Automation and Transformation
AGL Energy Ltd is public company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. AGL are involved in both the generation and retailing of electricity and gas for residential and commercial use. They have a legacy of over 180 years providing electricity to the Australia market.
What was required
Developers were under constant pressure to release new applications and features for AGL customers to consume quickly and be competitive in the industry. However they were constantly hindered in their ability to deliver in a timely manner due to workloads that buried them in process. It made it difficult to get sufficient access to the systems and tools they needed to successfully meet deadlines.
What we did
AGL engaged Accuteque to establish a contemporary way of working and operating model for the Information Technology department. Accuteque’s main role was to provide leadership to the team, providing an environment where they could innovate and challenge existing ways of working. We developed and evolved the strategy and managed and led the team of IT engineers, developers and architects. We orchestrated and managed a massive change to the organisation, ensuring timely and appropriate communications at all stages of the change.
AGL was on a fast journey to be an agile technical services organisation, embedding DevOps across the IT department to enable faster, more efficient delivery of change, with a release anytime capability. A program of work called Automation at AGL (AAA) was established. The goal was to solve the problems with the existing ‘brown-fields’ Cloud environment and the current hybrid delivery model.
A number of key issues were identified and addressed as part of the program:
- Lack of standard infrastructure deployment
- Security Configuration – arduous & time consuming
- Access Management not aligned with AGL security requirements
- Lack of logging & monitoring standards in deployments
- Lack of Cloud cost transparency
A new approach to AAA was presented to the EGM of Information Technology and IT General Managers. A new strategy was proposed with the introduction of a Green-Fields Cloud environment which would use standard patterns and automation. This would enable the CI/CD pipeline of works and migration of both on-premise and brown-fields workloads into an ecosystem that was sustainable and efficient. This was a high risk as AGL had spent considerable investment on the exciting Cloud environment. And, as the hypothesis of ‘what is possible’ was unknown to the leadership team, it was a courageous decision to pivot and start again.
Throughout this program the AAA team challenged key vendors such as Microsoft to think outside of the square and improve their solutions to be able to deliver the solution being proposed.
Within the first 12 months of this program we were able to achieve the following outcomes:
- Established a Cloud platform that enforced the guardrails needed to comply to Microsoft and IT best practices through an Automation CoE
- Established a future ways of working that enabled self-service through IaC automation
- Significant IT Operational Risk reduction through operational and security uplift (guardrails, transparency & metrics)
- Instilling the DevOps mindset and operating rhythm
- Driving autonomy and accountability into the platform teams
- Removing roadblocks for the transition to L2/L3 support to in-house platform teams as part of the DevOps model
- Creating a foundation for AGL to scale their cloud migration across their entire workload to the new Cloud environment
Significant cost savings in excess of $10M were identified as the result of migration of workloads to the new AAA platform.
AGL continues to migrate applications to the cloud and has shared their goal of moving “almost all computing” to Azure by 2022. See the IT News article here.