UK Power Networks
Giving 8 million customers the power to self-serve
When the lights suddenly go off anywhere in London or across the whole of the South East and East of England, UK Power Networks gets a surge of customers asking them when their power will come back on.
As the owners and maintenance operators of electricity cables and lines for 8 million domestic and commercial customers, UK Power Networks wanted to better meet their customer’s needs for personalised and real-time information. With more and more of their customers turning to digital, giving customers the power to self-serve was just the beginning of a digital transformation project that saw Tangent reimagine the digital customer experience, redraw the technology and systems architecture to support it, and support the application 24/7, 365 days a year.
Creating innovation with legacy systems
Their website is key to ensuring customers can access the services they need: from connecting a new housing development, to installing a new electric vehicle charging point, or finding information about upgrades to the network and power cut restoration.
A comprehensive discovery phase allowed us to produce numerous customers journeys, identify opportunities for improvement, and set the vision for the new experience. We tested several high-fidelity wireframes with customers at various point of the design process to validate and continuously improve the user experience.
Our customers expect a personalised service that is easy, quick and available round-the-clock. Tangent has been instrumental in testing new ideas and delivering an industry-leading, innovative online journey that is making great steps to improve satisfaction of our customers.
From a technology point of view, we inherited a brown field, complex system legacy enterprise-level system. Once these were handed over to use, we started on a programme of work to support, maintain and enhance the platform. We quickly identified the critical risks, root cause to production issues and bloated costs attached to the legacy, and put in place a roadmap of work to address these.
We have now taken ownership of the Sitecore instance which hosts multiple sites, the enterprise level API and the backend services it exposes. We also oversee the Azure infrastructure and environment bringing the full software lifecycle in-house. We quickly implemented a CI/CD and release management process to ensure we could deploy quickly and with confidence.
Threshold monitoring was quickly implemented so that the technical team were alerted when a potential issue was developing, enabling targeted manual investigation and intervention. Our guaranteed response times SLA of less than 15 minutes was also introduced to add confidence in the website’s resilience.
The Tangent team demonstrated beyond words that they understand the criticality of our business and the standards we set ourselves, with the evidence clear in the results delivered
A partnership focused on continuous optimisation
As UK Power Networks' digital partner, we’ve helped push the network operator’s brand presence, user experience and technical performance, but our work doesn’t stop here.
A full design and software development cycle scrum team is also in place, working closely with UK Power Networks’ stakeholders and third-party providers to deliver a first-class online service to their customers.
The aim is to provide even greater future-proofing and all-around improved performance. Tangent’s next project is a series of infrastructure and application enhancements to provide a high performance, ‘always on’ website, which is vital in ensuring customers experience the same level of access, whether the power is out during a big storm as during a normal quiet day in the office. This includes an Azure IaaS to PaaS cloud-migration of the Sitecore services, as well as a decoupling of external API calls from the existing monolithic application into individual serverless microservice pipelines, an Azure CDN caching strategy and finally a major Sitecore upgrade.
This new microservice, cloud-first architecture will ensure each pipeline has its own responsibility and can individually scale, with eventual consistency included in the design to ensure data reaches its destination.
The key to our mutual success is that we give Tangent permission to challenge us and not just take orders. We needed some more open-mindedness and Tangent brought that refreshing external perspective that we couldn't have gotten with some of our more traditional suppliers