NIE Networks: Digital Transformation for Market Opening

NIE Networks owns the electricity transmission and distribution network and operates the electricity distribution network in Northern Ireland.

 

Customer Challenge

The Utility Regulator (UR) for Northern Ireland has a statutory duty to promote competition in the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity. Within the UR Forward Work Programme it identified the electricity connections market as an area where competition was to be established.

NIE Networks engaged Neueda initially to mobilise the business transformation programme to introduce competition, and then to deliver the programme over a period of 3 years.

Neueda Approach

Neueda's multi-disciplined team (project management, business analysis, change management and financial analysis expertise) partnered with NIE Networks to:

  • Mobilise the transformation programme to respond effectively to the challenges of competition. Build a blended team with NIE Networks subject matter experts across a range of business areas.

  • Introduce and embed agile ways of working, developing a culture of collaboration, visibility of status, and business ownership of outcomes.

  • Examine business scope, processes, roles, responsibilities and structures.

  • Establish the framework for interacting with key stakeholders in the competitive market.

  • Modelling future business scenarios and charging arrangements, ensuring that they are cost reflective.

  • Develop internal processes designed to meet the requirements of facilitating, and operating in, a competitive market.

  • Provide programme and project management support to programme and workstream planning and delivery, including risk and issue management.

“Having worked with Neueda for the last 8 years, I really value their partnership approach. The team is professional, provides deep subject matter expertise and I can put all my trust in them. NIE Networks has benefited from the ways of working that Neueda brings, particularly the adoption of agile in successfully delivering the Connections Business Transformation Programme."

Nigel Wray

Programme Manager NIE Networks

Outcomes

Significant strides on digital journey

Move away from manual paper-based processes and systems to modern digital technology. Introduced a suite of digital applications across the organisation:

  • Drawing package

  • Online applications

  • Online payments

  • Document management

  • Self-service portal

  • Mobile enabled Job Management


Connections market opened by NIE Networks,
within UR timeframe

UR set a fixed deadline of March 2018 for the opening of the connections market to competition. This meant within 18 months NIE Networks had to deliver significant business change. Using Neueda as a trusted partner a successful delivery was achieved. Built upon:

  • Agile delivery- using proven agile techniques bringing visibility and accountability.

  • Governance- strong internal sponsorship blended with external support maintained the discipline.

  • Effective prioritisation- doing the most important things first, adapting to change as required.


Recognised market engagement model – by all participants

The foundation for opening the market was to have a ‘contestability engagement framework’ that all market participants recognised. Working closely with Neueda, NIE Networks developed this with internal and external stakeholders.

Aligned to this framework, NIE Networks was able to define what a suitably scaled business looked like, encompassing the required structures, processes and technologies.

Benefits

Access to and visibility of data

NIE Networks can now create, track and manage all of their job information across an integrated digital platform.

  • 6000 connection drawings created digitally

  • 107,000+ digitally stored docs accessible since June 2017

  • 50% of applications now created online, saving time and improving quality


High value outcomes, on time, WIthin regulatory allowance

A streamlined approach to prioritisation meant the projects providing the highest business value got delivered first, accruing benefits early.

23 projects in 18 months

The portfolio of projects was delivered with a fixed regulatory allowance (£4.7m), fixed resource availability and no option to amend the go-live date.

The market opened successfully on Wednesday 28th March 2018, with NIE Networks strengthening their reputation with the UR and in wider market.


Cohesive rules of engagement

There is now a recognised set of processes, roles and responsibilities across all participants in the connections market. This includes NIE Networks, their customers, Independent Connections Providers (ICPs) and the UR.

Clearly defined customer journeys are in the public arena. It is transparent to customers what will happen should they chose to have NIE Networks complete all of their required connection or to engage an ICP for the contestable works.