TasNetworks is a state-owned power company responsible for electricity transmission and distribution throughout Tasmania. Formed in 2014 through the merger of Aurora Energy and Transend, the new company was charged with providing affordable, reliable power to the citizens of Tasmania. But first, it had to begin a digital transformation to empower its own people, and to overcome duplicate systems, disparate processes and a range of data accessibility issues.
“Our business case identified business benefits of going to the SAP platform of about $68 million in quantifiable benefits. We are currently on track to deliver or exceed that.”
Lance Balcombe Chief Executive Officer, TasNetworks
“The systems we were using were end-of-life, they were heavily bespoke, they were challenging to maintain, and there were many, many platforms across our business,” says TasNetworks chief executive officer Lance Balcombe. “So, one of the things we had to think about was how do we simplify our whole technology framework.”
TasNetworks chose to find one integrated digital platform that would enable the company to not only meet the needs of today, but also take it into the future. The organization wanted one single system, one consistent way of working across the business and one “single source of truth”.
“Rather than going to the market for a software solution, we had a requirements document and went to the market looking for a system integrator to recommend a software solution to us,” says Ross Burridge, General Manager Strategy Finance & Business Services. “We ran a pretty exhaustive process to select an integrator, and DXC Technology was successful in winning that bid. We were confident their people could work with our team.”
DXC Oxygen — part of the DXC global SAP team and the leading specialist SAP solutions provider across Australia and New Zealand — recommended SAP as the core enabling IT platform. The scope of the project encompassed process redesign, implementation, application and infrastructure support, with S/4HANA, C-Net SafetySuite and cloud products Ariba, Concur and SuccessFactors.
Building on best practices
TasNetworks relied heavily on DXC to deliver the solution architecture and the functional expertise to match the SAP solution with TasNetworks’ requirements.
“One of the key components of our transformation with SAP was to configure our systems, not customize,” says Balcombe. “It’s vital we’re ensuring we have a platform that takes us forward. With all that’s coming with modern technology — opportunities through machine learning, robotics and things like that — you must ensure you stay on an upgrade path.”
“The SAP solution contains a number of best practices that are built around some of the industry key business process areas,” says Stuart Dickinson, general manager and director for DXC Oxygen. “We work with the customer to minimize the amount of development work we have to do so the result can be easily supported and upgraded. We keep it as clean and as standard as possible through that process.”
The SAP-enabled transformation was implemented in two phases over 2-1/2 years. The first phase covered the core enterprise resource planning functionality, payroll, human resources, supply chain and finance. The second phase addressed enterprise asset management programs and project management.
“The systems we were using were end-of-life, they were heavily bespoke, they were challenging to maintain, and there were many, many platforms across our business. So, one of the things we had to think about was how do we simplify our whole technology framework.”
Lance Balcombe Chief executive officer, TasNetworks
Driving better business performance
With the completion of the implementation, TasNetworks was able to decommission 60 legacy applications. The organization is now on track to achieve goals set for less rework, higher resource utilization, more effective planning, fewer program delays, less outage time, enhanced public and worker safety, reduced urgent work response times, improved workforce planning, and lower operating and maintenance costs.
“Our business case identified business benefits of going to the SAP platform of about $68 million in quantifiable benefits,” says Balcombe. “we are currently on track to deliver or exceed that.”
Combining a streamlined, integrated system with employee self-service has eliminated many of the old paper-based processes and allowed the team to focus on more value-added activities.
“SAP has been really an enabler and a catalyst for change within the finance team,” says Amy Parker, leader of finance, analysis and reporting at TasNetworks. “It really challenged us to think about the role that we played and how we could set up for success into the future and increase the value we provide to the business. Previously, we were heavily transaction-focused, whereas now we’re problem solvers, providers of strategic insights and driving improved business performance.”
Just as SAP has enabled transformation in the area of finance, it has also improved TasNetworks’ ability to manage assets by delivering a clearer picture of the electricity assets in the field. Having accurate, up-to-date and robust asset data is pivotal for managing reliability and risk, and it has big safety implications, not only for TasNetworks employees but also for the community.
Michael Westenberg, general manager for technology and performance at TasNetworks, says, “Having a single source of truth in SAP is now starting to provide us with insight into our own business at a level that we’ve never seen before, and starting to enable a view on assets that we haven’t been able to achieve before, which is ultimately going to provide TasNetworks with a lower cost of operation and [the ability to provide] lower electricity prices to the Tasmanian community.”
“One of the key components of our transformation with SAP was to configure our systems, not customize. ... It’s vital we’re ensuring we have a platform that takes us forward. With all that’s coming with modern technology — opportunities through machine learning, robotics and things like that — you must ensure you stay on an upgrade path.”
Lance Balcombe Chief executive officer, TasNetworks
Innovating for the future
The next priority for TasNetworks is to innovate around SAP to help meet the corporate vision: “Trusted by our customers to deliver today and create a better tomorrow.” Once again, TasNetworks will look to DXC to contribute expertise and knowledge gained from other SAP implementations across the globe.
“I think where DXC helps us going forward is, ‘What’s our next step, what’s our next strategy, what’s our next implementation?’” says Burridge.
“We’re really only at the start of our SAP journey,” adds Parker. “We need to continue to look for ways to leverage the power of SAP, and in particular, the capability of S/4HANA to improve the analytics and reporting we provide to the business. Our value is to provide strategic insights and drive business performance forward because this will enable more effective decision making and ultimately better outcomes for our customers.”