Redefining how Ausgrid plans and executes work using Google Cloud
Ausgrid is one of Australia’s largest electricity distributors and is responsible for delivering power to over 1.8 million customers throughout Sydney, the Central Coast, and the Hunter Valley.
Ausgrid is the largest distributor of electricity on Australia’s east coast, providing power to 1.8 million customers – that’s over four million Australians relying on Ausgrid every day. Their network is made up of substations, powerlines, underground cables and power poles, spanning 22,275 square kilometres throughout Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter Valley.
Ausgrid needed to upgrade its existing work management system, as the application user base had grown considerably larger than originally anticipated and the solution had far exceeded its originally intended lifespan. The application had been suffering from several performance issues and there were a limited number of insights that could be gained from the application due to the design of the original application’s data model. Ausgrid was faced with a fixed budget and an unknown scope, making their usual fixed investment strategy a bad fit for a proposed solution with very few well-defined requirements.
Ausgrid was looking for a solution to these issues alongside a host of new features and improvements that would allow a new group of users to schedule work in an area of the business that is highly dynamic and traditionally very difficult to plan. This would not only drastically transform how work is planned and delivered in those areas, but also allow Ausgrid to align the work scheduling and planning process across the business.
In the initial stages, the team worked closely with key stakeholders at Ausgrid to define the MVP for the new version of the application.
The blended Kasna-Ausgrid team made use of the Kasna delivery framework, utilising agile methodologies to iteratively work through the redesign of the database and data migration from the old application, before the newest version of the application was released to AusGrid’s staff.
This framework also allowed the project owners to continuously track and update the budget and progress towards MVP and subsequent feature releases as progress was made. This introduced clarity about how value is delivered to all stakeholders and users within Ausgrid, and ultimately to Ausgrid’s customers.
In addition to a full suite of manual testing, the Kasna-Ausgrid team created automated tests that covered a wide range of scenarios. The result was a smooth and successful cutover and transition for staff that will rely upon this new application every day.
After the initial release of the new and improved application, the team was able to work closely with end users to respond to feedback and deliver new features.
Thanks to the infrastructure uplifts and improvements to the CI/CD pipeline completed earlier on in the project, the team was able to do production releases daily to ensure that any issues were quickly addressed and new features could be rolled out to end-users as soon as they were ready.
Key Products/Services Used
- Cloud SQL
- Cloud Run
- Cloud Armor
- Cloud Storage
- App Engine
What techniques did we use?
- Software lifecycle transformation
- DevOps, Continuous Delivery & Testing
- Agile Transformation
- Principle of Least Privilege
- Defence in Depth
The Kasna-Ausgrid team was able to deliver a successful project in an agile fashion, in what had traditionally been a very waterfall business. Working in this way allowed the team to continuously deliver value while also having the flexibility to pivot and change direction based on user feedback or evolving business needs.
- Reduced load times within the application across the board, including performance improvements of up to 400% within some parts of the application
- Unlocking the potential for new data analytics & insights thanks to the new application database and integrations with Ausgrid’s data warehouse platform
- Ability to quickly deploy, test, and promote changes to production in a matter of minutes by implementing modern CI/CD processes
- Reduced the rate of cancellations of planned work by allowing shifts to be modelled in the application by creating an integration with Ausgrid’s on-prem HR system
- Allowed the business to vastly improve how outages are planned and delivered through the creation of a real-time integration with Ausgrid’s outage management system
- Greatly improved the security posture of the application by leveraging modern tooling like Web Application Firewall and Security Command Centre
The Kasna team was able to deliver a solution that solved the key challenges that Ausgrid faced, simultaneously extending the lifespan and utility of the application. This allowed Ausgrid to realise more value from their original investment into this solution.