Powering People through App Modernization

Trustpower is New Zealand’s fifth largest power company and fourth largest provider of fixed line broadband. Trustpower’s history can be traced back over 100 years to Tauranga’s first power station. The current company evolved from the Tauranga Electric Power Board and today operates a multi-product retail business throughout New Zealand.

Trustpower operate in a fiercely competitive, consumerized sector. Today, customers not only want fair pricing – but also a sophisticated service offering that makes it easy and convenient to get their power, gas and internet services, their way. For Trustpower, the ability to differentiate their service offering and stay ahead of the competition is reliant on a modern, powerful IT infrastructure.

A digital transformation strategy

Trustpower adopted an all-cloud strategy five years ago to rearchitect the organization’s IT engine, reduce risk and tech debt and achieve optimal integration on a future-proofed, best-practice cloud platform. Integral to this digital transformation strategy were their Enterprise Applications. These were up for review, assessment and modernization leveraging Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

Stephen Bunce (Technology Delivery Manager) leads Trustpower’s digital transformation strategy. “We had gone through an internal process of reviewing 100+ legacy applications, decommissioning, rearchitecting and removing technical debt. We approached the Provoke team for guidance around several on-premise, legacy applications where we needed deeper expertize and additional resource to achieve optimal results.” says Bunce.

An Agile Cross-Team Approach

To start with, using agile methodology Provoke were engaged for three sprints, across six weeks to redevelop a legacy application on modern technology. “We were interested in Provoke’s implementation of DevOps practices to manage the solution. Particularly to set the CI/CD pipeline and use of Microsoft Tools. I wanted the Provoke team to complement and strengthen our own internal capabilities in areas we needed it most (and areas we had burst capacity). Knowledge transfer was an important goal. As important as the increased supportability, intelligence and security we needed to achieve.” said Bunce.

A cross-functional team was established and the first six week project was highly successful – both in terms of the outcomes and approach taken. The partnership was then continued for 34 weeks all up. Six applications were migrated to Microsoft Azure and modernized in an agile, iterative way incorporating user testing and peer reviews.

“Our process is designed to develop our client’s internal people capabilities at the same time as achieving their app modernization outcomes. We work with our client partners to spin up an agile team very quickly. It’s a different way of engaging. Client’s continue to see a really positive experience from working with us in this way.” says Provoke’s Amanda Burrow of the approach.

For Trustpower, Provoke ran distributed scrum teams over three locations throughout New Zealand. Trustpower (Tauranga), Auckland and Wellington. Provoke worked closely with Trustpower technical, business users and product owners to leverage subject matter expertize within the business. For some of the engagement a Trustpower developer joined the Provoke team (to ensure applications were able to be supported by Trustpower after the engagement ended).

Microsoft’s Azure DevOps was integral – as it allowed Trustpower to see real time changes. “We were able to maximize efficiency using each team to their strengths. For example, our guy would be prioritizing stories for the next sprint, while Provoke were responding to user feedback and forming the final solutions. As well as having full visibility of deployment pipelines.” comments Bunce.

Thought-provoking results

Where previously on-premise, legacy applications exposed them to a range of unnecessary risks, Trustpower are now well positioned to leverage their tech investment in the cloud.

Refreshed applications are now:

Easier for IT staff to maintain

  • More robust, modern functionality means less maintenance is now required
  • Trustpower’s overall maintenance costs are expected to decrease
  • Staff are happier

Future proofed for agility

  • Automated updates and maintenance removes the risk, work and costs associated with outdated technologies

Well supported with detailed documentation

  • More information is now available to make good decisions
  • Surety of source code gives peace of mind

More intuitive and easier to use

  • Revitalization has led to a higher degree of productivity and efficiency

“We were really delighted with both the approach and the outcomes of our app modernization projects with Provoke. The transparent, agile way in which Provoke engaged with us built our trust and confidence from early on.” says Bunce.

Technology Stack

  • Azure App Services
  • Azure SQL
  • Azure DevOps

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