A smart approach to smart energy

Horizon Power boosts business process automation and efficiencies with IBM Cloud Pak
by Kristin Fern Johnson
5-minute read
Red Dog Line, Karratha to Dampier transmission line

When it comes to electricity, Horizon Power does it all. The company is vertically integrated, meaning it manages generation, transmission, distribution and retail of its energy solutions. As a government trading entity, it supplies power to regional and remote Western Australia. Due to the low population density across the 2.3 million square kilometers of geography, it serves one person per 53.5 square kilometers.

Contending with manual business processes and a lack of timely information exchange between applications can be challenging for such a complex and widespread organization. Fortunately, Horizon Power has enlisted the IBM Cloud Pak® for Integration solution to help it do just that.

Over the last few years, the company, along with the entire utilities sector, has undergone seismic changes with the emergence of renewable resources and smart technologies. Those changes have brought many challenges related to operational costs and efficiencies, employee experience and customer expectations.

“Clearly, there are many manual business processes we need to automate, and we want to make decisions based on data — not only looking at what has happened, but at why it happened or what potentially could happen in the future,” says Suresh Parimi, Manager of Digital and Data Solutions at Horizon Power.

So, in 2018, the company started to review its entire enterprise architecture. As part of that review, there were two areas that had technological gaps: integration and data management.

“Integration drives business process efficiencies as well as multichannel customer experience,” says Parimi. “And data needs to move between applications to present timely information to customers and employees.” To optimize these two key areas, Horizon Power sought a new IT platform that could fulfill its data management and integration needs.

Onslow Power Station and Solar Farm

Provides reduction of up to

50%

in development time and time to market

Generates savings of approximately

40%

in development costs

The application integration component of the IBM Cloud Pak for Integration solution has fantastic capabilities that include pre-existing patterns, which gives us the opportunity to do more configuration and less customization, and to accelerate solution development.
Suresh Parimi
Manager of Digital and Data Solutions, Horizon Power
Standalone Power Systems
We’ve reduced the speed of development and time to market by 40% - 50%.
Suresh Parimi
Manager of Digital and Data Solutions, Horizon Power
Surpassing the test
We’ve reduced the speed of development and time to market by 40% - 50%.
Suresh Parimi
Manager of Digital and Data Solutions, Horizon Power

In exploring integration technology options, the company considered the IBM Cloud Pak for Integration solution, which is optimized for deployment on Red Hat® OpenShift® on any cloud or IT environment. Among its considerations, Horizon Power reviewed aspects such as ease of development and configuration and selected IBM based on its performance in these areas and collaborative approach.

“IBM met with our team for a few days and demonstrated all the use cases we had requested,” says Parimi. “The product performed really well throughout, and the price was also attractive. The application integration component of the IBM Cloud Pak for Integration solution has fantastic capabilities that include pre-existing patterns, which gives us the opportunity to do more configuration and less customization.”

The enterprise messaging component within the IBM Cloud Pak for Integration solution was also highly appealing. “Its error handling in terms of guaranteed delivery of messaging is key. It’s very important to us to ensure information is exchanged reliably,” says Parimi.

The installation and configuration of the IBM integration solution was part of a larger effort by Horizon Power to create an underlying highly available IT environment. The entire project took 3 - 4 months and included setting up storage and other dependencies, underpinned by standards of best practices and patterns. The solution is currently housed on premises.

Faster, smarter, better

Today, Horizon Power has several integrations up and running and has seen excellent results. “We’ve reduced the speed of development and time to market by 40% - 50%,” says Parimi. “For example, we’ve built an accounts payable automation that involves complex integrations with our finance and procurement applications. Before, such projects would have taken between 9 months and a year to implement, especially with the longer lead times for implementing integrations. With our new platform, we deployed the solution into production within four months — and integration was a major part of it.”

There are clear financial benefits, as well. “I’d say we’re experiencing at least 40% cost savings in terms of development,” says Parimi. “And the reuse capability is one of the most important factors. Once you build these integrations, you can start reusing the information to fulfill other requirements, as well. The APIs we exposed in the process give us a complete view of that information for other requirements in the future.

“The platform is very stable,” he continues. “And in the next 4 - 5 months, we plan to implement another 30 - 40 medium-to-complex integrations. We’ve completed development, and they’re now in the test phase.”

One challenge those integrations are addressing is the publishing of meter data from smart and manual meters. “We use data from those meters for aspects such as analytics, billing and identifying outages. We need to publish that data to multiple applications; the out-of-box pub-sub pattern of the product is really powerful to address such use cases,” says Parimi.

Horizon Power is considering a major digital transformation program where the IBM Cloud Pak for Integration solution could play a key role. The company is also considering taking advantage of the API management gateway included in the IBM Cloud Pak for Integration solution, as well as building on smart pattern recognition in the application integration area to incorporate more AI capabilities in the future.

Horizon Power logo
About Horizon Power

Horizon PowerExternal Link is a government trading enterprise that generates, distributes and retails electricity to more than 47,000 connections. The company supplies electricity to more than 100,000 residents and approximately 10,000 businesses in regional towns and remote communities across Western Australia.

Solution component
Horizon Power logo
About Horizon Power

Horizon PowerExternal Link is a government trading enterprise that generates, distributes and retails electricity to more than 47,000 connections. The company supplies electricity to more than 100,000 residents and approximately 10,000 businesses in regional towns and remote communities across Western Australia.

Solution component