A long time ago (October), in a city far far away (Leicester), we spoke to energy multinational Centrica. Joanne Rose, Head of Mobile User Computing, discussed the technological and cultural means assisting employees in the field.
The technological needs of such users are necessarily moving with the pace of technological change, as Rose explained. “We've transformed our field workforce digitally over the last 20 years. Currently, digital transformation for us is about continually making sure that our fieldworkers have got the most up-to-date technology and software. What we're doing is setting the scene for our field workforce to be on the latest products and for them to be kept up-to-date.”
There are challenges. Geographical isolation brings issues which technological solutions are addressing. “It's very difficult to replace devices or enact a big IT upgrade because our field workforce is truly field-based, meaning they never come to a Centrica office and they don't have regional depots. The technology they're now using means they can communicate with the whole of Centrica using Yammer,” said Rose.
With the change in technology there was a parallel need to ensure that it could be integrated culturally in different parts of Centrica. Rose found the appetite for digital transformation came from the highest levels. “The approval came from the top and our CIO, Mike Young. Digital transformation has been hugely important to him and his strategy, so in sponsorship terms there's never been an issue.” Care was also taken to ensure the field workforce was on board and engaged with the introduction of new technologies. “We made sure there was a pilot group which was able to trial devices and get first looks at the software,” said Rose.