Case Study

Australian Renewable Energy Agency

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About ARENA

With the objective of improving the competitiveness and supply of renewable energy technologies in Australia, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) was established in 2012. It is responsible for over $3 billion of funding of innovative renewable energy projects and identifies and troubleshoots issues arising from energy transition, providing funding to help solve such issues. Undertaking its own research that informs policy decisions, ARENA also manages committed projects from former initiatives of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, and the Australian Solar Institute.

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The Challenge

To achieve its important and timely ambitions, ARENA required a streamlined system to manage grants. That solution had to provide insights and tools to ensure compliance with the Australian National Audit Office’s principles for granting funds, removing risk from the funding governance process along the way.

The solution also had to span the entire innovation chain, supporting projects from the laboratory workbench through to commercial deployment. It would need to enable the acceleration in affordability of new technologies and build investor confidence through system efficiency, consistency of process and probity of grant application and approval, financial management and reporting.

The Solution

While exhaustive research revealed many good, grant management systems to manage specific stages of the grants process, ARENA was looking for a GMS solution to manage the whole spectrum of end-to-end grants management, when they approached F1 Solutions.

Out of the box, OmniStar Grants met many of ARENA’s requirements and where gaps were identified, OmniStar was tailored to meet specific needs.

F1 Solutions was engaged to provide a fit for purpose, fully hosted and managed grants management system that provided functionality for all of ARENA’s programs. The initial project from contract signing to go-live took six months, including security testing and training. Since then, ARENA has been able to continue to deeply customise the solution.

Hosting of the solution started on F1 Solutions in-house data centre then relocated to an external data centre and again relocated on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the platform is compliant with industry, state and federal standards. OmniStar is now the day-to-day grants management system for all of ARENA’s programs.

The benefits for ARENA

From the streamlining of business processes and the management of complex milestones to the improvement of probity and transparency, the increase in productivity, and the provision of real-time data to boost reporting capability, OmniStar fulfilled ARENA’s grants management system needs. It provided the assurance stakeholders required to confidently fund the right projects and enable ARENA to meet its objectives.

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OmniStar Grants has given ARENA vision across all of its programs, offering the organisation the data it required to develop a more informed investment strategy. This benefits the organisational objective of improving the competitiveness and supply of renewable energy technology in Australia.

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Communication capabilities, change audits and provides real-time data that is used by a dashboard reporting function to support ARENA’s business processes more efficiently.

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More flexible and powerful system audits and granular optics ensure the organisation is fully compliant and meets its probity criteria.

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Disparate legacy systems have been brought together onto a single platform, meaning workflow is now significantly streamlined, preventing duplication of work.

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Many previously time-consuming tasks are now automated, resulting in greater productivity from the same number of personnel. As ARENA’s requirements change, they are integrated wherever possible into the system

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ARENA engaged F1 Solutions on a time and materials basis to perform the agreed scope of work. Weekly project status meetings were held to manage the delivery of the scope of work to the agreed budget, time frame and risk management. F1 Solutions went the extra mile to ensure the delivery of the project.

Lloyd Monahan

ARENA, Project Manager

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