Utilities
UK Power Networks - 24/7 Support

Creating a full in-house 24/7 support system to help UKPN keep the lights on for 8 million customers

UK Power Networks own and maintain the electricity cables and lines across London, the South East and East of England, making sure the lights stay on for around eight million customers.
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.

The brief

Since 2017, Tangent’s UX design team has worked closely with UK Power Networks to improve the user experience for their most critical services. Following a successful proposal, Tangent now also provide Azure, Sitecore and bespoke API development and 24-7 support, bringing the full software lifecycle in-house. The goal is to provide a high performance, ‘always on’ website, which is vital in ensuring customers experience the same level of access when the power is out during a big storm (and their phone battery is fading), as during a normal quiet day in the office.

What we did

Tangent’s experience in working with enterprise-level solutions created an exciting opportunity to audit the existing system to identify bottlenecks and potential points of failure. Threshold monitoring was quickly implemented so that the technical team were alerted when a potential issue was developing, enabling targeted manual investigation and intervention. Guaranteed response times SLA of less than 15 minutes were also introduced, with resources dedicated to monitoring the system 24-7, x365.
As well as industry-leading technical support, Tangent also reviewed the prioritisation and communication of priority incidents to create a transparent and rigorous incident management workflow across all connected service providers. The process refined and removed barriers that were slowing down key information reaching support personnel, customers and business stakeholders through introducing automation of update publishing.

Results

The new Tangent support service continues to add confidence in the website’s resilience throughout the UK Power Networks business. The improvements were quickly put to the test by Storm Aiden (during the first week of service) but the system was prepared for the increase in customer traffic and the storm passed smoothly. Feedback from UKPN and customers alike noted the clarity of message and focus, proactive alerting, and the rapid incident updates and response times.

The Tangent team has made a brilliant start and 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.
Dave Roberts - Chief Information Officer

What's next?

To provide even greater future-proofing and all-round improved performance, Tangent’s next project is an Azure PaaS/cloud-first migration of the Sitecore services, as well as a decoupling of external API calls from the existing monolithic application into individual serverless microservice pipelines. This new microservice 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.
A full 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.

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