Essential and Urgent COVID Management

Like most businesses, Meridian Energy had to manage the chaos and restrictions that COVID brought to New Zealand. But as an essential industry, there could be no slowing down of continuity of service.

Keen to maintain a business-as-usual stance (while staying COVID compliant), Meridian Energy knew they needed to act quickly. Edna Maddocks, Business Stream Lead, Markets & Corporate for Meridian Energy, says that the company knew it had to provide a way to easily and confidentially manage compliance and information related to its COVID response by developing a proprietary app.

“However, there wasn’t an off-the-shelf app available. The Government’s COVID response mandates and tools were evolving – but not quickly enough for us. So, we decided that developing and delivering a custom COVID app (My Covid) to meet our specific requirements was the best solution.”

Edna Maddocks | Business Stream Lead, Markets & Corporate for Meridian Energy
Landscape view of green meadows. Landscape view of green meadows.

“First of all, we wanted every single Meridian Energy employee to be able to upload their vaccination status to the app using their phone, tablet, or desktop device. Our second objective was to protect our onsite workers by capturing their RAT and PCR test results in the My Covid records module.

Edna Maddocks | Business Stream Lead, Markets & Corporate for Meridian Energy

A fast, responsive, and innovative approach!

Meridian Energy’s traditional approach to developing technology solutions has been to design them internally, compile detailed requirements documents, and then build and test them with the support of their partners. However, says Maddocks, they simply didn’t have time to adhere to their standard process.

“On November 1, 2021, the leadership team told us this app was a priority. Within a few days, we’d done our research and identified Power Apps as the potential solution, with a secure SharePoint back end for controlled access,”

“However, given the project’s urgency, we turned to a Microsoft partner we knew we could trust – Fusion5. To expedite the app, I wanted Fusion5 to have an equal voice within our team, to bring in different expertise and collaborate with us from the outset to determine if using Power Apps was the right decision - not just take instructions. Our Fusion5 account manager was totally aligned with this vision, which made the process all the easier. This approach was the best way for us to achieve a fast outcome.”

A stunning five-day prototype delivery

While the business expected the app project to take weeks and rely on manual tracking processes in the meantime, Fusion5 offered a prototype solution within five working days. Ironically, the turnaround was so rapid that Maddocks had to take a cautious approach to how she presented the app to the organisation.

“Because Fusion5 delivered a working solution so quickly, I didn't want people to think we’d cut corners. Because we didn’t - far from it. Just because we didn't take a traditional approach to document the detailed requirements and test plans doesn’t mean the app was poorly or thoughtlessly designed." “Due to the initial collaboration process between Meridian Energy and Fusion5, the exact opposite is true. Fusion5 were present for all the internal discussions, so they had a clear grasp of our requirements and processes, enabling them to produce an app which met every expectation and passed every test. They took on and processed our feedback immediately and responded quickly. They had the same nimble mindset as us, which isn’t common to most vendors.”

Edna Maddocks | Business Stream Lead, Markets & Corporate for Meridian Energy

When Maddocks asked for internal feedback on the prototype, the Meridian Energy team were all smiles. “It’s ready to go live when you are,” Maddocks advised. “So, are you happy with it?” And the consensus, she said, was a resounding ‘yes!’

Landscape view of green meadows.


The final tested and validated My Covid app was available for download to Meridian Energy staff and its contractors on November 19 - just five days after demonstrating the prototype to the leadership team and stakeholders.

Internal Feedback

Maddocks says that both the My Covid app and the fresh partnering approach have been exceptionally well received by the business.

“I can’t believe how quickly you stood the My Covid app up in response to the business need and short timeframe,” said John Skudder, Head of Safety & Wellbeing for Meridian Energy. “I was impressed by the way the developers had anticipated the potential design features in the prototype and had done their homework on what might or might not be required. The team were then really proactive in iterating the tweaks. The “show and tell” sessions worked really well, both in the initial stage and then when enhancing the tool, and I have particularly enjoyed working with Fusion5 and Mike (Meridian Energy’s solution architect); they haven’t just delivered the solution but are thinking of enhancements and improvements as well.”

“I just wanted to say well done and thank you to you and your team on the vaccine app,” added Bridgit Sepie, Head of Operations (People Team) for Meridian Energy. “It’s not very often that a tool like that is produced in such a hurry and comes out so easy to use.”

Edna Maddocks | Business Stream Lead, Markets & Corporate for Meridian Energy

A successful collaboration

Maddocks couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the My Covid project.

“This was our first practical use of Power Apps and the first time I’d worked with Fusion5,” says Maddocks. “And it turned out to be one of the most successful, rapid delivery projects we’ve done within Meridian Energy. I was surprised (and delighted) by the amount of acknowledgement and feedback I got from various people within the organisation.”

“Fusion5 was part of the process right from the start. It's like Fusion5 extended my team because they were there to help dissect the problems, the challenges, and the viable options to deliver the best solution.”

“With My Covid, we went against the fundamental belief that good things must take time. And of course, for many projects, that’s right. But not with something like this. My Covid was essential to Meridian Energy, and it needed to be delivered within an accelerated timeframe. And that’s what we did.”

Sharing the love

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“It was clear to us that New Zealand as a whole needed an app like this. There was no doubt in our minds that it is something that we could share with other companies to save them replicating the effort and expense. So, we made it available to other businesses, along with a couple of hours of training so they could customise it, in exchange for a donation to the KidsCan charity.”

Edna Maddocks | Business Stream Lead, Markets & Corporate for Meridian Energy
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