Articles & Case Studies

Utilities sector aiming for sustainable future with innovative cloud technology

Posted: Tuesday 14th March 2017

The utilities sector is coming under immense pressure to get smart and embrace innovation, following the launch of Ofgem's Innovation Link service, which aims to drive forward technological change and encourage greater innovation in the industry.

With an increased demand for utilities, an ageing infrastructure and rising energy costs, the utilities sector is being forced to find new ways to improve efficiencies and provide a more sustainable service to customers.

As a result, some large utility companies are exploring the use of cloud-based technologies, as a way to streamline processes, save money and manage the network more effectively.

Morrison Utility Services (MUS) is one such utility services provider that is investing in advanced technology to improve the services it provides. It has recently adopted WorkMobile for Utilities' mobile data capture app to become more agile and manage future infrastructure maintenance with greater efficiency.

Due to it carrying out over two million infrastructure excavations per year for its clients, MUS recognised that it needed a digital solution that would help to collect and manage essential project information more effectively. Its previous solution did not enable collected information to be shared with back office systems, which made it difficult to streamline workflows.

Following a hugely successful trial period using the cloud-based application, the utility services provider has deployed the WorkMobile solution to 1,600 of its workers. Job details can now be sent to employees in the field and project data can also be captured in real-time, with all information integrated into internal work management systems. Work can now be completed quickly and more accurately, making for a more efficient network maintenance process.

WorkMobile for Utilities' flexible form designer allows users to create mobile forms relevant to the specific job in hand, including site inspections, health and safety forms and timesheets for all workers on site. Using a digital form to capture the information for these important documents reduces the risk of data being lost or incorrectly collected.

Andy Carter, director of business improvement at MUS, said: "There is an increasing pressure to become more efficient and innovative in order to remain competitive and deliver a great customer service. However, with new, emerging technologies, companies are now gaining the ability to streamline their working practices, and meet the needs of their customers more effectively.

"Our main challenge was that our previous data capture solution could no longer meet our requirements. We needed a solution that could provide greater efficiency and connectivity, so staff working out in the field and those based in the office could share information freely at all times.

"After completing our trial with WorkMobile, we were very impressed with the results, as it gave us an effective way to manage our work streams. Thanks to its straightforward form building functionality, the data capture solutions we need can now be built quickly, which in turn means that we can be extremely responsive to the needs of our clients and the jobs that need to be completed."

Colin Yates, chief support officer at WorkMobile, said: "With new initiatives being launched by Ofgem to encourage greater innovation, utility companies are under greater pressure to become more agile and efficient so they can continue delivering a sustainable energy service to their customers. The sector is facing a number of challenges, particularly due to ageing networks that can't cope with the rising demand for energy services. In order to keep these networks operational, now is the time for utility companies to get smarter and embrace new technologies so they can deal with issues quickly and effectively.

"It's great to see that solutions such as ours are helping the utility industry to combat its current issues. Morrison Utility Services, for example, now has a tool that can help meet the needs of its workforce, so that work can be quickly sent to employees and information then sent back to those in the office. The business has now seen greater efficiency amongst its workforce, along with cost savings. Every utility company across the sector should be looking to embrace technology to achieve similar results in order to create a more sustainable future."

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