accident scenes. In addition, the time slot alarm feature provides them with a more secure environment in which to complete their tasks on-site.

Utilizing the SAP Design Thinking Method by AppHaus

The SAP AppHaus team collaborated closely with Netze BW to undertake on-site research by shadowing service technicians at work, and then to develop and validate initial design wireframes with Netze BW’s service technicians. After a week, the final high-resolution screens were sent over remotely. The SAP Design Thinking methodology used by the AppHaus Network centered on first gaining an understanding of the users’ requirements within their typical workday context, before evaluating potential solutions to meet those requirements.

Netze BW and EnBW’s in-house developers built the NeWa Apple Watch app using SAP and SAP EAM Work Order’s metering workflows for utilities solutions. Apple’s iOS and the Apple Watch are compatible with the NeWa app. Similar to the Netze Mobile Workforce Management or NeMo app, this one is also iPhone-only but allows for data interchange with SAP programs like SAP S/4HANA using SAP Gateway.

Mark Zimmermann, Head of CoE Mobile Solutions at EnBW, said in a statement:

“With the help from Apple and SAP we now improve and, in some cases, save the lives of Netze BW’s service technicians. A big thank you to the design thinking method applied by SAP AppHaus. We had an extraordinary journey and learned a lot.”

Furthermore, Netze BW won the 2022 SAP Innovation Award in the Adoption Superhero category because of how quickly they developed the app. Simon Hartmann, EnBW’s Software Architect for Mobile Development, said the company will use the award as motivation to keep improving processes for the sake of employee and customer safety.

“Our special thanks to not only our internal colleagues, but also to Apple and SAP for the initial trigger and to SAP AppHaus for the support we received in the project itself. It helped us incorporate the UI and UX components together with the service technicians right from the start,” Hartmann remarked.

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