Delivering A Digital Operating Model To Help A Multinational Utility Get Best Value From Agile/DevOps Initiatives

Tuesday 26 March, 2019

Client Challenge

The Utility market has changed significantly over recent years with the introduction of SMART products and numerous ‘low cost’ market entrants. This has placed traditional suppliers such as our global utility client under significant pressure to compete on both cost and high-quality customer experience if they want to retain their market share within this highly regulated environment.

The legacy operation at our client organisation was similar to that of any other large Utilities supplier: complex, costly and built on silos.  Being as the client operations spanned Europe, many geographies had duplicate processes and systems with little commonality. This meant that each region had become a silo as well as having embed silos within it. This created numerous challenges in managing the end-end operation and achieving an efficient cost base.

The client had heavily invested in new digital technology to try and address these challenges, partnering with a 3rd party provider who ran the initial operation for them. Although the ‘new’ digital platform had been built in short timescales it was immature and the operational design was still traditional and inflexible. This, coupled with the client having minimal internal capability, limited the success of this investment.

Whilst the solution had met short term requirements of introducing digital technology, the solution was failing to deliver against operational and customer journey expectations and didn’t exploit the full potential of the Digital investment. Until these issues were addressed, the client could not embark on decommissioning their legacy, expensive platforms and achieve its flexible DevOps goals.

ApproachThe client was aware that whilst they had made significant investment in Digital, it was failing to meet their operational requirements. They were also concerned that they had no internal Digital operational capability.

The expected customer experience improvements and desired cost base were not being met and this was inhibiting the customer volume that could be placed on the Digital platform. The client therefore wanted to build a DevOps capability with the intention to move operations away from the existing 3rd party supplier who was running these services. The newly created operation was intended to centralise operations throughout Europe, enabling Digital Services to be reused with minimal cost.

Coeus were tasked with assessing the existing Digital operation and the newly created client capability to ensure it was fit for purpose prior to the transition of services from the 3rd party supplier. We used our extensive knowledge of Digital solutions and DevOps to assess the operational capabilities and effectiveness of the client operation. Initially, this involved gaining a deep understanding the client design and requirements then, having gained a view on the operation, Coeus were able to compare this against best practice and advise the client on a suitable action plan to prepare operation for ‘live service’. Coeus then drove implementation of the action plan, ensuring that the basic components were in place prior to transition.

During transition, Coeus worked closely with the client to aid the transition back to its own organisation, minimising operational disruption and assuring that the target operation was fit for purpose and stable.

In order for the client to achieve its Digital goals, Coeus also advised the client on how to mature the newly created DevOps operation to support large customer volumes and created a further action plan for this, based on our extensive global experience. 

The overall key elements of our support were:

- gaining control of the client’s s Digital suppliers

- streamlining processes to support Digital working

- creating agility within the organization, including DevOps 

Results

In the first phase of work, Coeus successfully enabled the transition of operations away from the 3rd party provider, enabling the client to commence the creation of their own Digital operation. This was an important step in their strategic journey which would ultimately lead to savings in excess of €50million and achieve an economic cost to serve.

Our carefully planned transition ensured that there was no operational impact and that all resources were effective immediately. This meant for the first time since making a multi-million pound investment, the client had control of their Digital operation.

Coeus not only reviewed the current operational design, they also assessed the building blocks of the Digital platform (including 3rd parties) and linkage to legacy technology through to the capture of business requirements.

The second phase of work was to create the new pan European operation supporting the client’s Digital platform. Coeus defined this industrialised pan-European DevOps model to fully exploit the investment in new Digital technology and support in excess of 10 million customers. We brought together numerous organisations from across Europe enabling them to work together in a DevOps methodology. The successful adoption of the model involved complex transformation which we simplified to help realise the benefits associated with our detailed action plan.

Coeus remains as the client’s trusted advisor in their Digital journey, supporting them in achieving their goals.  Recently this has included further multi-million-euro cost savings delivered through driving efficiency across their Digital partners.

Read the case study of how we helped Electricity North West re-shape their IT services to deliver next-generation services to the business. 


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