Sunday, 19 January 2020 22:30

SA Power Networks teams with Microsoft to develop digital strategy Featured

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South Australian electricity distributor SA Power Networks has developed a digital strategy program that incorporates the Microsoft 365 productivity cloud for a workplace transformation that mitigates siloed operations across a vast geographical area of the State.

Under the digital program employees of SA Power that work in the field use Microsoft Teams to share safety information in real time, aimed at helping to prevent and reduce incidents, coordinate emergency response teams, and improve service to keep the power on.

According to Microsoft, SA Power has made considerable headway in its digital strategy initiative, ensuring the business develops new capabilities for employees, solutions for managing the network, and methods to better serve customers—“ultimately enabling the company to address disruptive trends in the industry”.

“Ensuring the safety of our employees, our customers, and our equipment, followed by continuity of supply—keeping the power on—are our highest priorities,” says Paul Salter, Manager Operations Delivery Regional at SA Power Networks.

“So, any tool we can use to improve safety is a massive benefit to our organisation.”

“We use Teams to store safety incident reports and share them among the leadership,” said Henry Spaan, Regional Operations Manager at SA Power Networks

“Each report identifies what happened and the outcome. Everyone can review them, and they enrich our morning ‘toolbox’ meetings when we discuss daily issues that arise across the depots. The WHS [Work Health and Safety] rep can drive discussion about how to prevent the incident from recurring.”

“We set a goal of no switching incidents every year. For the first time, regional operations haven’t had a single switching incident this year, since the Switching Mentor program has been up and running on Microsoft Teams.”

“Many companies are perceived as working in silos,” says Rob Riddell, Project Manager at SA Power Networks.

“When we looked at platforms for collaboration across the organisation, Microsoft 365 had the full gamut of solutions.”

To this end, Riddell says field workers have embraced Yammer, the corporate social network in Office 365, to connect with far-flung colleagues.

“Today, we have employees in their trucks in the outback, making videos on their phones about a piece of equipment, or offering suggestions to help someone else 1,000 kilometres away,” says Riddell.

“It’s that instant connection with others that makes a difference, helping you feel part of a supportive organisation that cares about your safety.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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