Ennatuurlijk became an independently managed entity and had to build up its business processes from scratch. They seized this opportunity to implement MECOMS, a complete IT solution incorporating the best practices of many utility companies. The modular architecture of MECOMS was key to tackle the challenge of interfacing with several other applications. In the end, MECOMS enabled Ennatuurlijk to work more efficiently, eventually allowing them to sell their products at a lower price.


Ennatuurlijk sells heat, at 80 sites around the Netherlands.

The customer care and billing activities of Ennatuurlijk (former Essent Heat) used to be managed in two SAP® systems. Johan Ter Borg, former Customer Office Manager recounts: “We used to manage our B2C customers with one SAP® system, and our B2B customers with another SAP® system.” The decision was made to realize an Ennatuurlijk (former Essent Heat) organization that manages its own customer and connection data, with its own people, working methodology and IT-systems.


Together with its newly-acquired independence came a formidable task. Johan Ter Borg: “We faced two main challenges. In the first place, we had to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and IT systems to run our processes independently. Secondly, the resulting system would need to be tightly integrated with other systems on several levels“. Therefore, Ennatuurlijk launched a project, called HEATFIELD, to find and implement a solution, on a limited budget and in a very short time frame.

Being able to independently select a solution was also an opportunity to redress some long-standing drawbacks of the existing SAP® IS-U system. For instance, the new system should be able to accept unmetered connections and it should offer a single, comprehensive gateway to all customer data. Furthermore, the new solution would need flexibility to interface with several other systems. Johan Ter Borg: “The objective of project HEATFIELD was to become self-reliant and to withdraw ourselves from SAP®.

A search for suitable providers quickly led to MECOMS, a solution from Ferranti Computer Systems. Johan Ter Borg: “MECOMS has a proven track record. It is being used by our Essent Metering Data Company, but we were particularly impressed by the realized implementation at ‘Waternet’.” This certified Microsoft Dynamics® AX solution was easy to implement, very scalable and highly modular.

Due to the nature of the Microsoft Dynamics® AX system and it’s layered and object-oriented architecture, additional functionality could easily be added to the system. Furthermore, the default processes in MECOMS reflect the accumulated best practices of many utility companies, offering an excellent way to bootstrap Essent Heat‘s new activities. Johan Ter Borg: “MECOMS matches our ambition to serve our customers as efficient and flexible as possible. Ferranti, the company that develops MECOMS, has a lot of experience with the way our business works.

Starting from scratch

MECOMS was implemented at Ennatuurlijk to manage customer contacts, billing (yearly invoices, final payments and incidental invoices) and debt collection (collections, reminders, demand notes and transfers to collection agencies). Furthermore, the MECOMS system at Ennatuurlijk had to interface with Generis™ for collections and validation, SAP® FICO for financials and Ultimo™ for connection/meter registers. It also had to link to an Internet self-service (MECOMS Web Portal) and bank interfaces.

By virtue of its modular architecture, MECOMS was seamlessly integrated with this diverse collection of external systems. Moreover, the MECOMS information model glued these parts together into logical processes. Acknowledging the distinctiveness of the heat-business, specific functionalities, such as heat-cost divisions, were added to the system.

MECOMS is also very user-friendly, featuring an interface familiar to Microsoft Office and a 360° cockpit with an extensive customer information overview, based on the context of the user. Due to wizards and advanced features, such as time-slicing, users are able to carry out complex tasks in a few simple steps, with minimal training required. Johan Ter Borg: “While there was general enthusiasm during the implementation phase, some people had trouble adjusting to the new system when it went live. However, these issues were quickly resolved. Since then, our people have increasingly discovered the possibilities and advantages of MECOMS.

Within budget

Unlike many comparable projects, HEATFIELD was finished after a mere ten months and it has stayed well within its budget. Johan Ter Borg: “MECOMS is attractively priced, but its main advantage is that it enables us to work more efficiently. And eventually, this allows us to sell our products at a lower price.

Role:  Integrated Utility
Functional Scope: Billing and Credit Management – Contract Management –
Country Pack – Customer Communication – Customer Management – EUCA
Interaction Management – Market Communication – Product Management
Process Scope:  Sell – Contract – Market – Report & Control – Bill & Collect
Region: EMEA