A merger between two multi-utilities, Danish Eniig has spent considerable time building new business and IT processes within the new company. One of its aims is to scale up their ability to connect more customers to the fibre grid by opening up their infrastructure to more players. To do this, they require powerful, user-friendly and flexible IT solutions.
It was in the summer of 2016 that EnergiMidt and Himmerlands Elforsyning (HEF) merged and became Denmark’s third largest energy company, covering a geographical area roughly the size of a quarter of the country. Business areas covered by the newest of Denmark’s energy groups covers electricity and heat delivery, streetlights, energy savings and fibre broadband.
Solidarity, corporation and dialogue between the two equal partners that make up Eniig is central to their philosophy, said Mikael Christensen, Head of Project and Documentation in Eniig’s fibre division, at last year’s Powel Days. Rather than having one of the merged companies take the leading role in the new business, they were determined to cooperate to find the best overall solutions for everyone.
“Prior to the merger becoming official, we had already decided that we wanted to phase out the old systems and convert to a new one,” says Henriette Skov, Business consultant IT in Eniig. ”We wanted a solution where we could easily convert data from the old to the new systems and we found that 3-GIS would cover our needs well.”
Eniig and Powel have recently completed the demanding task of simultaneously converting the two previous systems used by EnergiMidt and HEF respectively into 3-GIS. The project was large and complex, and involved colleagues from across the company working together on implementing and learning the new system.
Eniig took a somewhat unorthodox approach to how they dealt with the transition from two companies to one, deciding on an “everything-in-one strategy.” Not only aiming at a fresh start in terms of new IT systems throughout, they also decided to bring both organisation together at the same time rather than one by one.
“The old EnergiMidt had been considering changing system platform for a while. We started looking at the various options and we found a great deal of differences between the available systems. The whole process of integration is a very big job and there are some systems that you cannot integrate at all,” says Maibritt Fyhn Nielsen, Documentation and Implementation Manager in Eniig.
“Making it all come together was a challenge, but we were determined to do the whole process in one go and getting all relevant employees up and running on the new system simultaneously. Even if it was a demanding process, we really believe that it was better to do it this way,” says Fyhn Nielsen.
Part of Eniig’s strategy going forward is that they want to open up the fibre grid. Today they own and maintain the infrastructure, and end users get their content from just one content provider.
Instead of this vertical structure, Eniig is going for a horizontal approach, giving content providers access to their infrastructure. In order to do this successfully, the company needs to have all their data in one place and this is where Powel and 3-GIS will play an important role.
“Powel’s strengths lies in our capability of creating value throughout the value chain as well as the fact that we have insight into other businesses. Once Eniig opens up the grid, their entire business processes will change, from the way they handle their data through to the processes for planning, documenting and building the infrastructure,” explains Tanja Rask Elbæk, Fibre Solution Manager in Powel.
“Additionally, there will be changes to the way they handle service and maintenance and it will be crucial for them to have the ability to integrate systems and share data from their documentation platform. Through the 3-GIS platform, we make this data accessible to them for easier sharing,” Rask Elbæk continues.
Prior to the merger, EnergiMidt had already been working closely with 3-GIS for a while. They knew they wanted to work differently and developed a business case where they looked at their current processes. One of the issues that became apparent was that they wanted to change the way they worked. From the old way of developing processes according to the systems, they turned it on its head and started working towards an approach where the systems support the business processes.
Flexibility and data access
Fyhn Nielsen and Skov points to the fact that 3-GIS is a web-based solution as one of the great benefits. With their old desktop solution, they were lacking flexibility and the ability to easily allow field workers access to the data. Another benefit to them is that modelling by hand will be a lot easier and quicker with the 3-GIS platform.
“Our main overall business goal for fibre is to be able to be scalable and forward-thinking by opening up for more than one service provider. This represents a huge change for the entire industry and Eniig wishes to take the lead here by facing the future with a brand new set-up,” says Fyhn Nilsen.
“When it comes down to specifics, one thing we really want to change in terms of how we work, is that we wanted to involve the contractors by giving them access to digital and mobile tools. When we imported a project into our old system, we did not draw the whole project. If there were changes, it was difficult to modify accordingly in the system and we sometimes had to start from scratch. We are hopeful that 3-GIS will allow us to easier make changes out in the field, she continues.”
An inspiring partnership
“We have already been working with Powel for many years on the energy side of the business, so Powel knows both the company and the people well. This makes it easier to have an open dialogue. From 3-GIS, we also get the impression that we are an important customer, even if ever so slightly different. Both Powel and 3-GIS listen to our needs, making it easy to work together to solve our challenges, says Skov.”
By own admission, Eniig is a demanding customer, extremely dedicated to their end goal. “For Powel, their dedication is just inspiring. We want to be a partner that meets the needs of our customers, and customers like Eniig keep us on our toes and push us to always deliver and meet their expectations. Denmark is far away from meeting EU targets for broadband access so we need fibre utilities to provide us with faster internet. I think it is fantastic that Powel can support the goals of Eniig and I am so excited to be working with them over the next few years, helping them reach their goals,” says Rask Elbæk.
“Our relationship with Powel and previously InformiGIS goes back some years and there have been some obvious changes through this time. We notice their ambitions of being a partner rather than just a supplier, so we are very positive about our work with them and the general direction Powel is moving in,” says Skov.
Eniig currently has over 100 000 active broadband customers and their goal is to be the leading fibre provider in Denmark by 2020. The project with Powel started in September 2016 and was finalised in May 2017. Powel’s role was to enable Eniig to deliver and build out as fast, securely and efficiently as possible, as well as delivering data migration, implementation and training.