The Challenge

Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. (PNG), which is a division of Trisummit Utilities along with Alta Gas (AUI) and Heritage Gas (HGL), embarked on a journey in 2020 to stratify their Customer Information Systems leveraging SAP’s S4/HANA Platform and Maximo Asset Management. Propel was engaged by PNG to facilitate Project Management Support and Change Management Services. The system migration entailed transferring the entirety of PNG’s customer data and adopting new operating procedures when processing customer accounts within the new environment.  Additionally, the new system would allow customers to perform transactions directly online.

PNG owns and operates natural gas transmission and distribution systems across west-central and northeast British Columbia. PNG was incorporated in 1965 and provides gas to nearly 42,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in more than 16 communities through 3000km of distribution mains and service pipelines and 1200km of transmission pipelines.

The Objective:

The engagement began in August of 2020 and concluded with a successful deployment of SAP in the first week of August 2021. Due to the limitations of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the project was conducted entirely virtually using Propel’s remote-working technologies framework. The Project Team members spanned the globe from India to Halifax all working remotely to successfully deliver the new system. Daily meetings through Microsoft Teams and regular online communication allowed for the project to continue progressing forward while treating the health and safety of all team members as a top priority.

The following activities were conducted:

  • Developed Functional Work Instructions: Propel aided in the creation and testing of 143 work instructions outlining the process steps needed for Customer Service Representatives to manage customer accounts. The instructions covered a range of topics including general customer inquiries, device management, billing, and FICA. Additionally, each step in the work instructions was tested to provide accuracy leveraging SAP S4/HANA.
  • Provided Change Management Support: Propel assisted in making the software transition as seamless as possible. Prior to the go-live date, practice scenarios were developed to support CSR training. Additionally, internal communications, including email templates, project update presentations, company newsletters, and memos were created to keep all PNG staff informed of the current changes taking place. Both daily as well as weekly huddles were introduced to maintain transparency throughout the project journey.
  • Supported Project Management Activities: Propel acted as a central point of contact for all data-related activities (CIS, Maximo, AMR) identifying best practices for testing, case development, extraction, tracking, etc. Additionally, functional responsibilities were taken on, such as recording meeting attendance, sourcing additional information to ease project workload, and escalating issues to the appropriate personnel.
  • Completed Legacy Data Migration: Propel completed a full data backup of the legacy system to ensure that no data was lost in the event of a malfunction in the software migration. All the data was fully secured, establishing a full proof contingency plan.

The Results

The Trisummit Utilities Group successfully migrated to the SAP S4/HANA CIS and Maximo Asset Management system over the course of one weekend, with the whole project team working remotely across the globe to ensure project success. Propel provided PNG with the resources, training, and management tools that they needed to successfully implement the new customer information system.

The new technology has allowed PNG to automate many routine processes as well as offer new online services to their customers.  All users were trained and supported to leverage the new tools ensuring that there were no customer outages during the system transition.  Customers of the Trisummit Utilities can now leverage the Customer Advantage Platform to interact with utilities to perform online billing and account management.  PNG’s technology stack was modernized to leverage SAP S4/HANA’s cloud solution.  The Legacy CIS was successfully retired with no data loss.  The new CIS will serve as foundation to support growth and maintain consistent structure within the organization.