IoT and Behavioral Billing to Optimize Use of Energy

With energy producers, distributers and consumers focused on optimizing the use of energy whether it be electric, oil or gas, technology can make a difference through the use of behavioral billing. Behavioral billing uses methods of billing that can alter the behavior of end consumers to optimize their use of energy to reduce their cost. When you throw into the mix the use of Internet of Things (IoT), real time behavioral monitoring plays a role in optimizing energy usage.

The benefits of behavioral billing utilizing IoT technology are highlighted in the following hypothetical use case. Several energy producing companies have a coalition that provides electric power distribution to a wide area of a state that includes cities of significant size as well as rural population. The power generation comes from several sources that are best optimized by having a steady consumption of electricity. The coalition utilizes smart meters that allows real time access to energy consumption and is set up with a robust billing system to monitor electrical usage on a near real time basis. Several cities in the service area have negotiated consolidated rates for the residences and businesses within their city. They use the same intelligent utility billing system as the power coalition such that it is an integrated billing system. In addition to electrical power, these cities consolidate the gas, water and waste treatment usage into one bill for their constituents where the constituent can elect to have a flat rate monthly payment that is trued up and reset each year for estimated usage. These cities also have a progressive energy conservation program where the use of Internet of Things is prevalent to make the communities be smart cities. Not only are smart sensors being used to detect power usage, but they also have smart Internet controlled system allowing the systems to be turned on and off through the Internet. High power usage industrial complexes have implemented such controls. As part of the power optimization program, the power coalition can turn non-critical system on and off during peak usage times to best balance and maintain energy production optimizing their power production resources. The cost savings for the optimization of energy production is passed on to the end users through the use of real time intelligent billing provided by the technology. Those consumers that participate in the energy optimization program gain the benefits of the cost savings. Continue reading…

Sofbang recognized by CIO Review as one of the 20 Most Promising Campus Technology Providers of 2014

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Selected by a panel of experts and members of CIO Review’s editorial board to recognize and promote technology entrepreneurship in education, Sofbang has been named one of the 20 Most Promising Campus Technology Providers. Featured in the Campus Technology Special Edition of CIO Review, Sofbang was recognized for its innovative solutions addressing the need of a platform that facilitates a seamless digital exchange of information across different departments and users.

The education industry is rapidly making technological advancements transforming the way students, faculty and administration interact, increasing the need for the conventional systems to integrate with a unified digital solution. As an Oracle Platinum Partner, Sofbang provides digital, mobile and cloud-based solutions tailored to meet the growing needs within the education industry. Sofbang’s understands the everyday challenges of various lines of businesses having to exchange information and streamline processes within the education domain. Sofbang’s Designed for Change methodology breaks down large complex ERPs and Student Information Systems (SIS) into a simplified integrated user experience that adjust and grow as the needs grow.

With 15 years of experience in Oracle Fusion Middleware, Mobile and Cloud implementations, Sofbang has been enriching the standards of the education system, becoming the preferred partner of choice for providing a unified digital experience for the education industry. Building its solutions around a unified digital experience, providing secure portals, integrated mobility and on-premise with cloud integration solutions, enables staff, users, partners and suppliers to stay connected throughout an organization’s network.

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Customer Spotlight: Walsh Construction ERP Modernization and Optimization

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Walsh Construction Company is a Chicago-based general contracting, construction management, and design-build firm. Walsh is recognized as the largest construction firm in Chicago according to Crain’s Chicago Business. Sofbang helped Walsh with an entire ERP modernization and optimization initiative, lowering operational costs and enhancing productivity.

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My Favorite PeopleSoft Flavor: Vanilla

This post provides an overview of how Oracle BPM can be used with PeopleSoft to gain more out of your ERP. It also covers how to go about separating the process and personalization/customization layers from your ERP, to encourage leveraging more vanilla, out-of-the-box ERP functionality, rather than an over customized, costly to maintain version. Oracle BPM takes out the process inefficiencies associated with your ERP. It provides you with a range of different governance and workflow capabilities, which allows you to efficiently operate in your ERP with robust drill down features. This enables your process users and key stakeholders to uncover operational gaps that may be hindering your business from attaining efficiency gains or untapped revenue channels.

Accelerated Oracle Fusion Middleware Reference Architecture

Sofbang’s Accelerated Oracle Fusion Middleware Reference Architecture for PeopleSoft optimization

Integration Recommendations

Time after time, we have seen various lines of businesses come up with ad-hoc requirements needing to hook or connect other systems with PeopleSoft to push and/or pull information between those other systems. To accomplish this, there are some options available within PeopleSoft which allow you to make the successful connections to these external systems and make publications. Using the Integration Broker within PeopleTools, PeopleSoft Applications can integrate with other PeopleSoft modules or with other third-party applications using messages or web services. However, typical integrations built between PeopleSoft pillars are point-to-point, meaning that they are tailored to meet the needs of the two applications rather than a general interface or common integration layer available for many. Businesses today are required to adapt quickly to their customers’ challenges and are looking to IT for a differentiator. PeopleSoft applications with Integration Broker are great for point-to-point integrations and building reusable web services, but critical components that make up a more comprehensive enterprise integration platform are missing. Technology and application connector support is limited and there is no process automation layer that can span over several applications within your enterprise, including cloud-based applications. As depicted in the diagram above, a comprehensive solution such as Oracle SOA Suite can be the missing piece to an organization’s enterprise integration strategy. Oracle BPM runs on Oracle SOA Suite, creating business-driven process based integrations with PeopleSoft applications. Oracle BPM works with the Integration Broker to serve as a connector to PeopleSoft applications, creating seamless integrations and processes across your enterprise; not just within PeopleSoft.

Costly Customizations

Often times, we have seen enterprise customers over customize their PeopleSoft processes and screens to adjust to their organizational policies and procedures using Component Interfaces. It starts out by making one small field change or screen change and continues into a downward endless spiral. The end result is a hugely customized PeopleSoft ERP environment. On one hand, it definitely helps the users to use the system in the way they want to. However, on the other hand, enterprises do not realize that these over customizations drive up maintenance and upgrade costs exponentially. Due to the customizations tailored to the organization, it is difficult to map data elements and the metadata when upgrading to a new version. With each version, you have to go back and make those custom changes again, which can create an upgrade nightmare, especially if those changes were not appropriate documented in the first place. This is why Sofbang recommends a “sticking with vanilla” approach to PeopleSoft implementations. Stay vanilla as possible and externalize your business logic layer with Oracle BPM, where process and screen customizations can be created and managed. Let Oracle BPM help you in handling all personalization requirements, taking care of the actual dependencies. Moreover, the underlying integration layer (Oracle SOA Suite) can be used as a middleware platform to integrate with other on-premise and cloud based applications. Keeping your ERP as vanilla as possible can significantly reduce your overall total cost of ownership, making things simplified and a lot more manageable in the long run. You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream. PeopleSoft vanilla, sprinkled with Oracle BPM and Oracle SOA Suite for me please. Enjoy the rest of your summer!