WaterNSW adopts cloud ERP to streamline operations

26 September 2019 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read
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Working in collaboration with Business Aspect, DXC Technology and other Microsoft partners, WaterNSW has successfully completed a migration to a new and modern ERP system. Working in the cloud enables WaterNSW to boost effectiveness and efficiency, while making the jobs of its 850 employees more hassle-free.

Tasked with managing a major share of New South Wales’ (NSW) water supply, WaterNSW is a logistical labyrinth that relies heavily on efficiency and reliability – without water no community or business would survive. The public sector entity currently oversees the most substantial surface and groundwater management system in the southern hemisphere, which includes maintenance of the infrastructure.

WaterNSW was established in 2014 as an amalgamation of three distinct agencies. The major operational snag thereafter was that all three were grounded in different digital systems, posing the challenge of coordinating operations. In search of harmonisation and efficiency, the organisation launched a large-scale digital transformation programme.

By migrating to the cloud, WaterNSW aimed to tap into the well documented cloud benefits of flexibility, security and efficiency. The water supplier dumped its legacy infrastructure to migrate to a new enterprise resource planning system (Dynamics365, which supports the backbone of among others finance, logistics and planning) and Microsoft Office product line (Office365). The cloud-based infrastructure was hosted and managed on Microsoft Azure, which now serves as the backbone for WaterNSW’s application building, testing, deploying and managed services.

WaterNSW adopts cloud ERP to streamline operations

“Microsoft was a perfect fit given our size did not justify a complex alternative system. It was a modern system that allowed us to leapfrog a pure upgrade of systems to a whole new cloud-based ERP,” explained Ian Robinson, the CIO of Water NSW.

A digital journey

Requiring a mix of deep expertise, Microsoft knowhow and experience with IT consultancy, a range of external firms were brought on board to oversee the change, including Business Aspect, DXC Technology and a number of other Microsoft Partners.

Business Aspect is a Queensland-based management consultancy that prides itself on its unique approach to supporting clients in four service domains: strategy & operations, digital & technology, information & innovation, and cyber security & risk. The consulting firm has a strong track record in the digital transformation domain, where it can build on the technology expertise of its stock listed parent company Data3#. DXC Technology is a global IT services company that has been active in Australia for fifty years.

As part of its project remit, Business Aspect supported the alignment between WaterNSW’s business and IT ranks. The firm then led the process from business process design through to delivery and implementation across the organsiation.

A uniform terminology, leveraged from the American Productivity and Quality Centre ramework (APQC), was developed to ensure there was a mutual understanding among stakeholders, and applied to facilitate the continuous business – IT development process.

“Today WaterNSW has a single system using integrated data across multiple processes which significantly simplifies business processes and management of corporate data.”

“The APQC framework allowed us to analyse each process in great detail and then use that insight to translate those processes into system functions and data requirements. This along with our deep understanding of, and experience with, Dynamics 365 allowed us to help craft a solution that dovetailed with WaterNSW’s operational requirements,” said David Lennon, Managing Partner of Business Aspect.

“Working with WaterNSW, our team, led by program manager, James Creighton, took a best practice approach to matching business requirements with the technology solution allowing us to deploy a platform that not only meets the organisation’s needs today – but has a clear runway to the future,” he added.

The system / application building and delivery phase was led by DXC Technology, with several other Microsoft partners supporting the work. Prior to go-live, WaterNSW’s 850 employees including 80 IT professionals were trained to work with the new systems and processes.

Today, WaterNSW is live with its new IT operating model, which according to Robinson has not just helped streamline operations, enabling employees to focus on more value-adding work, but also established the foundations for ongoing innovation.