We are delighted to release the latest episode of our Low-code 101 webinar series. This time, Laura Ritchie talks to our Solution Architects about a new app they’ve worked on in Liberty Create for the Water Sector. Mike Woodgate and Darren Hartley explain our D-MeX water sector app.
You can find this webinar, and the other episodes in the Low-code 101 series. A transcript of episode seven is laid out below. Click the video below to start watching the webinar:
A transcript of the webinar is below:
Laura: Hello and welcome to this Low-code 101 webinar with me, Laura Ritchie, from the Marketing Team at Netcall. Today I’m joined by both Darren Hartley and Mike Woodgate, two of our Solution Architects working with Liberty Create. Hi guys…
Laura: We are, of course, all working remotely from home, so I hope that you will forgive us for any background noise, but we’ll do our best!
Today we are going to talk about an App that you have both worked on for the Water Sector to bring organisations in line with D-MeX legislation. Mike, I am sure that most of the audience are familiar with D-MeX, but could you give us a brief outline of what this legislation is all about?
Mike: D-MeX is the developer services measure of experience. It’s a mechanism to incentivise water companies to provide an excellent experience for developer services customers, which involves a balance of risk that investors must bear, weighed against the rewards available.
Laura: Just to be clear here, when you say developers what exactly do you mean in this context?
Mike: D-MeX is the developer services measure of experience – in this environment a developer would be a builder, for example, building a new housing development.
Simplistically, D-MeX is comprised of two components:
- a quantitative component using Water UK metrics. The aim of this element is to ensure levels of service are being met by companies
- and a qualitative element which is comprised of a transactions follow-up survey. The survey is issued to developers who have had work completed by water companies and asks about their recent experience.
OFWAT’s goals are challenging. They are seeking to measure company success against expected performance, which is probably typical of an upper quartile performing company.
Laura: OK… what does that mean for water supply companies and any developers working on projects for these organisations?
Mike: Well, for developers, there are a number of implications, but let’s just draw out two:
- Because water companies must publish their cost of service there is now a great level of transparency. This means developers can compare the cost of the water company’s service with other suppliers – who are offering a similar installation service. If a water company doesn’t have efficient processes this will prevent costs from being minimised – posing the risk that developers will seek alternative suppliers, and this means that water company revenue is under threat
- Secondly, developers should see a perceivable enhancement in their experience. Since this will be formally measured against the developer survey feedback, then all responses will directly impact the performance measures of the water company
Turning to the water companies, the implications are far-reaching. Their ability to meet performance commitments will have a direct impact upon financial incentives. OFWAT is using the Return on Regulatory Equity as the test.
In short, this means that in order to maximise the rewards available, or conversely, avoid financial censure (and any reputational damage) the company must deliver excellent performance against the formal measures of success in the PR19 statement.
Laura: Can we take this down a level – So company performance will be ranked and published annually, it that right? And will there be incentives and penalties?
Mike: Yes – companies could achieve financial performance incentives of up to 2.5% of annual developer services revenue.
Alternatively, where performance is below the OFWAT targets penalties of up to 5% of annual developer services revenue may be incurred. And, let’s not forget, a similar regulatory framework is in place for C-MeX.
So, there’s a strong driver to reduce the cost of service to remain competitive whilst delivering the best developer experience possible. The supporting business process must be easy to use, keep developers informed of case progress and be efficient by driving productivity and accuracy.
Laura: So Darren, could you explain what we have done in Liberty Create to help developers and suppliers with this D-MeX situation?
Darren: Sure thing. What we’ve done is create an application to help the developers and suppliers to apply for and process requests for water supplies. It streamlines submitting a large application, which traditionally would be a long and complex affair and ensures that it’s clear and straightforward for developers to complete. And the suppliers can easily and quickly review and process these applications.
We’ve also built a portal as part of this application, so developers can monitor their applications and receive updates easily from suppliers.
Laura: OK, that sounds great. Can you show us the portal?
Darren: Of course. It’s very straight forward. The developers, when they first start submitting an application, have an account automatically generated, which they, in our application, receive via email. These details allow them to log into the portal, but they could also access via two factor authentication, meaning they can get an SMS with a code to login.
In the portal, they can review any applications they have created, create new applications or progress existing applications. It gives them an overall view of the progress of these supply requests, meaning they need to chase the supplier less as they have the information they need.
Laura: And can you walk us through the process for this – can you show us the supplier interface as well?
Darren: Yeah – here’s the supplier interface, where the supplier can see all the pending and in progress applications. The process to support these applications is pretty straight forward, giving the suppliers a clear set of tasks to complete. This is review the application, request more information if necessary, notify the regulators and push any data to their back office applications. We deliberately kept it simple so it can be adapted to each supplier. That’s the beauty of Create, we can start with a core application, then continue customising it to meet the supplier’s process.
Laura: And then the final bit, the triggers – can you show us how that works?
Darren: We’ve built some basic timers into the process, primarily around requesting information from the developers. These get started when the messages are sent to the developers and, if they don’t respond within the designated time, auto progresses the process. This means that the developer can submit requests and then not have to chase up responses, the application can do it for them. These timers and other validation can all be expanded, so the application can be set with SLAs ensuring all participants can be notified or targeted at the appropriate times or conditions to ensure the process doesn’t get stuck, no person is waiting for too long for progress and to generally smooth along any potential bottlenecks before they happen. In short, providing a much smoother experience for all involved.
Laura: OK so I can see a lot of work has gone into this and it’s been well received by the developer. What benefits is this providing for them?
Mike: Well, D-MeX should encourage water companies to be innovative and improve developer experience. In short, they should offer a simple and meaningful process which includes communications and interactions between the companies and their customers.
The application that Darren has shown us supports the extension of digital working. There is no longer a paper trail with all of the inherent overheads and frailties. From the very first point of engagement, a developer is using a dynamic digital form, which is personalised and reflects the responses they’ve provided.
The digital environment allows the companies to update their developers as a case progresses. This should have the benefit of reducing the volume of in-bound enquiries seeking updates, allowing company staff to focus on the value-add activity of processing applications. This, in turn, will help to improve process efficiency and therefore minimise the unit cost to process an application.
Laura: So, as costs are managed downwards, the competitive position, in relation to connection services, of the company will improve, is that right?
Mike: Exactly. The application also offers an easy to use interface whilst ensuring there’s consistency – and along with the communications will directly influence the perceptions of the developer. And, with the need to achieve positive feedback related to the developer experience, this will support achievement of the OFWAT performance measures.
So, I believe this application will help water companies meet the demands of D-MeX, influencing their risks and incentives – remember the minus 5% to positive 2.5% impact on the revenue stream – which will clearly impact the financial health of the company.
Laura: So surely this could be useful for others in the same industry, dealing with the D-MeX legislation?
Darren: Indeed… which is why we are aiming to roll this out as the core of a set of applications for other water customers to utilise. We anticipate calling it ‘Water LaunchPad’.
The Liberty Create platform allows water companies to build apps to automate many different processes, but Water LaunchPad will offer a starting point, providing apps that address the C-MeX and D-MeX issues that almost all of them face.
Laura: OK so will Water LaunchPad work in the same way as Patient Hub and Citizen Hub? They’ve been successful in Health and Local Gov sectors to bring together a range of applications as a starting point to customise and build upon for others in the sector with similar challenges?
Darren: Well that’s the general idea, but on a smaller scale – those Hubs offer multiple apps as a starting point. Water LaunchPad will include this initial app, so it’ll deliver immediate value, plus there will be a range of other useful utilities apps to get you started.
And of course, you can build on top of it and customise it, so that it exactly matches 100% of your own specific process.
Laura: And we have added details of where to find more details about Water LaunchPad onto the screen. Well – thanks for that Darren and Mike – it was really great to find out more about this app and it sounds really useful for the water sector… thanks for your time in walking me through it all.
Our next “Low-code 101” will put the Liberty Create Test Studio into the spotlight, focusing on all the features it has to offer.
As always, you’ll find loads more information on the Netcall LinkedIn and Twitter pages and of course netcall.com. We also have a couple of Podcast series about Liberty Create, that can be found in our Resources. But that’s everything for today, so goodbye from me, Mike and Darren.