Tennet TSO

Picture: The Tennet TSO headquarters in Bayreuth

From the technical manual to the corporate dictionary

For ten years now, TenneT TSO has been relying on a BlueSpice MediaWiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH. From a reference book for the network operator’s construction and operating guidelines, the wiki since then has developed into a company-wide knowledge base with currently around 11,000 articles.

Michael Nawratil can’t suppress a smile as he recalls the time before 2009.

“For our construction and operating guidelines, we had a technical manual based on a large number of individual files created with MS Word. Based on that, an external service provider developed a web application which we fed it into our intranet.”

This often took a long time. Sometimes you had to turn several loops before the conversion to HTML worked. With every change the same procedure was necessary again, he says.

TenneT TSO – Stromnetz für 25 Millionen Menschen

Michael Nawratil is responsible for data management in the area of asset strategy at TenneT TSO GmbH.
He was there when employees suggested looking for a new system to simplify and accelerate the process described above. The solution: BlueSpice pro, the enterprise version of MediaWiki, developed by Hallo Welt!

TenneT TSO GmbH is a German subsidiary of the Dutch electricity grid operator TenneT. In Germany, the company operates an extra-high voltage grid with a total length of around 12,500 kilometres. The Bayreuth-based company thus indirectly supplies around 25 million people with electrical energy.

Industry Energy, Water, Environment
Market Public service company
Headquarters Bayreuth, Germany
Employees 4.500
Product BlueSpice pro
Goal Development of a company-wide knowledge base
Use Case Technical documentation, knowledge management
Phone +49 (0921) 507 40-0
Portrait TenneT is a leading European Transmission System Operator (TSO) and operates mainly in the Netherlands and Germany. With more than 23,000 kilometres of high-voltage lines, we ensure a reliable and secure electricity supply for 41 million end consumers.

We employ around 4,500 people and have a turnover of 4.2 billion euros. TenneT is one of Europe’s largest investors in national and cross-border grid connections on land and at sea, bringing together the energy markets of north-western Europe and driving the energy turnaround.

The energy turnaround is an immense challenge – for the energy supply, for our society. After a period of dynamic growth and as a major player in the energy market, TenneT will change to be ready for its central role in the energy turnaround.

Order creation via PDF book function

The development, operation and maintenance of this extensive network infrastructure require certain guidelines, which are now managed in BlueSpice, our corporate wiki. “If a project manager is to carry out a modification measure like the expansion or the construction of a new network node – he will find the relevant technical specifications in our wiki,” explains Nawratil.  Just like answers to recurring questions like “which system design is used for the station type defined in the technical concept at this location, which requirements apply to the equipment to be procured, which design principles are to be taken into account in the planning of the operating building, how are lightning protection/earthing systems to be installed, etc.”

 But the functional scope extends beyond that: via the book function of transpedia – as the TenneT Wiki is called – the relevant parts for the individual trades can be extracted (via PDF export) and handed over to the service providers as an attachment when the order is placed. This is a custom function that has been developed during an 18-month-project together with Hallo Welt! The same applies to the TenneT TSO service groups, which, for example, carry out on-site inspections of the plants and support external service providers. They, too, can quickly extract guidelines and requirements tailored to the respective activity from transpedia and make them available as a PDF brochure.

Picture: Extract from the wiki manual “Bauen & Errichten

Updates available immediately

Ten years after the introduction of transpedia, TenneT TSO’s expectations of the new system have been fully met. Nawratil: “In the past, changes to the manual, including conversion to HTML, could take three to four months. Now, in principle, any employee can enter changes in our wiki and they are immediately available, provided they have been approved by a responsible technical editor.” In addition to the immense acceleration, the complete costs for the external service provider have also been eliminated.

An occasional pitfall is merely the editor for creating articles. Many employees are used to working with MS Word – with other functions and possibilities. “But when the understanding for the wiki-editor has matured, it works without any problems.”

Flat hierarchies for 3,500 users 

Currently, around 3,500 users – employees of the German TenneT TSO, but also of the Dutch parent company – have access to transpedia’s approximately 11,000 articles, written in German and English. “We register about 70 to 80 active users per day. In addition to its main function as a technical manual for construction and operating guidelines, transpedia is increasingly developing into a company-wide lexicon with definitions of terms, company information and tips and tricks.

In principle, Tennet TSO relies on flat hierarchies in its transpedia. “Anyone can edit any article,” says Nawratil, who admits that he was initially sceptical. However, this strategy has proved its worth. “Everything about the version history is completely transparent and comprehensible. For protected areas however, such as the fixed set of rules of the construction and operating guidelines, review mechanisms by technical editors were implemented.

From external trainings to own multipliers

Depending on requirements and requests by the individual departments there were several training courses from Hallo Welt! in the initial phase of the introduction. Target audience: administrators and technical editors on the one hand, for the broad field of consuming users on the other hand.

“Meanwhile, however, we mainly rely on our own multipliers in the company who pass on their knowledge,” says Nawratil, who himself conducts employee training courses at regular intervals. Only the BlueSpice user manual is continuously supervised by Hallo Welt!.

Currently the update to BlueSpice 3 is pending. “We have also discussed whether we should extend the release procedure a little and introduce a four-eyes principle. However, Nawratil says that this is still under discussion. The beauty of the system is its adaptability. “You don’t have to take anything as it is, but you can adapt it to your individual needs. In that respect the cooperation with Hallo Welt! is uncomplicated and smooth.” (sa – 05/2019)


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BlueSpice is a brand of Hallo Welt! GmbH, a worldwide leading provider and consultant for MediaWiki solutions.
Our company was founded to make the technology and concepts of Wikipedia usable for companies. Since 2007 we have been developing the knowledge management platform BlueSpice based on the open source software MediaWiki. With our growing team of more than 20 employees, we offer companies an enterprise software for the implementation of integrated management systems, documentation systems, organization manuals, intranet wikis and flexible knowledge bases. We ensure that your wiki project is professionally planned, implemented and maintained. Let’s wiki together!