Switching up a gear. Welcoming new customers.
IT Programme Manager
In recent years, we have all grown used to the on-demand economy, being able to order whatever you need and have it actioned without having to hang around. Companies like Amazon, Deliveroo and Uber have grown into titans on the back of this.
This expectation of getting things done quickly has also come to the energy sector in the shape of the Faster Switching programme.
According to Ofgem, the average time for domestic customers to switch supplier has been about 16 to 18 days (plus the cooling-off period) for the best part of the last decade. Switching has been a process the energy industry struggled with, with many customers having trouble moving supplier because of errors along the way with various unconnected and often manual processes.
That headache is now being dealt with, and Procode has been at the forefront of making switching supplier much easier and quicker.
Ofgem first announced the Faster Switching programme in 2018 and the first switching under the new arrangements happened in July 2022. Since then, thousands of customers have been onboarded by Procode clients, such as Utilita, much more quickly and smoothly than ever before.
Procode started work on the new system two years ago in readiness for the industry moving over to a new central switching service mandated by the regulator Ofgem.
For Utilita, it made complete sense to use smart technology division Procode to build the interface to this central hub. Few energy suppliers developed their own solution to link to the central switching service with many relying on third-party technology. We see our in-house technology expertise as a huge advantage for both our business and our customers – we have developed a bespoke solution for Faster Switching that truly meets the industry’s, and our customers’, needs.
The team entrusted to build this important interface consisted of 30 developers, architects, business change analysts, testers, product owners and a scrum master.
We used an agile approach with the use of two-weekly “sprints” to develop key parts of the new interface, which gave us the flexibility to reset our priorities as we went along if required.
One of the biggest challenges of the project was to deliver something the scale and size of Faster Switching – it was bigger than many of the technology projects we have worked on before. That said, we got into the mindset pretty quickly.
With such a large-scale programme and one of vital importance to Utilita’s customers, comprehensive testing of was vital. Procode tested the connectivity to the new industry central switching service and the user entry process to measure the security, compliance and quality of the interface. We also worked with another energy supplier, measuring the quality and performance across multiple scenarios for customer gains and losses.
We also recognised that we had to make sure that whatever we built would perform at future estimate volumes of traffic.
Everything was also tested internally to ensure quality, accuracy, efficiency and compliance. Despite the punishing schedule and testing regime, we achieved every single milestone and that was through dedication, despite some challenging deadlines set by Ofgem. We had multiple audits throughout the process from the regulator and every report came back green - they were really pleased with performance throughout.
When we started this project, quality, accuracy, sustainability, efficiency and compliance were all important considerations, and we hit the mark with them all. That is down to having the right people on board with the key skills and knowledge to ensure the solution was the best it could be. And now it is Utilta’s customers, both current and future, who will benefit.