CASE STUDY BOOK
PGE DYSTRYBUCJA: WITH WELL CALCULATED ENERGY.
PGE Dystrybucja is a company which is one of the largest electricity distributors in Poland and employs about 10,000 people. With its network infrastructure, it ensures stable electricity supplies to over 5.4 million customers, living in a total area of about 122,000 km², which accounts for about 38% of the country’s territory. It has 7 field branches, including those in Zamość and Rzeszów.
The Zamość Branch operates a power grid and provides services to customers in south-eastern Poland, in two voivodeships: Lubelskie and Podkarpackie. It operates on an area of over 15,200 km², serving about 434,000 customers from 27 cities and 141 communes. Electricity is transmitted by overhead and cable lines with a total length of 36,100 km.
The Rzeszów Branch operates in four voivodeships: Podkarpackie, Świętokrzyskie, Lubelskie and Małopolskie with a total area of over 16,300 km². Its range covers 147 communes. It serves almost 700,000 customers to whom it transmits electricity via overhead and cable lines with a total length of 39,300 km.
One of the priorities of PGE Dystrybucja’s operations is to continuously improve the quality of services provided. The company pursues this goal through the consistent development and modernization of its power infrastructure and the introduction of modern technological solutions to networks, power equipment as well as IT and telecommunications. The company’s two branches in Rzeszów and Zamość use Asseco’s proprietary system – AUMS Reading Data Acquisition (AUMS ADO), whose role is to handle all the processes involved in the acquisition of data from electricity meters. The solution consists of a central and mobile application installed on the PSION mobile devices based on the Windows CE operating system. However, over time, these devices used by controllers have faced major limitations, mainly due to their availability, price and technological barriers. Therefore, in 2019 PGE Dystrybucja decided to purchase new devices. Their operation required a modern mobile application. Asseco Poland was chosen to execute the project and the Company’s task was to build and implement the solution in the Rzeszów and Zamość branches.
The project began in October 2018 and lasted a year. The goal was to build and implement an application for electricity meters reading based on Google Android. The new solution was to enable the work on a number of devices using the Google Android operating system, as well as the application’s future development. An additional requirement was to maintain compatibility with AUMS ADO, so that the replacement of several hundred mobile devices could be carried out gradually.
In the first stage of the project, Asseco developed a prototype application that had to be compatible with the previous solution running on Windows CE. This was necessary for verifying the correct operation of the application on an ongoing basis. Full testing by the Asseco team was not possible without the support of the employees of PGE Dystrybucja, who, for a certain period of time, worked in parallel on two devices – the old, PSION type and the new one, with Android. It also allowed for testing various devices and verifying how they operated in the field, which made it easier to choose the best one.
The application’s improvements and adaptation concerned in particular the areas cooperating with various electricity meters read by an optical probe connected to a mobile device. In addition, controllers’ field work was optimized. The application itself, although adapted to a specific device model selected by PGE Dystrybucja, may run even on an Android smartphone.
The project, which ended in October 2019, was carried out by 6 Asseco specialists, who reacted to the client’s suggestions and needs on an ongoing basis. By the end of 2020, PGE Dystrybucja is planning to replace the remaining devices so that all its employees will use Asseco’s modern solution. The company also assumes further development of the new application in order to take full advantage of its capabilities, e.g. in the area of camera operation and GPS navigation.
launch of the project and adaptation of the application’s prototype version to work in the production environment
handing over the first version of the mobile application to PGE, commencing tests
production launch in the Zamość Branch
production launch in the Rzeszów Branch
acceptance of works and completion of the project
At present, PGE Dystrybucja has a modern solution which offers great configuration capabilities not only when it comes to the devices used by the controllers, but also the application itself. It provides greater convenience of program use and increases the security level of sensitive data.
The launch of the new application based on the Android operating system has provided PGE Dystrybucja’s branches with access to a wide range of modern mobile devices – from smartphones to complex industrial devices. Owing to this, currently the branches do not face any limitations related to the choice of a supplier and equipment.
The solution’s implementation has brought new functions, thanks to which, e.g. in case of an anomaly during meter reading, the controller can take a photograph of the measuring system and link it to a specific business process.
The implementation of the project has increased the comfort and efficiency of the controllers’ field work. It has significantly improved the operation speed of the device and the installed application, and thus shortened the time needed to prepare an order to read the electricity meter, which currently takes about 10 seconds.
Project in numbers:
year was the duration of the project
experts from Asseco participated in the project
seconds is the reading order preparation time
devices that will ultimately use the application
employees who will ultimately benefit from the solution
“The project was aimed at streamlining the work of people who obtain readings from electricity meters in the field. The new software on the new devices works much faster than the old solution, it also offers great development opportunities. Additionally, the security level of sensitive data stored on the devices has been increased through the integration with the MDM class software. We have been gradually preparing devices with AUMS ADO installed and handing them over to further controllers. We have been also collecting comments and observations from the users and passing them on to the contractor on an ongoing basis. We are committed to further development of the application, using the new capabilities of the devices” – said Marek Osiński, acting Head of the IT Department, PGE Dystrybucja’s Rzeszów Branch.
“We have been cooperating with the PGE Group for years, implementing projects of varying degrees of complexity, providing maintenance, implementation and development services. A significant strengthening of this cooperation was the choice of Asseco as a partner for further development of systems and applications for the PGE Group’s company. I am glad that we have been trusted once again” – said Magdalena Kaczmarek, Sales Director, Asseco Poland.
“From the beginning, the implementation of the project was a big challenge. When working in the field, while obtaining readings from electricity meters, any problem with the application is a very big nuisance for the user. In practice, each type of a meter has a different driver, communication with it is also different, so we wanted our application to increase the comfort of controllers’ daily work. It is a big step in the development of one of our flagship systems – AUMS ADO” – said Dawid Materna, Project Manager, Asseco Poland.
PRAŽSKÁ PLYNÁRENSKÁ: IMPLEMENTATION WITHOUT FAULTS.
Pražská Plynárenská, a.s. has been one of the major energy suppliers in the Czech Republic. Its subsidiaries are, among others, Pražská Plynárenská Distribuce, a.s. (PPD) and Pražská Plynárenská Servis Distribuce, a.s. (PPSD), which operate gas pipelines, spanning approximately 4,500 km, and distribute natural gas to some 420,000 consumption sites in the Capital of Prague and adjacent municipalities.
PPD’s task is to ensure the safe operation, maintenance and modernization of the gas distribution network in the Czech Republic’s capital. The company has high-quality technical facilities and employees with years of experience in the operation and construction of gas installations. In turn, PPSD provides, among others, comprehensive services related to operating, repairing and maintaining these installations. The company also operates in the area of the so-called gas reception installations and industrial gas pipelines.
PPD and PPSD wanted to improve their mutual cooperation and therefore they decided to implement the “Mobile support for field workers” project. It aimed at improving communication and ensuring better efficiency of maintenance activities in the field. Asseco Central Europe (ACE), a company from the Asseco Group, was responsible for the implementation of the solution.
The goal of the project, that started in 2016, was to put in place software supporting PPSD field staff in the following areas:
- technical audit and inspection activities
- elimination of malfunctions
- network leakage checks
The new system was to enable PPD – the distribution system operator – to plan maintenance tasks in the Operational and Technical Information System and commission them to the contractor – PPSD.
The first stage of the project included a thorough analysis of the client’s needs. It served as the basis on which ACE created a detailed concept of the new system’s development. In the next stage, the company produced and then delivered a mobile solution, offering the following functionalities:
- work order synchronization, including all supplementary information for workers delivered straight to their places of operation
- navigation to the distribution network equipment or to the place of work
- work description, distribution system equipment list and details
- distribution system objects visualization on a map, including descriptive information
- interactive forms for specific equipment or type of work
- keeping records of faults detected on site
- reporting back on the job done, including the number of hours worked, material used, vehicles used and costing
- creating photographic documentation and automatically assigning it to work orders
The input for creating a breakdown of jobs consists of various types of work orders from the Operational and Technical Information System, which a dispatcher assigns to individual field workers. In their mobile devices (tablets), the field workers have an interactive inventory of assigned work orders available, which can be filtered by priority or planned completion date.
As part of the project, ACE also created a new interface for solutions cooperating with the application, which ensured its integration with the Operational and Technical Information System and the Geographic Information System (GIS). The company was also responsible for carrying out training courses for personnel.
Asseco Central Europe’s application is built on the technologically advanced Workforce Management Solution (WFMS) technology, customized for Pražská Plynárenská. The application is designed for mobile devices powered by Android and currently used by approximately 80 PPSD field workers.
- Support for assigning and accepting jobs between the distribution system operator (PPD) and the key service provider (PPSD) in relation to the process optimization.
- Overview of current work progress.
- Elimination of paper-based work orders, records and manually created reports, resulting in significant cost savings.
- Optimization of labor resources and reduction of the time required for work orders.
- Availability of a variety of up-to-date information in one place in the field to support decision-making processes.
- Ongoing data collection regarding the distribution system equipment condition, based on technical audit and inspection activities (malfunctions, faults, diagnostic metering), used as the supporting data for planning a network recovery.
Project in numbers:
PPSD field workers using the solution
orders sent via the app per month
of gas pipelines
gas consumption sites
ORANGE POLSKA: DIGITAL WAREHOUSE OF OPPORTUNITIES.
Orange Polska, a company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE), is part of the Orange Group, a leading provider of telecommunications services in Poland, Europe and world-wide. Orange provides mobile and fixed-line telecommunications services, including voice calls, news and content services, as well as Internet access and television. It also offers ICT (Information and Communications Technology), leased lines and data transmission services. Additionally, it is involved in the construction of telecommunications infrastructure, the sales of telecommunications equipment, and electricity trading.
In Poland, the company is a leader on the mobile telephony, Internet and data transmission markets. It is the leading operator offering comprehensive telecommunications solutions available throughout the country. Its aim is to ensure the highest customer satisfaction by becoming the most popular provider of telecommunications, multimedia and entertainment services, using modern technologies.
The constant development of the offer and the growing number of customers made the operator decide to launch a modern environment for their service and replace one of the existing billing systems with a new, more efficient solution. In this way, Orange Polska wanted to streamline the billing of about 1 million services provided to several hundred thousand B2B subscribers and several dozen operators from the wholesale market. For the implementation of this demanding project it chose Asseco Poland.
The goal of the project was to implement a modern, flexible billing system based on OBRM (Oracle Billing and Revenue Management), which would provide Orange with the possibility of further expansion and access to advanced services. It was to operate not only online, but also allow for the registration of all operations in real mode with full customer history. Asseco Poland was obliged to meet a number of guidelines, including very high ratios of invoice compliance between the new and old systems.
The key part of the project was to turn off the old solution, which required one of the largest data migrations on the Polish telecommunications market and one of the largest in Europe. All functionalities of the old system had to be reflected in the new billing environment (the so called AS-IS) in order to be able to fully map the existing business processes.
The biggest challenge during the implementation was the size and complexity of the solution, the interdependence of modules and the lack of coherent and unified code quality management, forced by external factors such as the use of various technologies and systems. Its implementation required from Asseco to organize the work of programmers who were under great time pressure. They were also involved in many development and testing environments, and were additionally bound by their complicated and time-consuming procedures for the installation of environments.
Another big challenge was to keep up with the changes and new functionalities, which in the meantime were introduced to the old billing system. It required a thorough verification of the quality of implemented software at each stage of the project. To this end, the project team had to perform acceptance tests for about 5,000 test cases (TC). The preparation of such a large-scale system would not have been possible without the use of ACTE PLATFORM, Asseco’s proprietary solution, which ensured the automation of internal tests, thus minimizing the risk of possible errors. This increased the efficiency of the entire process and reduced the number of repetitive testing activities. Thanks to ACTE, the changes were implemented in the Continuous Delivery model, which, both during the implementation and the first months of the system’s operation, was an important element of the project’s success. Due to the importance of the solution and its complexity, a set of regression tests was performed each time when even the smallest changes were introduced – the tests lasted only several dozen minutes.
During the migration, within 72 hours, the registration data, service data, a set of billing records, as well as historical data of Orange Polska’s customers using nearly 1 million services were transferred. This took place during one operation, while maintaining the level of provided services and ongoing operational work, carried out to the extent necessary to meet the regulator’s requirements. The project, which ended in 2018, was carried out in close cooperation between the teams of Orange and Asseco, without which the implementation of this undertaking would not have been possible.
- Definition of requirements
- Implementation of changes in the system and integrated environment
- Solution and migration tests
- Migration of customers to the new system
- Production start-up and solution switching
- System stabilization
- Update of the Core Oracle BRM system to the latest version available
The implementation of the new system has significantly improved the billing of subscribers from the B2B sector and partially with wholesale market operators. An additional advantage turned out to be the architecture of the solution, which enables its further expansion. Thanks to the project implementation, Orange Polska has now a modern, scalable and efficient billing system, which is consistent with the needs of such a large telecommunications operator.
The new solution has provided Orange Polska with a high level of configuration and personalization, as well as easy integration with other systems. It has also allowed to shorten “Time to Market” for invoicing additional goods and services.
Project in numbers:
Asseco specialists involved in the project
hours lasted the system’s migration
TC as part of acceptance tests
cups of coffee have been drunk
services billed via the system
“The new billing system offers advanced convergent services. In the future we will be able to develop the system’s functionalities and adapt it to our needs on an ongoing basis. All this translates into a higher quality of service for our customers, which is our primary goal” – said Bruno Chomel, CIO, Orange Polska.
“Within the framework of our cooperation with Orange, which started over 25 years ago, we have taken part in many IT projects of different difficulty scale. Our task has been to develop and maintain selected groups of systems. We are glad that we could once again support Orange in building modern solutions. This is an example of great customer confidence and a confirmation of the Asseco team’s competence” – said Paweł Piwowar, Vice President of the Management Board, Asseco Poland.
“It was a breakthrough project, the implementation of which proved to be a huge challenge. We prepared a new billing system, transferred client data with the full history and did not disturb the company’s operations, and the switchover between the solutions went smoothly. This success would not have been possible without the huge commitment of the team and technological support provided by the ACTE system. Owing to it, we have kept our balance during the execution of demanding and complicated activities” – said Milena Siepiela, Project Manager, Asseco Poland.
“Thanks to the use of ACTE, we were able to ensure quick and safe verification of the system before its production start-up, both during the design works and during the implementation of subsequent modifications. The automation of regression tests was one of the most important processes that enabled the effective and, above all, safe execution of this complex project. There was no room for a compromise between quality and delivery time, and it was the ACTE system that enabled us to successfully achieve all the objectives” – said Sławomir Madej, Chief Operating Officer, Asseco Poland.