For years now, we’ve been talking about the power of convergent devices and their potential to make life easier for our staff. We’re now realising the potential of all the tech at our fingertips, thanks to Microsoft Teams and the apps we’ve built on Power Platform.

Our field employees can now access everything they need to serve a customer in one place, accessible from any connected device. This simplification of service alongside the supercharging of our team’s capabilities through technology is a central part of our T22 strategy.

We’re now living in a world where technicians have the ability to service the needs of customers more efficiently and effectively than ever. Where previously they relied on a mass of spreadsheets, paper documents, delayed email web forms and support websites, they now have modern and mobile communications with powerful intelligence in their hands for the best results yet.

After our deployment of Microsoft Office 365 in 2018, we realised the potential that Power Apps had for our business – the greatest strength of the platform being its simplicity. And that potential was picked up by one of our technicians, Nathan Backers, who used his creativity and business knowledge to develop tools that were intuitive and simple. He created the tools needed to get the job done.

The first app deployed for issue and opportunity resolution, known as TIDE, saw the real benefits of having actionable insights and data in the hands of our people. Technicians could create tickets for issues mentioned to them by customers. Other employees could then access the tickets to get more information and update customers and techs directly about the status of a job. Team leaders also got access to these insights for a more hands-on view of their direct report workflow.

Developers with field experience began creating apps that would address the immediate needs of field techs, ultimately creating two master applications known as Team leader Plus and Technician Plus. TIDE was rolled into the latter.

Employees using these apps can now access crucial data about manhole cover inspections, employee-specific performance metrics, our product catalogue and instructional videos and podcasts. The Power Apps platform created a true one-stop-shop for technicians looking to enhance their own workflows, and by extension, enhance customer outcomes.

On top of the Power Apps deployment, technicians were given access to Microsoft Teams. This made it easier for employees out on the road to speak to senior leaders and bridged the distance between teams and team leaders so they could discuss outcomes more frequently.

Teams is also being used to achieve faster results for our customers, especially around our recoverable damages process. In the past, our employees would have to call the company’s damages team and describe verbally the issue at hand, leading to solutions for repairs based on their understanding of the issue. With Teams, our people now video call the damages team to show them the problem before receiving specific insights about how to proceed in real-time.

We’re changing rapidly as a company, gearing up for the next 100 years of service in a completely different landscape. As part of this process, we want to empower our people to fulfil our purpose. We know we have the brightest minds in tech working under our banner, and we’re giving them the latest tools and the empowerment to build and use gear that is fit for purpose and delivers better outcomes for our customers.

We’re excited to see what this pioneering and collaborative tech spirit builds next!