With a goal to be net carbon-zero by 2050, New Zealand is on an ambitious path to reduce its emissions and combat the threat of climate change.

Reaching that target will require the actions of many, and Manawa Energy is among those standing up to play their part.

New Zealand’s largest independent electricity generator and renewables developer, Manawa Energy accounts for around 5% of New Zealand’s power generation capacity. It operates 26 hydropower schemes and stations, from the Bay of Plenty to Otago, and has developed wind farms in New Zealand and Australia.

However, its sights are firmly set on playing an even greater role in New Zealand’s renewable energy market by developing new generation assets, particularly harnessing wind and solar.

Manawa Energy website screenshot

Formerly known as Trustpower, Manawa Energy was formed in May 2022 following the sale of Trustpower’s mass-market energy retail business to Mercury Energy – a move that enables it to now focus solely on growing and developing renewable energy assets.

For example, Manawa Energy recently announced its first solar energy project – a 24MW solar farm being developed in partnership with Hawke’s Bay Airport on land adjacent to its runway.

Careful use of resources

The ethos that underpins such projects – of carefully managing resources to create a more sustainable future – runs through the wider company, including its software asset management.

For around five years Manawa Energy (Trustpower Ltd) has engaged Datacom to provide a software asset management (SAM) service to effectively and efficiently manage its software resources.

It’s part of the company’s wider relationship with Datacom, which spans a decade and services including hardware and software procurement, support building websites and applications, and access to human resource and strategic advice.

That trusted, longstanding relationship and the Datacom team's expert guidance in identifying the right technology tools was critical in enabling Trustpower when it was selling its mass-market retail business.

"The Snow Software technology intelligence platform provided real-time visibility across the entire IT ecosystem, delivering actionable insights to Trustpower to understand what software assets needed to be novated over to Mercury Energy which supported the sale of the retail side of the business," says Datacom's SAM Practice Manager, Rachel Morgan-Parata. "These insights provided their IT team with the data needed to drive operational efficiency, and accurately govern and forecast with confidence."

SAM in particular focuses on the proper management of an organisation’s software throughout its lifecycle so it delivers maximum value. A SAM service helps ensure software assets are correctly purchased, deployed, maintained, used and ultimately retired.

Manawa Energy’s Head of Technology and Delivery, Ryan Elliott, says SAM has specifically helped the company with licensing compliance and financial forecasting.

Prior to using SAM, the company had, on occasion, been faced with unexpected bills following audits by software vendors.

“Software asset management gives us a clear picture of how many licenses are being used and how they’re installed in the environment, so if we find ourselves in the position of being audited we’re comfortable with how many licenses we’ve paid for,” Elliott explains.

“That’s also really beneficial when it comes to forecasting. It means we avoid a situation where we’ve said ‘this is our budget for licenses’ and had that signed off, only to be hit with a big bill at the end of the year and a ‘please explain’ from the CFO.”

Significantly, the company has not been audited by Microsoft since it implemented SAM, he notes, and the service has also streamlined licensing renewal, which is now largely automated.

Added benefits

SAM, however, delivered further benefits when it came time to split the business and sell its retail arm.

“It was particularly prominent when we went through the sale. Datacom generated reports that were then sent to us identifying each software user by name and the company they were going to, allowing us to provision the licenses accordingly.”

“And when it came to novating licenses, we were largely able to ask Datacom to provide the vendors directly with the information they needed.”

Not having to pull those reports internally freed up the equivalent to between 0.5 and 0.75 of an FTE, says Elliott.

“That time saving was significant for us, but the reporting was also incredibly accurate. There’s no opportunity for human error; there’s complete visibility over who is using what, which means there were no surprises.”

Manawa Energy continues to engage Datacom for SAM support, which Elliott says helps the company on its wider mission to develop energy assets to help create a low-emissions, climate-resilient future.

“It gives us confidence that we’re not overspending on technology, and that we’re investing our money in the right places,” he says, “which absolutely plays a part in that bigger picture.”

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