British Gas is the largest UK energy and home services company, serving around twelve million homes across United Kingdom. They supply gas and electricity; boilers and boiler cover as well as other home services.
British Gas employs QA as a key control to monitoring compliance of regulatory requirements and to aid improvements with the customer experience. QA was undertaken by and for a number of different operational teams covering sales and customer service activities, using a variety of approaches. British Gas recognised that an improved QA database was required to support all the QA activity and a partner was sought to provide this.
BPA was selected from a competitive process as they offered a robust and flexible solution and demonstrated a deep understanding of quality assurance. The requirement to implement the QA database was complex as it involved managing the specific requirements of a wide range of business functions.
BPA Quality Builder was implemented across 20 lines of business within British Gas, including sales, compliance and customer service operations as well as the integration of quality programmes between inhouse teams and outsourced vendors. The implementation incorporated up to 2000 users with a quality related role and involved over 250 different evaluation forms.
A series of focused, workshop sessions, known as ‘hot houses’ were conducted; designed to bring business users together in order to fully scope out and define the requirements for the implementation. BPA developers, both attending the workshop and those working back in BPA’s European Research Centre, were able to quickly configure and build the system to the requirements and then play back in real-time to the assembled group to further inform and guide the sessions.
Following the hot house sessions, the BPA systems team worked to configure and build the system to meet the business needs, with regular check-in calls to ensure the build was on the right track and to capture any changes in the requirements. The work was staged appropriately in two key phases and each stage had a period of User Acceptance Testing (UAT) to ensure everything was working to requirements and to capture any issues.
Despite this scale and complexity of the project, a phased implementation was undertaken and in just seven months from gathering of the initial requirements, the system was live for all users.
Up to 2000 users across 20 lines of business were given access to the BPA Quality Builder platform across British Gas, with more lines of business going live after the initial implementation. With the single quality management platform, British Gas can now realise the best practice from different business areas and gain opportunities to enhance established quality programmes.
The system has enabled those involved in quality to better see and manage workflows, ensuring that key actions in the quality process are taken at the right time. Automated workflows allow for more efficiency and ensure that important actions do not get missed in the quality process.
British Gas is now able to utilise BPA Quality Builder’s Calibration tool, to further improve their quality management. The quality platform has delivered other benefits including enhanced controls including management information, improved reliability (virtually no downtime), better ease of use, the ability to make changes more quickly and enhanced functionality such as a QA calibration tool.
The relationship with BPA has continued in an extremely productive manner with good collaboration to continually develop and improve the QA database tool and address any minor issues that have arisen. I have been extremely pleased with the support provided by BPA and consider this to be a true partnership which will help British Gas as it develops to meet our strategy.
Keith Ellis, Sales Conduct and Development Director at British Gas
Keith Ellis, Sales Conduct and Development Director at British Gas commented, “The relationship with BPA has continued in an extremely productive manner with good collaboration between the British Gas and BPA teams to continually develop and improve the QA database tool and address any minor issues that have arisen. The success of the working relationship has been such that at monthly business reviews to govern the relationship, there are few issues to discuss. I have been extremely pleased with the support provided by BPA and consider this to be a true partnership which will help British Gas as it develops to meet our strategy.”
He went on to acknowledge that, “the timescales were very challenging, but BPA have worked seamlessly with the British Gas project team to deliver on time and to budget with very positive feedback from the business users. They have demonstrated a willingness to adopt the new approach and provided excellent support throughout this.”
In terms of learnings from the project, British Gas reflected that having senior management buy-in and good project leads, both on the client and supplier side, was extremely important to ensure the project met its targets. They laid much importance on the investment in time in bringing all stakeholders together from the start to understand business requirements alongside system capabilities. The hot-house sessions were effective in ensuring this. Frequent and open communication was also considered key, in order to maintain momentum, build confidence and ensure an agile approach to the system, build, configuration and implementation.