Interview: Q&A on the Go Live of Copperleaf at TasNetworks

February 7, 2022 Copperleaf Marketing

The Copperleaf® Decision Analytics Solution is now live at TasNetworks, an Australian electricity transmission and distribution company that serves over 295,000 customers throughout the state of Tasmania. TasNetworks is our first ever client to go live with all three key products: Copperleaf AssetCopperleaf Portfolio, and Copperleaf Value, simultaneously and within the first implementation phase. We spoke to Kyle Shirkey, TasNetworks Asset Management Improvement Program Leader, and Phil Keong, Copperleaf Senior Consultant, about the implementation and how it has helped the organisation on its asset management journey.

Can you share a little bit about your role at TasNetworks?

Kyle: "I am a Program Manager in charge of the Asset Management Improvement Program (AMIP), which is a multi-year program with multiple workstreams. Our team is focused on uplifting TasNetworks’ asset management maturity to the ISO 55000 asset management standard."

What are the main goals of TasNetworks' Asset Management Improvement Program?

Kyle: "The main goals of the AMIP over this period are:

  1. Asset data uplift to ensure information such as in-service dates and condition monitoring inputs are correct and uploaded in the ERP system
  2. Improved economic analysis and decision making using the uplifted data and the Copperleaf solution (and an in-house asset health score calculator) to justify Repex (replacement expenditures) and Augex (augmentation expenditures) to the Australian Energy Regulator
  3. Improved network asset risk management framework”

Our experience working with Copperleaf has been second to none and by far one of the best vendor experiences I have ever been involved with! Throughout the entire project—from RFQ to go-live—every interaction with Copperleaf was positive and constructive, leading to a trouble-free, on-time, and on-budget implementation.

KYLE SHIRKEY

Asset Management Improvement Program Leader, TasNetworks

What were the key things you felt made the project successful?

Kyle: "There were several key factors that made this project successful:

  • A dedicated, highly-skilled, cross-functional team made up of fully engaged asset/risk management, IT, communications, and project management professionals
  • Successful identification and selection of our administrators, super-users, and trainers
  • Senior leadership support from the Board of Directors and across the company
  • Outstanding project management and technical support from Copperleaf. Essentially, we were “one team” and formed great working relationships along the way."

Phil: "Additionally:

  • TasNetworks worked hard on cleaning their asset data which paid off immensely during the implementation. This led to extremely accurate results that were accepted quickly by all the asset engineers involved.
  • We also had fun along the way! At Copperleaf, we take our work seriously but we try not to take ourselves too seriously. Being able to have a few laughs and build great relationships allowed us to have open and honest communication and feedback between all members of the joint team."

TasNetworks and Copperleaf enjoy a celebratory dinner following the successful go live implementation. 

Were there any lessons learned?

Kyle: “Lessons learned include:

  1. A deep understanding that basic asset data—including how it is gathered, stored and analysed—is essential to ensuring the best investment decisions
  2. Alignment with the corporate risk framework and the involvement of the corporate risk team is essential
  3. Do not underestimate the change management and communications required with subject matter experts (SMEs)
  4. Asset risk model selection is important, but only part of the overall picture
  5. It's very important to communicate new processes across the business"

Phil: "Simpler is better. When selecting asset models, we had to choose between a very complex asset model (which met more of TasNetworks’ needs, but for only a few asset classes) and a simpler asset model (which met the vast majority of needs across all asset classes, but lacked condition data input for some asset classes). We came up with a compromise to implement the simpler asset model for all asset classes, but also allow condition data to be calculated into a health score and fed into the model. This allows for consistency in modelling across all assets, flexibility in the health score calculation methodology, and the ability to include condition data."

Outstanding project management and technical support from Copperleaf were key factors that made this project successful. Essentially, we were 'one team' and formed great working relationships along the way.

KYLE SHIRKEY

Asset Management Improvement Program Leader, TasNetworks

What are the key benefits you think you’ll get out of implementing Copperleaf?

Kyle: "There are several major benefits, including:

  1. A significant improvement in our asset risk management decision making
  2. A much more standardised and robust process for creating and evaluating investment options across very different assets and very different SME approaches
  3. Improved justifications to the regulator for Repex and Augex allocation
  4. An uplift in the economic analysis skills of our SMEs
  5. Better asset lifecycle management which will improve network safety, reduce system faults, deliver better-timed maintenance outcomes and more optimised Opex and Capex, resulting in much lower costs to the business year after year
  6. Significant time savings (productivity improvement) for everyone involved in portfolio optimisation
  7. Much better reporting and visualisation of risk/risk mitigation for senior management
  8. Senior leadership now has a complete picture of all network investments in one system"

Have there been any other added benefits?

Kyle: "TasNetworks is now on a path to adding non-network investments, which will give senior leadership a complete picture of all investments across the business. This will be a first for TasNetworks and is an added benefit beyond the original scope of the project."

Phil: "Previously, TasNetworks could only estimate quantified risk over an entire asset population. Copperleaf’s predictive analytics capabilities provide visibility into quantified risk at an individual asset level (e.g. bushfire risk, safety, environment, network reliability, etc.) which allows the company to accurately model the risks associated with individual assets and improve decision making."

Is there anything unique TasNetworks is doing with the Copperleaf solution?

Phil: "TasNetworks is our first client to go live with all three Copperleaf key products simultaneously and within the first implementation phase. This is an exciting achievement and gives TasNetworks the ability to combine asset analytics with portfolio optimisation at an enterprise level right out of the gate.

We also implemented the Copperleaf Universal Asset Risk Model which allows SMEs to override asset health scores to provide more realistic condition-based assessments of risk. TasNetworks is implementing an in-house asset health score calculator that uses customisable calculation methodologies and condition monitoring inputs. This provides a flexible platform to calculate asset health which can grow and evolve as data collection improves or condition monitoring technologies evolve."

How would you describe the experience you had working with Copperleaf?

Kyle: "Our experience working with Copperleaf has been second to none and by far one of the best vendor experiences I have ever been involved with! I believe Copperleaf’s world-class approach is unique in this industry. The team was focused on understanding our business and processes, and worked closely with us to maximise the benefits of the Copperleaf solution, while seamlessly aligning with our risk management framework. Throughout the entire project—from RFQ to go-live—every interaction with Copperleaf was positive and constructive, leading to a trouble-free, on-time, and on-budget implementation."

What’s next on your asset management journey?

Kyle: "TasNetworks’ new CEO, Seán Mc Goldrick, has set a goal for us to achieve ISO 55000 certification in 2022. Having Copperleaf as a key partner in our strategic asset management process will help ensure we achieve this goal."

What’s one word you would use to describe what it was like working with Copperleaf?

Kyle: "Awesome!"


Learn more about how Copperleaf clients have been able to improve their business outcomes in our client success stories.

About the Author

Copperleaf provides decision analytics to companies managing critical infrastructure. Headquartered in Vancouver, our solutions are distributed and supported by regional staff and partners worldwide.

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