AGL Energy in Australia, having 3.7 million customer accounts, operates the country’s largest electricity generation portfolio and is its largest ASX-listed investor in renewable energy.
AGL Energy with its 180-year heritage has been at the forefront of energy innovation in the country integrating technology to deliver new and sustainable energy solutions for its customers. Today, however, AGL Energy has been forced to tread the uncharted territory caused by COVID-19 just like many enterprises around the world.
Backed with the energy utility company’s three-year, $300 million digital transformation program in 2016 and its “Extreme SAP” project in 2018 to deliver an industry-leading digital experience to its customers, the AGL Energy in Australia is well in place to continue delivering optimal service to its customers. The digital technology investments have come to fruition as the pandemic situation calls for robust infrastructure and connected networks.
In an SAP virtual industry forum, Head of Business Applications & PMO Rishi Dhillon highlighted the company’s investment in digital technology. He said:
“Our investment in our digital and mobile platforms over the past three years has been absolutely fantastic in servicing our customers.”
“The investment in SAP and also our network and capability in our infrastructure has been reaffirmed with this position that we’re in now.”
The “Extreme SAP” project ran in parallel to a core SAP upgrade project worth around $130 million. Since then, AGL Energy in Australia overhauled its SAP core to S/4 HANA that has reduced delivery times, created flexibility in the SAP platform, and improved system stability overall.
Though AGL Energy has always been innovative and now even more technologically competent, Dhillon shared that the company is also faced with the challenge of mobilising its workforce around the country and in some parts of Asia that are under different lockdown restrictions. He said:
“We also have a lot of generation plants across a lot of geographical locations and they’re operating under their respective response plans.”
“We also have partner services out of the Philippines and India that operate under different jurisdictions as well. So trying to mobilise an entire workforce in a situation that’s changing daily presented a lot of challenges along the way,” he added.
Mobilising the Workforce in the New Normal
To cater to its customers who are also working from home, AGL had collaborated with its service providers outside Australia and provided them with solutions.
Specifically, the Australian sustainable energy company had adopted Microsoft Teams to enable continued collaboration and idea-sharing amongst its members despite the lockdown environment.
“From an organisation perspective we’ve shifted a lot of our collaboration across to Microsoft Teams as our platform, and that’s working really really well,” Dhillon said.
Now, more than ever, AGL Energy leverages digital platforms in running operations virtually to keep people connected. The company holds hackathons, planning/strategic days, team days online, and even social events such as virtual trivia and drinks.
Dhillon explained that the New Normal has accelerated the new way of collaboration wherein it has invited more participants who want to make way for more human connections. He detailed:
“Some of the health surveys we’ve done across the organisation prove that a lot of people are a lot more engaged in some of the initiatives we want to try and drive and deliver.”
In the coming days, Dhillon said that AGL will have to review and evaluate the arrangements that worked for the company to be accepted as its new way of work. AGL will continue to invest in mobilising its workforce. He commented:
“It’s really underway [already] with being cloud-first in everything we do at the moment, and it’s going to continue to grow.”
“I think this is going to really show us a new way of how we come together as an organisation … and strike the right balance for a new breed of people and talent to be able to find a good work-life balance while they work for our organisation,” Dhillon expressed.
To succeed in a changing environment, one of AGL Energy in Australia’s strategy is digital transformation by adopting and embedding best-in-class technology and data analysis. The strategy remains unchanged despite these unpredictable times.