The Copperleaf® Decision Analytics solution is now live at National Gas Transmission (NGT), formerly National Grid Gas Transmission, which owns and operates the high-pressure gas transmission network, comprising of over 7,660 km of pipe and 618 above-ground installations in Great Britain.
We sat down with NGT team members Neil Tansley, Asset Modelling Manager, and Jowita Uler, Portfolio Planning Manager, to get their thoughts on the implementation and how it will help National Gas on its asset management journey.
Can you share a little bit about your roles at NGT?
Neil: “I work for the Engineering and Asset Management team. We are largely responsible for the technical operation of the transmission system, and carry out a lot of the planning, design work, and long-term asset management processes. As the Asset Modelling Manager, I create, update and maintain our asset investment models, which are used to support investment planning.”
Jowita: “I’m the Portfolio Planning Manager within the Gas Transmission business unit. My team is responsible for creating an optimal, medium to long-term investment program to ensure that NGT meets our regulatory, statutory, financial and customer requirements. We are also accountable for management of our robust cost book to enable informed investment decisions and ensure efficient delivery of work.”
What were your main goals for this project?
Neil: “Our main goal was to complete a successful business plan submission. As a regulated business, we need to produce an investment plan every five years to submit to Ofgem. NGT must be able to tell the regulator what benefits (such as safety, environmental, availability and reliability, and financial) can be expected from our investments. The more transparent, data-based and quantifiable justifications we submit, the better the chances we have at a positive response from the regulator.”
Jowita: “We needed a system that would integrate all our disjointed data. Before we had Copperleaf, we used several different spreadsheets. Our Investment Management, Portfolio Planning, and Investment Governance processes were not integrated—so for example, a version of an investment would be kept in Investment Governance, and another in Portfolio Planning, and quite often they were misaligned.
Now that we have the Copperleaf solution, we have synergies between our data and our departments. The work is driven by the software and this has brought about a fundamental change in the way we operate. We can now improve our planning and optimisation by running alternative scenarios and seeing the impact that different decisions have on our portfolio of work.
Now that we have the Copperleaf solution, we have synergies between our data and our departments. The work is driven by the software and this has brought about a fundamental change in the way we operate.
Portfolio Planning Manager
What were the key things you felt made the project successful?
Neil: “Our team had a clear idea of what we wanted to achieve and the Copperleaf team was very responsive to that. They took time to understand our specific requirements and had an implementation team on site, working alongside us in our offices. It wasn’t just about delivering a product; it was about helping us achieve our vision.”
Jowita: “The simplicity of the system, and how it brings all the information together, has provided us with a coordinated, transparent, single version of the truth—along with a great user experience. We now have the ability to make data-driven decisions, and that’s really what has made this project a success.”
What are the key benefits you think you’ll get out of implementing the Copperleaf solution?
Neil: “The greatest benefit of implementing Copperleaf will be how we approach our next business planning cycle. Instead of trying to build the plan from the bottom up, we’ll be able to have our subject matter experts build the plan directly in the system, and then we will assess the benefits using the value framework and optimise our investments. This gives us a much more structured way of capturing the input directly in the Copperleaf solution rather than doing it offline and then trying to bring it all together, which has been incredibly difficult and time-consuming in the past.”
Jowita: “The key benefits of implementing Copperleaf are having transparency of all our work and a solution that provides us with a single system to hold all our investment data. We have already managed to save a lot of time and improve data quality by no longer double-handling our data. The ability to see the history of all records and how much risk an investment will carry are other major benefits that we will gain from Copperleaf.”
Copperleaf gives us the ability to run a lot of different simulations in order to identify the best combination of asset investments that deliver the most value to customers in terms of cost and risk.
Asset Modelling Manager
Have there been any other added benefits?
Neil: “Another benefit is that Copperleaf is an end-to-end solution. We can start off with a crude idea of the projects we need to undertake to achieve our strategy and then track that investment all the way through to delivery and benefits realisation.
Copperleaf also gives us the ability to run a lot of different simulations in order to identify the best combination of asset investments that deliver the most value to customers in terms of cost and risk.”
Jowita: “The implementation of Copperleaf, with all of its modules, allows us to report on all the outputs required by individual teams. There are a lot of robust capabilities that are designed with the user experience in mind that help us get the job done quicker than ever before.”
What’s next on your asset management journey?
Neil: “Managing our cost data through Copperleaf’s Cost Estimation is one element we’re planning to tackle next. We are also currently reworking our strategic asset management plan, and are trying to be more specific on how our assets should perform in order to achieve the agreed-upon outputs.”
Jowita: “We are looking forward to fully utilising the optimisation capabilities within the system, including integrating our cost data, which will give us a clear picture of the entire asset lifecycle and enable us to build the best investment plan for our business and our customers.”
Learn more about our work with National Gas.