The Department of Conservation innovate their mobile strategy with Neptune Software Gold Partner Zag, improving the quality of data for Maintenance Planning and funding applications.
The Department of Conservation (DOC), Te Papa Atawhai, is the central Government agency charged with conserving New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage on behalf of all New Zealanders. They manage 8.7 million hectares of conservation estate, which is equivalent to 30 percent of New Zealand’s landmass, and employ 2000 permanent staff to monitor and preserve natural habitats and infrastructure throughout the estate.
DOC’s vision is to make New Zealand the greatest living space on earth (Kāore he wāhi i tua atu i a Aotearoa, hei wahi noho i te ao), with the goal to secure for New Zealanders the wide range of benefits that arise from healthy and functioning ecosystems, accessible outdoor recreation and a diverse natural and cultural heritage. They’re working towards a future where New Zealand’s history is protected and brought to life, where more people participate in recreation and value the benefits of conservation.
DOC require a huge amount of accurate data to understand visitor demand and inform maintenance decisions. Infrastructure upkeep is influenced by the overall usage of each track or structure, so permanent and temporary counting devices are deployed nationwide to gather and store data 24/7, 365 days a year. These statistics are crucial in determining and prioritising the required level of investment for infrastructure in use around New Zealand.
DOC’s existing solution for counters relied on heavy customisation of a maintenance application and old technology. It also didn’t allow for adhoc downloads to occur outside of planned maintenance. They needed a solution that could reliably deliver and work on the latest technology to make data capture more efficient and less of a hassle. DOC Rangers gathering usage data from counting devices do so from very remote environments, therefore they need a solution with offline capability.
Having supported the department with SAP software functionalities since 2003, Zag (formerly Soltius) was the clear choice to build and innovate DOC’s mobile strategy. After consideration of DOC’s continuously changing and unique needs, including Android OS and offline capability, Zag proposed a solution delivered from their SAP ERP system direct to mobile using Neptune Software.
The solution connection works over a cellular signal, or Wi-Fi when available, going through to a smartphone application which uses Bluetooth to connect to the infield counter device. Each record is transferred and confirmed before being removed from the counting device. This is done offline, meaning DOC users can then sync back to the SAP system when they are in range to reconnect.
Neptune maximizes existing SAP investments by directly leveraging SAP’s own source code and combining it with the FIORI look and feel. Moreover, Neptune’s tight integration with SAP ERP, and ability to use standard SAP authentication, enables fast, secure and cost-effective implementations, which in turn minimises total cost of ownership for DOC.
“To put it simply, Neptune for us was better, stronger and faster”, explains Mike Hopkins, Enterprise Resource Planning Team Lead for DOC. Accurate and easy data collection from the 650-670 DOC Counters in use means Ranger visits are more efficient and the whole counting process can be done with lower cost and effort. With the time DOC Rangers save, they can complete more Counter visits, and data collection becomes more frequent which pleases the Planning, Monitoring and Reporting Team. Hence, benefits have been reaped on both the business and user ends.
“The user experience of downloading data, from what we now call ‘DOC Counters’, is significantly better with the addition of Neptune Software; it makes my work less stressful knowing I can trust the solution connection and sync back to SAP.” – Shay van der Hurk, Ranger Recreation/Historic for DOC
Good data has been invaluable to DOC. Reliable evidence gives greater weight to their ongoing funding conversations. Additionally, well-informed service and infrastructure maintenance has improved the general safety of pertinent structures and recreation facilities around New Zealand.
Zag has also rolled out BlueWorx at DOC, a comprehensive Mobile Asset Management application, developed by Zag, that will remove reliance on their customised SAP Mobile Asset Management solution, Work Manager.
Now, enjoying the benefits of better data capture and accuracy, DOC is looking at how they can continue to build on this foundation. In response, Zag developed a Visitor Risk Management capability for DOC, once again leveraging Neptune Software to deliver a SAP Fiori application. This solution will enhance the safety of visitors to DOC parks by triggering notifications within SAP to schedule the work required to resolve or mitigate risk presented by an identified hazard.
Additionally, in 2016 DOC made the decision to move all their IT infrastructure to the cloud. They decided to go with Amazon Web Services (AWS), entrusting Zag’s Cloud Services team with the work. This project aims to further extend DOC’s mobile capability and ability to connect with visitors through conservation assets.
“With Zag it doesn’t feel like a vendor-customer relationship, it feels like a partnership.” - Mike Hopkins, Enterprise Resource Planning Team Lead for DOC
These initiatives and projects are part of the department’s digital strategy, serving their broader organizational objectives of preservation, engagement and stronger business partnerships. Ultimately, in conjunction with Zag, the ongoing program of work will help transform New Zealand into the greatest living space on earth.
With expert knowledge of SAP and Neptune processes and technology, Zag can mobilise your SAP processes with the minimum technology investment. Zag are proud to be the exclusive New Zealand Partner for Neptune Software, and one of only six Neptune Software Gold Partners worldwide. Having first partnered with Neptune in 2014, and with customers spanning numerous industries, Zag continues to turn user needs into innovative solutions for clients. While every success story is unique, the key elements don’t change; we consistently deliver business value and provide end users with a mobile experience that reflects how and where they want to work.
ABOUT NEPTUNE SOFTWARE
Neptune Software provides the most cost-efficient way to make any SAP functionality available in user-friendly interfaces on phone, tablet and desktop. This fast and intuitive solution for mobilising SAP is fully available offline and includes built-in security enhancements. As a certified SAP partner and the only ABAP® solution for SAP Fiori® UX, Neptune Software helps enterprises build a solid foundation for business by maximizing the use of existing SAP set-ups, increasing ROI while minimizing the need for integration and thus delivering a low total cost of ownership.