Hydro Tasmania has shifted its legacy SAP ERP environment to S/4 HANA, with final testing and cutover delivered remotely as a result of travel restrictions.

Working with New Zealand-based SAP specialist Zag, the state government-owned energy company wrapped up the 10-month modernisation project in June.

The project involved converting Hydro Tasmania’s ECC environment, covering more than 1000 seats and a large asset base, to S/4 HANA with Fiori 3.

It is one of the “first businesses in Australia to deploy … SAP’s latest iteration of its user interface”, according to Zag CEO Nick Mulcahy.

Zag said the complex project was already running to tight deadlines and faced tight governance controls prior to the pandemic, as the project was a key enabler for the agency.

But with the arrival of COVID-19 travel restrictions in March, all project activities were forced to be delivered 100 percent remotely, including dress rehearsals and the final production go-live.

Hydro Tasmania general manager of corporate IT  Anna Bird said that despite the travel restrictions, the “remote working went seamlessly” and was well managed from the get-go.

“The early on-site collaborations and relationships we built with Zag helped us engage well later in the project remotely,” she said.

Bird put this down to the “willingness of Zag to collaborate with us on the ground and work as one team”.

Mulcahy said the fact that the project was completed on time and on budget, despite travel restrictions, was a “testament to the teams’ ability to adapt to changing conditions and the close working relationship they developed”.

He said this allowed the pair to identify and manage the risks to emerge from COVID-19 “weeks before the pandemic materialised in Australia” and “quickly adapt to remote working and virtual collaboration” when the time came.

“This was a 10-month project and prior to the pandemic the team had already worked closely with Hydro Tasmania to scope and define the full functionality of the system and delve deeply into what the system needed to do to deliver on their needs,” he said.

“This meant that when we had to unexpectedly switch to remote collaboration, both teams were fully up to speed and were able to maintain good communication despite the challenges COVID-19 brought to the project.” 

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