Todd Energy is a 100% New Zealand owned and operated natural gas producer. With offshore joint ventures, Todd are responsible for more than 50% of New Zealand’s hydrocarbon energy production. In conjunction with Nova Energy, they currently employ more than 500 staff across New Zealand.
Business drivers for their Office 365 digital transformation included: becoming an employer of choice by improving collaborative and staff engagement; and lowering the cost of production. In addition, Todd Energy wanted to streamline its operations and give staff the information tools they needed to work wherever they were located.
The solution implemented pulls together fragmented information and operations into one easy Office 365 platform supported by Power BI. Since go-live in 2019, staff – from corporate teams to in-field maintenance – have been creating and consuming information seamlessly via Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Azure, Delve, Stream, OneNote, Planner, and Power Platform.
Collaboration across departments and locations has been enabled making it easy and fast to access the right content at the right time, anywhere, any place. Better decisions, through improving the visibility of information and processes, have been enabled via Power BI and Power Automate.
Russell Craig, Microsoft New Zealand’s National Technology Officer, believes the success of Todd Energy is a roadmap for other businesses to explore how they can use digital technologies to unify dispersed teams and realize significant gains in productivity and innovation.
Todd Energy faced two main challenges; firstly, employees including new recruits and millennials increasingly expected straightforward digital ways of working. James Blair, Head of Information Management and Technology at Todd Energy, sums it up “we‘ve got a number of generations in our workforce and they want to come into an organization where they can work digitally. It’s important for Todd to have a foundation that allows them to do that.”
Secondly, people were sharing files on multiple network drives, hard drives, desktops, and various intranets. Fragmented information was impacting collaboration and productivity and the ability to have the right information at staff’s fingertips out in the field.
Information Management Specialist, Steph Richardson, says “it is fair to say that nobody had one place to go to access one source of documentation. We ended up with duplication of files and we still had people accessing network drives as well.”
Todd Energy wanted to take the time to get it right and to build an enduring solution. Blair says: “In the past when SharePoint was deployed, IT just gave it to the business as a gift and said, ‘here’s an ECM solution’. There was no architecture, it was just deployed and grew organically, as opposed to in a planned and structured manner. Over time this meant people couldn’t find their stuff.” Todd Energy wanted to spend much more time getting the architecture right this time –as they knew enabling staff to find and retrieve content was key.
For Todd Energy this was also a potential area of risk as it works in a highly regulated industry and is subject to multiple audits every year. This also impacts on the bottom line, increasing operating costs.
Microsoft Cloud technology and Office 365 was selected as the solution platform. Information Leadership, a Microsoft Gold partner and Office 365 specialist, became implementation partners and trusted advisors.
Blair sums it up, “We consider Information Leadership a true partner; we partner with organizations where it’s a two-way street – not just a vendor/supplier arrangement. We want the people we select as partners to be part of the team.”
SOLUTION #1: INFORMATION CONSOLIDATION FOR ANYWHERE WORKING AND COLLABORATION
For staff, finding and retrieving information were constant sources of frustration. The solution had to be simple to meet their needs. Blair says: “we needed something that accommodated the requirements of the most digitally challenged people in the organization through to some of the most technology savvy ones…”
Todd Energy targeted the consolidation of its maintenance ‘work packs’ as an early solution to improve productivity and provide a seamless experience for staff. By integrating the maintenance system with Office 365, folders for each maintenance project were automatically created and staff dragged and dropped the relevant content (scopes of work, reports, contracts) into the folder. The ‘work packs’ were used by multiple teams and everyone accesses content directly wherever they are.
“When people are looking for content around a particular work pack, they just punch in a number, and it automatically brings up everything relating to the work pack. That’s a key piece for us – integration of our maintenance system,” says Blair.
In addition to the work packs, a new intranet was developed to create a ‘single source of truth’. Punning-ly named “The Sauce”, the intranet made accessible in one place all information Todd employees needed to work across the organization. All the induction resources were located in a single section called “Working Here”.
Richardson says, “having one place for new starters to go to access all the apps available throughout Todd Energy has made their induction into their roles so much easier.”
SOLUTION #2: MORE “ON THE SAME PAGE” WITH MICROSOFT TEAMS
Microsoft Teams has been a game-changer for running projects and other initiatives. As an example, Teams was the primary mechanism for the Todd Energy and Information Leadership project team working together. They used chat, video, and screen sharing, OneNote, shared files and lists, plus Planner – all within the Teams interface with huge reductions in email use.
This success has been mirrored in the wider organization. In the Reliability and Integrity area, Teams is key to how they work together. Steve Smith, Reliability and Integrity Manager, says: “We’ve set up in the region of eight to ten team sites in my area…It’s something people have really adopted. It’s really good for collaboration and putting structure around what we are doing.”
SOLUTION #3: POWER PLATFORM FOR PROJECT DELIVERY AND MORE PROACTIVE MAINTENANCE
The Power Platform is also helping Todd Energy deliver projects quickly and more effectively. Key project information is extracted and combined with Power BI so staff have powerful actionable information.
For example, for its ‘Plant Change Requests’, staff can now visualize whether projects are on schedule and they can identify any bottlenecks that are hampering completion. The leadership team has visibility of progress, resourcing levels, and other key metrics.
Driven by key staff, Power BI has empowered staff and put capability in the hands of the business with people using it.
SOLUTION #4: MODERN WORKPLACE; LESS PAPER & FLEXIBLE WORKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR BETTER WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Todd Energy has a vibrant culture with great opportunities to learn and grow. Office 365 has enabled them to take this further, working more easily across the organization. Hannah Heberley, Communications Advisor, says:
“We can share lots of vital pieces of information meaning we know a lot more about what’s going on. We’re not just associates, we know more about each other, what people are working on, and what people are involved in – I think we’re more on the same page.”
A central video repository of all videos using Stream is easily accessible and supports staff to self-learn. Staying in touch with other staff is easier using Delve that keeps contact lists current and makes it easy to get in touch.
REMOTE AND DIGITAL WORKING has been a key benefit. Richardson says:
“18 months ago, the leadership team were printing out screeds of paper to take to their weekly Monday meeting. Now with the use of their Surface Pros, they are all electronic. I think that’s a combination of the technology, plus what we are building into the software, to really help them.”
And for staff it is helping them manage the needs of work and family. Heberley says:
“My immediate thought was that it’s good that I can now do everything remotely. I’m not alone in the way that I work; I work part-time, around kids… being able to access information on the go that’s what people expect nowadays – and it’s quite cool to be able to deliver it.”
Office 365 has been instrumental in fueling collaboration, increasing productivity, and reducing engineering risk at Todd Energy. For example, staff in the field can work anywhere accessing maintenance work pack content via their mobile devices. Staff report that it is 60% faster to find information with work packs than before and availability in the field is a gamechanger.
Smith sees that work packs reduce wasted time as well as helping staff find information that they did not know existed:
“People just want to go and do their job. If they can’t, they spend too much time trying to find information adding frustration to their day. We’re now re-using and finding information to quickly plan and prepare the maintenance work, and then spend most of our time actually delivering it – which is the actual value in what we do.”
This is particularly important from a compliance point of view; ”having an environment that allows us to provide the evidence quickly and easily allows us to meet compliance efficiently – so from a risk perspective it helps us a lot,” says Smith.
Information and forms that are integral to the safe and efficient operations of Todd’s plants have been made more accessible on the intranet and are now viewed by staff on average 40 times per week.
There is better hazard identification and communication, and reduced reactive plant maintenance from use of Power Automate. Hazard forms are auto-populated and information is presented in a standard layout where all staff are quickly and easily informed. Power Automate enables the team to quickly record any reactive work that comes up. By automating the request and approval process for reactive work, the maintenance team is better able to understand why the problem has arisen and plan accordingly. Steve Smith says: “as a result of the Power Automate deployment we’ve seen that workload significantly reduce. The result is that we are in a much more planned environment – that’s a good outcome.”
There is better reporting on production and maintenance using Office 365 to aggregate data from multiple systems and then using Power BI to present actionable visualizations of the data. Over a six-month period, Todd Energy increased its licenses of Power BI from a handful to more than 130. More than 150 Power BI reports alone are currently being used for production data, project tracking, and tracking of controlled documents.
Collaborating on projects has improved using Microsoft Teams for running plant maintenance projects and other initiatives related to plant reliability. This, coupled with the use of Planner to manage tasks, has made it easier to resolve issues and make progress.
Compliance, auto classification, safe and easy setup of secure case files and consistent use and management of Microsoft Teams has been enabled via use of innovative Azure hosted Information Leadership apps.
Productivity and collaboration have improved. Office 365 enables staff to confidently share and rely on the information. Time is saved and collaboration improved with the co-authoring functionality used in complex documents.
Executive Assistant, Louise Hamerton, who prepares Board and Leadership papers says “having one centralized spot for everyone to collaborate makes updating board papers and documents by multiple people much more efficient. Being able to keep track of who has been in the document to make their amendments streamlines the process.”
Meeting papers are now delivered digitally to the Leadership Team and accessed on Surface Pros. There is a reduction in paper waste, increased security, and better mobility.
The Sauce has become indispensable for finding information with on average, over 200 views per week. Similarly, a business applications page provides a one-stop shop for accessing all line of business applications and is accessed on average 75 times per week. Reference information and forms that are integral to the safe and efficient operations of Todd’s plants have been made more accessible. They are now viewed by staff on average 40 times per week.
Prior to the intranet, communication with staff was hierarchically based. Updates and information came from the top down and staff would have to wait for an email from the General Manager or the Chief Executive. There were face-to-face, all staff meetings about every 6 weeks, but there would be information gaps in between.
Heberley reflects on the change: “Now we have digital notice boards in lunchrooms – we can much more quickly, frequently and visually communicate stuff in real time. So when something happens, thirty minutes later, it can be up on one of those screens…I think we’re more connected as a result and we know a lot more about what’s going on.“
It’s about putting in place the right foundation by selecting the right platform and the right products - this Microsoft technology layer will allow us to get business performance and value."
- James Blair
Head of Information Management and Technology