Case Study: Essential Energy

A conversation with Wendy Hofman

Wendy Hofman
Essential Energy
Senior Vendor Analyst
Wendy Hofman shared with us her experience working with US Cloud from Australia. Working as a Senior Vendor Analyst with Essential Energy, Wendy owns contract negotiation and renewal for the IT Department for a large state-owned electrical utility on the east coast of Australia.
US Cloud

Hi Wendy, thanks for joining us today. Tell me a bit about your role at Essential Energy?

Wendy Hofman

So my role is to look after all of our contracts and help our IT department to ensure the contracts are in place and they’re renewed on time. And if there are any changes to the contract, then we handle change requests which can be quite a difficult process as you can imagine.

US Cloud

Got it. So, speaking of contracts, tell me about the support agreement you had in place with Microsoft.

Wendy Hofman

We transitioned from a Premier Support agreement to a Unified Support agreement probably over three years ago, when we were advised by Microsoft that Premier was going to be decommissioned. And the price of the contract escalated each year because our increased use in Azure meant an increased spend. So, we ended up having a year one increase which was significant.

Which ultimately that led us to look at other options. So, we asked, what were the other options to move away from Microsoft? What would those costs look like? How would that impact the team?

US Cloud

Got it, so you were doing your due diligence. What sold you, at the end of the day?

Wendy Hofman

Yeah, I think that was one of the main decision points for us was that, you know, we were paying a lot for a service that we weren’t using.

US Cloud

Ok, tell me more about that.

Wendy Hofman

So I think that was one of the key things for us was well, we’re buying this large service but we are not either mature enough or everybody’s too busy to stop and smell the roses. So, you know, it’s ‘we’ve got a problem’ ‘we need it fixed’. We’ve got a problem and Microsoft is changing their business model so that they actually are not doing that. They want to be more ‘proactive’. They want to come in and tell you what you need to do rather than logging a call saying I’ve got a problem, but… there are always going to be problems.

That’s what the teams wanted… ‘I’ve got a problem. Can you get someone to help me fix it?’

US Cloud

So for you, you needed Break-Fix support, but having more control of your hours option at the end of the day was what really sold you guys. What about, was there any concern, or trepidation, about making the move away from the OEM?

Wendy Hofman

I want this this thing to work as much as anybody because I was the one who stuck my hand up and said, ‘hey, maybe we should try this’ because for me nothing ventured, nothing gained, and it sends a message to these big companies that we’re not gonna put up with it. We’re not gonna just take whatever price you put on us, and we’re gonna look elsewhere. We’re a state-owned corporation so it’s our role to look for better, more cost-effective options.

And all of your marketing material says for you’re ‘fanatical’ about service. So, for me, a company that’s fanatical about Microsoft support should give you the same or better level of service.

US Cloud

Wonderful. Well, hopefully you’re experiencing that level of service and hopefully we continue to improve.

Wendy Hofman

Yeah, it’s all good.

US Cloud

Thank you again for your time, Wendy. Really appreciate it.

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