Water company sales and customer service software
Modelling in Excel helped us to create a highly effective web app, enabling our client to grow from a start-up to £5.0m+ annual turnover.
Web application helped Water and Waste Services company, Brightwater, grow from a start-up to £5.0m+ annual turnover
The Client Challange
Brightwater was created to build on the opportunities created
when Scotland’s commercial water and wastewater supply services were deregulated and opened up to competition. To be successful, suppliers must support consumption efficiencies and offer competitive quotations whilst maintaining profit margins.
Initially Brightwater wanted a tool that could integrate the Market Data Set (MDS) for over 200,000 supply points across Scotland. It had to enable a large sales force including both direct employees and an affiliate network, to create competitive, consistent and accurate estimates while delivering a sufficient margin for the company and controlling confidential data. Rules on the margins that could be offered differed for the partners and utilities brokers, who act as sales agents and introducers for Brightwater, and inhouse sales and support teams, who sell directly, so access to the tool needed to be tiered.
We also had to allow for anticipated follow-on development. Accelerating
business growth would require Brightwater’s operational processes to be
systemised and digitised in a similar way, to support effective service delivery at scale.
We place great importance on getting the brief right at the outset and we always spend time fully understanding the business and stakeholder needs.
We took a phased approach to ensure rapid roll-out and relief of priority pain points. Meanwhile, we spent time considering the organisation’s long term needs so we could future-proof development and keep lifecycle costs down.
By modelling complex cost calculations and margin rule algorithms in Excel, we could help define and agree the parameters that would need to be used in the application. This ensured the tool would perform well in user acceptance testing and that the outputs would match expectations.
With a system involving such complex calculations and workflows, testing is critically important. In addition to our own testing processes, we provided early access to a staging environment so the client could fully test features before deploying the application.
Supported by the sales application, Brightwater grew from a start-up business in Februrary 2016, to a supplier with 4,750 premises under management and a turnover in excess of £5m by Feb 2021. The results of our professional partnership have led to a long term and ongoing relationship.
We went on to develop a coordinated suite of software tools that allowed them to switch from managing their accounts across a series of synchronised spreadsheets to a single, co-ordinated, workflow system. This allowed them to systemise more of their processes, driving up efficiencies and ensuring that they comply fully with the strict regulatory requirements for water and wastewater service operations.
The system features a bespoke ticketing system that ensures requests are carried out within given timeframes and allows tasks to be completed by any available, authorised, member of the Brightwater team. This ensures that faults are reported quickly and efficiently. Meter reading and reporting is also monitored within the set timescales and the system reconciles these with billing procedures.
"We were really impressed by the professionalism and thoroughness with which the OnlyExcel team approached our estimating tool, and the web app they built has performed brilliantly in the field. They took their time to fully understand our business model, key drivers and our core principles, so it was only natural that we’d engage them again to further develop the platform - optimise our efficiency and performance by consolidating functionality into a single system. What they have created has helped make us one of the most efficient and competitive independent water services companies operating in Scotland."