Transurban Uses Puppet to Automate Chatbots and Speed Up DevOps

Challenge
Transurban is a top 15 Australian publicly traded company that owns and operates 17 toll roads and has 8 new roads to open in the next five years. They have 2000 employees in Australia, USA, and Canada and more than 100,000 pieces of technology involved in their roads management.

Transurban embraced digital transformation with a move to DevOps. Their goal was to speed up automation, be able scale, ensure high availability, and be able to flex based on changing business demands with the agility to innovate.

Solution
To achieve their goals, they turned to automation. They started with their customer experience journey and automated all on prem platforms, using AWS Lambda to integrate via APIs. With a complex tech stack, they have worked on integrating their systems to create a strong ecosystem that enables people to work with greater ease, save time, and speed up their ability to get to market.

Transurban developed chatbots to serve as virtual assistants for various functions across the company. Their chatbots draw data from Puppet, and since Puppet is part of the automated build process, they’ve been able to enable on-going integration for day to day operations, deployments, and health checks. Using Puppet, their chatbots can do self tests, security patching, compliance checks, and vulnerability management. They have scaled Puppet across Unix and Windows.

Results
Transurban has built multiple chatbots to assist employees and vendors. For example, their Legal team handles high volumes of contracts and often fields complex, but common questions from vendors and contractors. The IT team built a chatbot to provide self-service options and guide people through a series of important questions to help direct them to next steps in the vendor/contractor journey. It provides recommended next steps and links to take those actions — saving the Legal team valuable time and freeing them to focus on executing their work.

Transurban also developed a chatbot to handle employee sick leave requests and administrative tasks. Sickbot enables employees to call in sick via the chatbot. Sickbot asks them a series of questions, and provides multiple services including canceling meetings, updating Workday, and notifying supervisors when an employee requires sick leave.

Transurban is looking forward to working on making their chatbots more personalized for users, adding more functions and skills, conducting surveys and generating deeper analytics.

We believe the future of transport is highly integrated and will change how we operate as a company. We now see ourselves as a technology company that manages roads, rather than an engineering firm. We are automating the heck out of everything to keep teams small and make sure that they focus on the right work. Having the right tools and capabilities, like Puppet, make it possible.

Mithran Naiker, CTO, Transurban

Watch the presentation here.

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