26122 Oldenburg, Germany
"In a project of this size, which is funded with taxpayers' money, the transparency and validity over the course of the project are enormous benefits. Only because we always reflect the current project status and act uniformly across companies can we communicate properly and build trust with the outside world."
Project manager, EWE AG - enera-Projekt
Now that politicians have set the course for an energy turnaround in Germany, it is up to the major utility providers to put this goal into practice. EWE AG, an energy supply company active in the Ems-Weser-Elbe region, Bremen, Brandenburg, on the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea and beyond, has taken a leading role in this process. With the "enera" project, EWE AG is taking the next major step towards energy system transformation in a diverse partner network. enera aims to create a stable and economically optimized energy system through technological development, networking on the basis of new market mechanisms and complete digitalization. This project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) as one of five demonstration projects in Germany as part of the "Schaufenster intelligente Energie" (intelligent energy showcase) programme (SINTEG for short) and is therefore subject to special requirements.
A lighthouse project of Lower Saxony
A particular feature of the enera model region, encompassing the districts of Friesland, Wittmund and Aurich as well as the city of Emden, is that with a renewable electricity share of around 235 percent on the balance sheet, the region already generates considerably more renewable energy today than can be consumed.
The Senior Project Leader remembers: "In order to be able to start the enera project at all, we had to find a project management solution that allowed us and our external employees and partners alike to work together via a central platform. We wanted a software that was easy to use, because we knew that connecting 33 companies and coordinating work packages and responsibilities was extremely complex." 14 different work packages and around 1,200 individual work steps had to be planned, controlled, implemented and monitored. It quickly became clear that only an automated cloud solution could give them an overview and decentralize responsibility.
Prerequisite: Maximum data security
The energy turnaround project brought with it a further hurdle: Since utility companies, as operators of critical infrastructures, must meet particularly strict security requirements, the bar was set high: there are special requirements for utility companies and network operators resulting from the law on increasing the security of information technology systems (IT Security Act). In addition, the IT department had to meet special requirements for the integration of new software. "The internal requirements assessment and the general conditions were clearly defined, and we were able to look for possible solutions," says the Senior Project Leader, who became aware of the InLoox project management software on the internet.
The cloud-based solution InLoox now! offers the advantage that project employees from different companies can be easily and efficiently integrated within their own internal requirements.
Squaring the circle
As more than one hundred project employees usually complete their enera tasks in addition to their line activities, the project management was looking for a solution that fulfilled the following conditions: On the one hand, it had to integrate smoothly into the daily work routine, on the other hand it had to map the basic functions of a project management software and of course meet the high safety standards of all partner companies. With several hundred project employees from 33 companies, it was no easy task to find the right tool. The project manager knows: "When we got to know InLoox and were able to determine for ourselves in initial tests how easy it was to integrate, operate and use the solution, we were quickly convinced." Since this platform also withstands all safety requirements and tests, InLoox is now being used for the enera project. "Although we are not exploiting the full potential of all InLoox features in the project, we are using what is important to us here. We can handle our work packages flexibly and, above all, easily integrate external users and assign work packages and tasks to them."
In spring 2017, InLoox was introduced as the project management and collaboration tool. At the beginning, there were various training courses to optimally integrate all participating companies and project participants. Since then, InLoox has been used intensively. The fact that InLoox can be adapted so flexibly and is at the same time deeply anchored in Outlook is well received by both the project managers and the project members.
Measurable added value
So far, concrete benefits can already be named that result directly from the teamwork with InLoox: easy communication, more transparency about objectives, milestones and agile reporting. "In a project of this size, which is funded with taxpayers' money, the transparency and validity over the course of the project are enormous benefits. Only because we always reflect the current project status and act uniformly across companies can we communicate properly and build trust with the outside world," says the project manager with a smile. Thanks to InLoox, the project team can fall back on real-time reporting, see the dependencies of individual work packages and always maintain an overview despite an enormously complex structure.
About EWE AG & the enera project
EWE AG is an energy, IT and telecommunications company with around 9,000 employees. It has 100 branches in Lower Saxony, Brandenburg on the island of Rügen, Poland and Turkey, and in 2017 had a turnover of approx. 8 billion euros. www.ewe.com
In the enera project, EWE AG leads a consortium of 33 companies and is responsible for the planning, implementation and success of this pilot project of energy system transformation. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) as part of the "Schaufenster intelligente Energie" (SINTEG) programme www.energie-vernetzen.de
The aim is to implement enera - the cross-company pilot project for energy system transformation in Germany. Involved are 33 consortium partners and at times several hundred people. One particular requirement is the above-average level of data security.
The cloud-based project management solution InLoox now!, integrated into Microsoft Outlook, serves as a central platform for planning, implementing, controlling and documenting 14 work packages with over 1,200 individual steps from 33 different companies.
The project leadership always has an overview of the progress of the project milestones, can rely on valid information about effort, resources and responsibilities, can draw up real-time reports and document the progress of the project.