“triOpsis were great at listening to what we wanted. We gave a clear understanding of what was needed, and triOpsis were fast to start the ball rolling.” Sharon Cole, Senior Integration Manager, Commercial Metering Services SSE
Few businesses can claim to be at the heart of the UK’s energy network with quite the same conviction as SSE. The ‘big six’ company generates and supplies electricity and gas, operates gas and telecoms networks, and, among many other activities, is also involved in exploration and production, contracting, connections and metering. With a heritage that stretches back to the start of Scotland’s hydroelectric revolution in the 1940s, it continues to live up to its historic aim of “providing safe and reliable energy for all”.
Of course, an operation on this scale comes with significant workforce challenges. SSE employs a team of over 20,000 people covering more than 150 locations, and with seven different business divisions, the workforce management logistics are complex. triOpsis, however, is well used to challenges like these, and since early 2017, has been helping SSE’s Commercial Metering Services team to realise the potential of more effective workforce management.
Heritage is important to SSE, but in an era of fast-paced digital innovation, the paper-based systems used by the Commercial Metering Services team were a throwback to a bygone age. They were causing inefficiencies to proliferate, and overall levels of service were suffering as a result. As a company that counts efficiency, excellence and teamwork among its core values, it was essential to find a new way of managing its workforce.
According to Sharon Cole, the Senior Integration Manager for SSE’s Commercial Metereting Services, the combination of outdated systems and the company’s exacting needs drove the requirement for a new workforce management solution.
“The commercial team at SSE was very much paper driven,” she explains. “SSE has teams with very specific requirements – within revenue protection, for example.”
The mission to rid the company of paper forms and adopt a much more efficient and effective system – one that could deliver full visibility of workforce teams and dramatically improve processes across the board – was vital. But there was concern that a generic solution wouldn’t meet the specific needs of a major utility company.
When it came to considering triOpsis, however, it was clear that such concerns were unfounded. SSE was already aware of triOpsis due to its use by partners such as EDF, and because it was a workforce management solution developed specifically for utility companies and their contractors – by teams with deep knowledge of the sector – it was soon clear that triOpsis was the solution they were looking for.
At its heart, the triOpsis solution consists of two key elements. One is the powerful technology platform that can be rolled out quickly, refined according to each client’s specific business needs, and which is both intuitive to use and straightforward to configure. The other is the triOpsis team’s problem-solving, people-first approach.
“We formed a really great relationship with triOpsis,” says Cole, paying tribute to the friendly, knowledgeable service that SSE received from the company. “Communication is fabulous and very easy and relaxed. Nothing is too much trouble for them.”
Beginning with a web demonstration designed to explain the triOpsis solution’s features and capabilities, the system was quickly appraised and accepted by SSE’s teams, including by their Head of Internet Security. Once the decision had been made, triOpsis was rolled out quickly, with a working system available from day one.
As Cole comments, “Speed of implementation was absolutely perfect” – recognition of the fact that triOpsis’s agile process meant SSE teams were able to trial the system, give feedback, then work with the refined system and feed back again. The eventual end users were the ones working with the system right from the start, so by the time it went live, the SSE teams were already proficient in its use.
The triOpsis difference
The positive impact was almost immediate, with the benefits being felt across the Commercial Metering Services team – both out in the field and back in head office. Crucially, this included in the area of revenue protection, where the previous paper-based system had been causing serious security-related concerns.
“Some paper work we hold is quite controversial and sensitive,” explains Cole. “People involved in electricity theft don’t want their details to be available to others, so data protection is of high importance in these instances. With triOpsis, we no longer have that problem.”
The paper-free, GDPR-compliant triOpsis system also cuts out errors caused by lost or damaged forms.
“We have also ended the risk and occurrence of paperwork lost or damaged in the field,” says Cole, “during bad weather, downpours, mud or high winds, for example. The ability to de-activate a user from triOpsis is important too, in cases where an employee has perhaps left the company for another or left under a cloud.’’
Document management has been made much more efficient – “Sharing documents and photos from the field immediately became simple,” says Cole – and SSE now enjoys full workforce visibility, with the time-and-date stamped site photos helping to eliminate disputes.
From day to day and from job to job, triOpsis ensures that workforce management within SSE Commerical Metering Services is now smooth and streamlined.
‘‘triOpsis is clean, efficient, instantaneous and easy to use,” says Cole. “If a Category A job (required immediately) needs to be scheduled, the engineer no longer has to come in to the office to obtain paperwork, but can head straight to the job, whatever their location might be, with all information uploaded to the triOpsis platform.”
Facing the future
triOpsis is the workforce management system that gets utility companies fit for the present moment, but its scalability and adaptability mean it can also continue to grow and evolve as business needs change. SSE Commerical Metering Services continue to benefit from triOpsis’s deep sector knowledge, and its teams know they can call on that expertise at any time.
Once word gets out about the benefits that triOpsis brings, it’s often the case that other departments within a business decide they need it too. At SSE, it didn’t take long before the Business Energy division recognised the potential, initiating its own triOpsis development project.
For Sharon Cole, none of this comes as a surprise.
“triOpsis is actually the greatest work tool we have, and we’ll continue to use it,” she says. “We currently have the Commercial Metering team using the system and I expect other divisions of SSE will see the benefits in future.”