AusNet Services is collaborating with Microsoft on a five-year strategic partnership, with the energy company selecting Azure as its preferred cloud to streamline operations and improve customer experiences, as part of a major digital modernisation initiative.

The joint project will involve transitioning applications, with AusNet Services’ cloud migration supported by Microsoft partners, LAB3, SoftwareOne and WiPro, with the initiative set for completion in September 2021. 

One of the project’s key goals is to swiftly transition 60 per cent of all its on-premise workloads to Azure in order to have a modern, resilient and secure digital foundation for the future.

AusNet expects to see a number of benefits from the partnership with Microsoft, including:

  • Better optimising asset maintenance and management to drive out costs without reducing performance
  • Simplifying and modernising digital infrastructure and ensuring the security and resilience of the platform
  • Microsoft 365 also provides a productivity platform for AusNet Services with access to emerging solutions such as the Viva employee experience platform
  • The opportunity to explore how an Azure-based digital twin – representing physical assets and activity in a digital form – could provide even more insight

AusNet is planning to make more use of AI and machine learning in order to automate and speed up analysis. This could streamline maintenance scheduling or replacement, which could ultimately mean more reliable services for customers.

AusNet Services Chief Digital Officer, Keith Hopkins, said,“We have both vehicle and helicopter-based capture going on across the network, providing analytics that will help us make better decisions on how we manage our assets.”

Managing Director, Microsoft Australia, Steven Worrall, said, “We are proud to work alongside our industry partners LAB3, SoftwareONE and Wipro on this important modernisation program that will accelerate AusNet Services’ opportunities to derive real value from its data, and empower its purpose to connect communities with energy and accelerate a sustainable future.”

Mr Hopkins said AusNet Services connects communities with energy and recognises the importance of building technology capability and capacity to allow it to rapidly respond to changing market needs, support customer choices and the transition to renewable energy.

“We recognise that our success in the highly competitive sector demands intelligent use of data and that we need to invest in a scalable, resilient and secure digital foundation for the future. 

“This will allow us to make use of our own data, overlay that with third party data such as weather forecasts, and increasingly integrate data from SCADA networks and the Internet of Things (IoTa),” Mr Hopkins said.

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