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energySEA revamps digital ecosystem, supports Australia’s race to renewables

Australia is undergoing the world’s fastest energy transition[1]. By 2040, 63 per cent of current coal fired generation is set to be retired[2] and more than 26 GW of new variable renewable energy sources will be coming online.

energySEA is an Australian company that supports the sector with energy transmission and distribution engineered solutions to enable renewable energy projects to connect and stabilise the electricity grid.  Their clients are energy companies, owners and EPC’s driving Australia transition to a renewable economy.

It’s a complex business and to ensure customers receive the best service possible, energySEA needs its personnel have the tools they need to perform their jobs efficiently and well. To support them it has modernised its digital ecosystem with an array of Microsoft technologies creating an agile, accessible, highly integrated, cost effective and responsive platform.

Staff can access modern tools to support them and their customers, while the business has access to comprehensive analytics to enhance decision making and to steer the company strategy.

Since start-up energySEA has built systems aimed at helping it to deliver great customer experience in an efficient way.  Like any starting business, it was not possible to implement a whole of company ERP, but it was able to start with a foundation supported by Office 365.  But the CRM, financial and document management systems remained separate and disconnected.

Working with Microsoft partner Dynamic Aspect, energySEA scoped out its needs and deployed an enterprise-wide solution comprising Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 (Sales and Business Central), SharePoint, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI.

energySEA director Anthony Johnston said that deploying an integrated Microsoft ecosystem has allowed the business to accelerate innovation – developing new solutions in hours instead of months, ensure integration across all its systems and provide enterprise visibility and access to comprehensive business analytics.

Power Apps, the low to no code development platform, allows energySEA to develop its own apps, while Power BI is simplifying report generation and analytics and providing real-time business status. Instead of having to rely on external IT specialists to wrangle energySEA’s data from multiple platforms into reports – its own staff can now handle analytics and reporting themselves, injecting significant efficiency.

Transitioning off its Oracle owned Netsuite ERP and onto Dynamics 365 Business Central has streamlined operations and document management and lowered the total cost of ownership.

The initial focus for Dynamics 365 Business Central has been on optimising and digitising approval and financial processes and automating standard group reports.  At the same time, being a project business, energySEA was able to create and manage version control of engineering and project documents via SharePoint also being integrated to Dynamics 365 Business Central.

According to Johnston: “Automation with Microsoft connected business applications offers us convenience and the opportunity to be, and remain, future-oriented. Thanks to the cloud-based solution, we always stay up to date. This is essential in a digital landscape in which upgrades, and new features succeed each other at great speed.”

Dynamics 365 Business Central has also helped energySEA manage costs by  being predictable through a monthly billing cycle. The company’s ERP subscription costs have been halved.

Users have adopted the platform rapidly; energySEA had already implemented Dynamics 365 Sales and the familiar interfaces, built in setup wizards, preconfigured templates, and tutorials meant users were rapidly bought up to speed with Dynamics 365 Business Central.

energySEA expects additional benefits from staff being able to access the entire Microsoft stack which promises ease of integration and a clear ongoing innovation roadmap.

[1] https://www.aemo.com.au/-/media/files/about_aemo/annual-report/aemo-annual-report-2020.pdf?la=en

[2] https://www.aemo.com.au/newsroom/news-updates/aemo-welcomes-revised-inverter-standard

energySEA director Anthony Johnston said that deploying an integrated Microsoft ecosystem has allowed the business to accelerate innovation – developing new solutions in hours instead of months, ensure integration across all its systems and provide enterprise visibility and access to comprehensive business analytics.

Path to progress

Working with Dynamic Aspect, energySEA created a blueprint of the new digital ecosystem in July 2020.  A key criteria was accessibility to all employees, offline access during business travel and to all documents at remote project locations, sharing documents with key partners and customers.

Key priorities were using the platform to maximise productivity, encourage automation, ensure governance and enabling energySEA staff to spend less time wrangling documents, allowing more time to focus on the business.

According to Johnston; “Dedicated ownership and involvement of the energySEA team has ensured that an enormous amount of work has been done in a short time frame. Key business users have enthusiastically embraced the new system. This, together with the optimal cooperation between EnergySEA and Dynamic Aspect, was an absolute condition for success.”