Australian Power & Gas brings IT up to scratch

 

Enterprise architecture to underpin growth visions.

Energy retailer Australian Power & Gas is installing a new general ledger system and enhancing its data warehouse in a multi-year bid to beef up enterprise IT to support its growth plans.

The company has a 'Vision 2015' objective to serve 700,000 customers - about twice the number it has now.

It has used the past two-and-a-half years - coinciding with the tenure of current chief information officer Joseph Gullotta - to improve IT systems across the business to meet that goal.

"We've done a lot of work and looked at almost every aspect of the business in terms of IT, and we've worked on upgrading those to an enterprise level," Gullotta told iTnews.

"You have to understand it was a startup business.

"When I joined in 2010 we were only operating for a few years at that stage and we were growing very fast, so we had to put some enterprise systems that could cater for immediate requirements and also grow with us going forward."

Aside from some industry-specific settlement and reconciliation systems, a sizeable chunk of Australian Power & Gas' enterprise application stack is Microsoft technology.

An 18-month-old Microsoft Dynamics system is used to manage customer enquiries that come in via email, and to track complaints against outsourced doorknockers working on Australian Power & Gas' behalf.

Doorknocker tracking is required under an industry self-regulation scheme. Statistics - "there's not a large volume of them" - were previously tracked in a more "simplistic" manner, Gullotta says.

Australian Power & Gas also uses SQL Server as the basis for a data warehouse, which consolidates internal data flows with those generated by outsourced partners, such as for its billing system, call centre, telesales channels and doorknocking providers.

"That [data warehouse] environment is still maturing for us," Gullotta says.

"We're looking at other third-party tools that could assist us in easy analysis of the data."

It's unclear exactly what role those third-party tools will play. Gullotta indicates that the company will "predominately" look to utilise SQL Server Reporting Services to surface data from the warehouse to the company's management team.

The company's desktop environment is Windows 7, mostly Office 2010 and with Exchange/Outlook for email. Its website is built in Visual Studio on .NET using internal web developer resources.

"Where we can, we pick up the Microsoft toolset," Gullotta says.

Not everything in the IT environment is Microsoft-based. Australian Power & Gas uses VMware virtualisation for its server infrastructure, NetApp for storage and disaster recovery and Cisco kit for its phone system.

It has also settled on a non-Microsoft general ledger system - FinanceOne, created by Technology One.

Staff and outsourcers

Gullotta's internal IT team of nine compares favourably with the overall size of the company - about 80 staff in total.

"It's quite a large team for a small user base, but we run a lot of the large applications and there's a lot of data flow for us," he says.

"We cater for and handle that in-house. We do all web development and data warehousing in-house."

The team is bolstered by an array of partners and outsourced arrangements.

Australian Power & Gas is a long-term user of Serviceworks, which looks after its Agility Orion billing system and most call centre work, barring a small presence used to respond to email queries, which stays in-house.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM project was handled in part by IT service provider CSG. Likewise, ASE IT and VMtech have been brought in to support various IT projects.

The company has also handed off managed voice and data services to Primus Telecom.

"The amount of work that's happened over the past two years has been immense," Gullotta says.

"We've really brought it on in leaps and bounds in that time. The company's now set up for a long time with the correct [IT] environment in place."

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Australian Power & Gas brings IT up to scratch
 
 
 
Top Stories
Meet FABACUS, Westpac's first computer
GE225 operators celebrate gold anniversary.
 
NSW Govt gets ready to throw out the floppy disks
[Opinion] Dominic Perrottet says its time for government to catch up.
 
iiNet facing new copyright battle with Hollywood
Fighting to protect customer details.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Do you direct debit customers? Read this
Oct 10, 2014
Authorities have been targeting direct debit practices with iiNet and Dodo receiving formal ...
Optus expands 4G coverage
Oct 10, 2014
If you rely on an Optus phone for work you might be interested to know that there are now 200 ...
Microsoft Office is now free for some charities
Oct 10, 2014
Microsoft has announced that eligible Australian non-profit organisations and charities can now ...
Vodafone lights up 4G in Adelaide
Oct 9, 2014
Live and work in Adelaide? Vodafone has switched on its 4G network in the city and suburbs.
Next year tradies will be able to take payments using ingogo
Oct 3, 2014
Ingogo is going to provide a card payment service for Xero users.
Latest Comments
Polls
In which area is your IT shop hiring the most staff?




   |   View results
IT security and risk
  26%
 
Sourcing and strategy
  12%
 
IT infrastructure (servers, storage, networking)
  21%
 
End user computing (desktops, mobiles, apps)
  15%
 
Software development
  26%
TOTAL VOTES: 341

Vote
Would your InfoSec team be prepared to share threat data with the Australian Government?

   |   View results
Yes
  58%
 
No
  42%
TOTAL VOTES: 143

Vote