Transgrid builds business credibility

Energy infrastructure provider Transgrid has reduced IT support costs by 20 percent over the last three years through the adoption of 'best practice' benchmarks such as ITIL and COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and related Technology).

The business process improvements are part of an IT transformation project that began in 2005 and is scheduled for completion in 2007.

Delivering the keynote address at the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) in Sydney yesterday, Transgrid CIO Tony Meehan said the project's value is in combining best practice frameworks and sound IT planning.

Meehan said before implementing the frameworks to provide a higher level of IT service management, the IT department was unable to get any traction with business.

"You might think the strategy of delivering business performance improvement and reducing ongoing IT costs was pulling us in two different directions; we couldn't have done this when we began our ITIL journey a few years ago," he said.

"A lot of the time we [IT] would start to get traction with the business about value-adding and making a contribution, then the mail would fall over or we would have some sort of problem so we would never really get to a point where we could deliver the sorts of things IT can do for a business. Our service management was not doing the job.

"Whether our IT costs in absolute terms go up or down will depend on the scope of services we provide as a result of this strategy. The IT scope has doubled through new business process improvements, but in the last three years our costs have been going down."

Meehan said Transgrid has four objectives - to improve overall performance through the better management of IT, better management of corporate data, systems rationalization and standardizing both tools and systems.

He said it began by replacing or rebuilding previously unconnected legacy systems with a focus on integrated business process. Transgrid's systems were siloed to each business unit.

When preparing the business case to replace systems, Meehan outlines the resulting improvements in efficiency as well as the cost savings from reworking processes.

"The support we are able to get from the business for implementing this project has a lot to do with the credibility we have gained through being able to improve the effectiveness of our service management," Meehan said.

"The system improvements in the last few years have seen a significant increase in the scope of the work we do for Transgrid; the ongoing support costs have reduced for each of the last three years."

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