In February 2014, our client, a premier regional utilities company, awarded The
Squires Group Inc. (TSGi) a Master Services Agreement (MSA) to provide
technical, functional, and operational enterprise wide support.
Since the inception of our MSA, our client has issued TSGi over thirty-six SOW’s
to support a variety of mission critical projects that include:
- A multi-year SAP IS-U implementation
- Full Life-Cycle design, development, and implementation of an AOC system
built to detect abnormal operating conditions for utility equipment
- Program Management Office support
The Implementation and Support of an SAP IS-U Business Solution
As our client began to launch the largest IT implementation in the company’s
history, there was a realization that they could not fully staff the project team
from their existing resources while maintaining business operations.
In addition, our client’s senior leadership wanted the ability to independently
test and validate that the code that was provided by the integration firm selected for the
SAP project performed to specifications.
To ease the burden of this complex implementation on our client’s internal
staff, TSGi assembled a team of twenty-two SAP utility industry experts. While
our consultants assisted our client teams in a variety of ways, they were primarily
relied upon for their deep SAP technical and functional knowledge
and utility industry expertise. Their focus was to conduct systems integration
testing and support activities around user acceptance testing. Our consultants
performed these tasks for the implementation of the SAP modules:
- Provided functional/technical application and implementation support
- Compiled and reviewed functional and technical design specifications
- Identified and reported development issues
- Collaborated with cross-functional teams on integration issues and
developed solutions to these issues
- Continually enhanced or improved business systems processes that drove
efficiency through best practices
- Wrote, reviewed and executed test scenarios, cases and scripts
- Executed quality assurance from test definition through assessment sign off
- Provided knowledge transfer support for configuration
TSGi led all aspects of the testing efforts with the support of our client’s
functional team. The Squires Group team took point on the development of the
general approaches, managing the test design and the execution of testing in
accordance with the applicable Statements of Work.
The strategy incorporated test planning, test case design, test execution, test
result collection, and test result evaluation. Testing included: All FRICE-W
components with the exception of Conversion Objects, Payment Processing, and
Field Testing. Types of Testing included: Functional, Unit, Integration,
Performance, Disaster Recovery, Role (Security), Environment Smoke, Bill
Parallel, and Penetration Testing.
HP Application Life-Cycle Management (ALM) was the functional test
management tool and the repository of all functional testing documentation.
Functional testing included Unit and Integration testing. All business
requirements, FRICE-W inventory, and associated traceability were migrated from
Solution Manager to HP ALM during the build stage. HP Performance Center
(HP-PC) was used as the performance test management tool and acts as the
repository of the performance testing documentation. All performance
requirements, performance test scenarios, and test cases are tracked using HP-PC.
For the SAP implementation, we provided twenty-two SAP consultants with
expertise in the Utilities industry. With our team in place, our client was able to
support the entire project and keep the effort on schedule. Several members of
our SAP team were asked to stay on to support the operations and maintenance
team to conduct break-fixes, functionality updates and enhancements, and
expand the interfaces to other systems used within the company.
- “The Squires Group SAP Test Team was instrumental in making sure our SAP
solution was on track, met our user/customer needs and integrated us
across the entire organization work operations.” – Mark S., SAP Program
- “Kavitha’s (TSGi consultant on the SAP data conversion team) contribution
as a Data Conversion Lead on the project can be described in one word –
INVALUABLE.” – Lorraine U., SAP Functional Integration Lead.
The Development and Implementation of the AOC system
Our client released a Request for Proposal to Industry to develop a system to
survey gas meters, and all related equipment. These surveys are called Meter
Build-up (MBU) surveys, which identify and correct any observed Abnormal
Operating Conditions (AOCs).
Rather than constructing a stovepipe system, our client required a system that
would use the existing Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) WebSphere
implementation, as the core component of the new system. The Squires Group
Inc. (TSGi) competed for, and was awarded a fixed-price contract to perform the
To efficiently manage the MBU survey process, TSGi constructed a system using
existing components of the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. The core
component of the AOC system is EAI. It is the engine through which the entire
system operates. Existing Adaptors and Messages were used to the maximum
extent possible. New ones were created based on new interface requirements.
To meet the required capabilities, EAI communicates with nine existing legacy
systems. They are: the Work Manager and Asset Manager modules of Asset and
Resource Management (ARM) system, Mobile Mapping, Field Device Manager,
Customer Information System, AppXtender, Computer-Aided Dispatch, Customer
Order System, and a regional file server. The work the TSGi team performed was
performed under an Agile System Development Life-Cycle (SDLC) methodology.
For the AOC project, using the Enterprise Application Interface (EAI) foundation,
our team extended the capabilities of EAI and ARM to implement a system with
the full functionality required by our client and one that complies with the State
Corporation Commission requirements.
Providing Project Management support to the Program Management Office
The Program Management Office (PMO), a component of the Business
Transformation Office (BTO), is responsible for the management of projects to
bring new or modified capabilities to the Business Units. The number of ongoing
projects, at times, exceeds the number that can be supported by our
client’s Project Managers. Delivering a talented team of Project Managers on a
just-in-time basis with the right mix of skills and domain knowledge would be a
By utilizing our In The Perfect Space Methodology (ITPS) and combining it with
our Active Pipeline process, our team has provided over 18 Project Managers to
our client teams.
Our work includes all aspects of Project Management specified in the Project
Management Body of Knowledge from inception to closure. TSGi’s Project
Managers have successfully managed the assigned projects.
We have also successfully provided Project Management support to a number of
major projects. Our team’s Project Management contribution has played a key
role in kicking off and completing key enterprise level projects that were critical
either from a strategic outlook or from the compliance standpoint. Some of the
projects where we provided project management oversight include Business
Development, Application Software Implementation and Upgrade, Network
Security, Middleware EAI using Websphere, IT Systems Replacement, IT System
Testing, Multiple Systems Application Enhancements, Transition Initiative to
take the new IT Systems from Implementation to Operation Support, and overall
Network Security and Risk Mitigation.
- “James (TSGi Project Management Consultant) is doing an exceptional job
on the Workday effort for our HR team. He has settled right into the middle
of everything with HR. We have got exceptional response for HR through his
efforts. He has taken the bull by the horns and is racing forward with it. I do
not need to ask for updates as I can see the real progress. We have a long
way to go but James is driving us there.” – Mark S., HCM Workday Project
- “Sujit’s (TSGi Project Management Consultant) effort and work to keep this
key customer solution on scope, meet business and regulatory requirements
while providing a solution that is user friendly was beyond expectations.” –
Jennifer G., Benchmarking Portal Project Manager.
- “Thank you Jeff (TSGi Project Management Consultant) for your hard work
and diligence to help us make this positive change for the Utility Ops
organization. It was a daunting task at times, and you, and the rest of the
team stepped up to the plate, so thanks!” – Katie H, Director.