With Salesforce, we can launch new apps faster and service our client contracts better, which makes it easier to win new tenders and boosts our competitive advantage.”

- Derek Clarke, Systems Development Manager, Morrison Utility Services
 

Morrison Utility Services, a part of M Group Services, is the UK’s largest, dedicated, independent utility service provider. The company works with utility company clients in the electricity, gas, water and telecommunications sectors helping them to continuously maintain, renew and upgrade essential UK utility infrastructure and networks across the UK.

Ensuring that every Morrison Utility Services employee has rapid access to the right information – both in the field and in the office – is essential.  “We need to keep data flowing across the business to ensure we can meet SLAs and maintain our position as the UK’s leading utility services provider,” said Derek Clarke, Systems Development Manager.

 

With Lightning, we can align our services with these varying needs and encourage collaboration with clients and subcontractors throughout project delivery. It also helps us gain greater insight into services to drive continuous improvement, improve efficiency, and make cost savings.”

Derek Clarke, Systems Development Manager, Morrison Utility Services

Timely and relevant apps are key to sharing information and empowering employees at Morrison Utility Services. “We must be able to build and customise apps efficiently to deliver on our contracts. It’s an increasingly important factor in winning new business,” said Clarke.

The company's traditional approach to building apps was impacting agility and holding the company back though. Without a suitable platform, Morrison Utility Services’ development team struggled to keep up with business demand.

Morrison Utility Services was one of the first in the utilities industry to turn to the cloud when it piloted Lightning, part of the Platform, in 2009. “Salesforce reduces our infrastructure management and maintenance burden,” explained Clarke. “As well as being extremely secure, it allows us to develop new features and functionality for our 4,500 employees and 2,500 contractors a lot faster.”

The utility provider built its first app to manage jobs relating to a water services contract on Lightning in just six weeks, and hasn’t looked back since. The company has gone on to base its entire work management platform on Lightning. OptiMUS, which comprises a range of apps, supports service delivery across 20 major client contracts. “Our client contracts all have different terms, conditions, data, and service requirements,” said Clarke. “With Lightning, we can align our services with these varying needs and encourage collaboration with clients and subcontractors throughout project delivery. It also helps us gain greater insight into services to drive continuous improvement, improve efficiency, and make cost savings.”

Morrison Utility Services can quickly create additional apps and adapt existing processes to meet its contractual obligations for each client. This might include integrations with a client’s internal systems or enabling seamless data sharing with field engineers.

“Traditionally we would have shared data with our employees and clients using email and file transfer, but those days are long gone,” said Clarke. “Our suite of Lightning apps help us assign and dispatch teams faster, direct the right information to the right people, and keep clients updated in real-time, which means we can deliver on our contracts more easily.”

One app has been designed for scheduling jobs with field engineers in order to optimise the road works reinstatement scheduling process. Used by more than 100 field engineers and back office personnel, the app ensures that tasks are completed with the highest level of speed and productivity possible, providing a complete history of every interaction and making it easier for Morrison Utility Services to meet SLAs and simple for utility company managers to view progress. The app landed Morrison Utility Services the 2014 Computer Weekly Cloud Innovation Award.

With client needs evolving, the 30-strong Morrison Utility Services outsourced development team needs to be able to action changes to these apps quickly. “Clients often want to add in new data fields or system integrations. With Lightning, our developers can make these changes in our apps up to 40% faster and with around 40% less effort than previously, which means we can keep up with customer demands more easily and avoid incompatibility issues,” said Clarke.

As well as improving agility and efficiency, the Salesforce platform also offers a better developer experience. “It’s easy to use, which means we can on board new developers quickly,” said Clarke. “We’re looking forward to taking advantage of Lightning App Builder and Salesforce DX later in 2017, which will further accelerate app updates and launches.”

Morrison Utility Services keeps abreast of these and other new Salesforce features via its customer success manager. “Our customer success manager understands our goals and processes. When a new feature is launched, he can advise us on how it might benefit our business and our clients,” explained Clarke. “He also provides access to other experts when we need them. It really is a fantastic service.”

Faster app development and delivery has transformed how the business views IT at Morrison Utility Services. “Using Lightning has helped us instil greater confidence in the business,” said Clarke. “We can balance stability and security with agility, which has reduced the instances of shadow IT.”

The company can also provide clients with a better experience founded on smarter workflows, greater collaboration, and richer business intelligence. “With Salesforce, we can launch new apps faster and service our customer contracts better, which makes it easier to win new tenders and boosts our competitive advantage.”

 
 
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