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Digitalisation is sweeping across the energy market bringing efficiency, investment and innovative solutions to facilitate the industry’s Net Zero transformation. From large-scale customer systems to focused process improvers, digital solutions are becoming commonplace in the world of energy codes as well as the wider industry.

ElectraLink is the code administrator for the Distribution Connection and Use of System Agreement (DCUSA) and was tasked with developing a digitalised solution to improve the code for its users. After several successful digitalisation projects we completed for other codes, we applied our expertise through a customer-first approach to put users’ challenges and concerns at the heart of the new solution.

Workshop feedback and research

In September 2021, ElectraLink held a series of online workshops with DCUSA members. All types of users, from energy suppliers to distribution network operators, both heavy and light users, and even a few users who very rarely use DCUSA, joined the workshops. These sessions were designed to really understand the experience members had with our service. We discussed the parts of the DCUSA website that worked well, some of the challenges they had faced, and the areas where improvements were needed. We then went away and reviewed all the feedback and were able to identify common themes and pain points to guide solution development.

Key insights from the workshops

Four key areas of findings emerged from the feedback we received during the workshops:

  • Search and access – Members want to be able to find information easily on the DCUSA website. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the key updates and outputs regarding a change proposal, especially when it concerns historic changes. Users believe the search functionality on the website also needs a few more advanced features.
  • Clarity – Some of the information found on the website can lack clarity with members not always fully understanding the information’s context or its implications. Information that has been summarised in a chart or table (like the Change Register) may also lack the right level of detail at the highest level, with users having to dig deeper to find the key information required.
  • Analysis and assessment –Many members are finding it difficult to fully understand a Change being proposed, but also more importantly the impact it will have on their business. This is especially the case for those members who are not involved in the Change Proposal working group or the consultation process.
  • Engagement – There are few suppliers who get involved in the working groups and consultations. The suppliers who do get involved can feel isolated as they cannot corroborate and share their experiences and ideas with other similar businesses. Some members want to contribute to a change proposal (but do not want to be part of the working group) or have a question to ask but feel they do not know how to get involved.

Improvements through digitalisation of DCUSA

To resolve and simplify these concerns, ElectraLink recommended a new digitalisation solution and the DCUSA Board approved this for implementation. The solution will involve improving the three areas of the DCUSA Information Framework:

  1. Input – Improve the quality of the data going in.
  2. Organise – Turn data into information and make it easier to find.
  3. Output – Improve the quality of information coming out.

This will be done through 19 actionable steps which address the four key areas of findings derived from the workshops. The steps include but are not limited to:

  • Rebuilding the site navigation
  • Redesigning the layout, menu and content areas
  • A new advanced search functionality
  • Remodelling the Change Register section
  • Moving Change Request Forms online which are easier to complete
  • Introducing video guides with topics that focus on how to use the website and understand the content
  • The addition of tooltips, a comments section and discussion forum on changes
  • Expansion of the critical friend role which will provide more direction and support for users
  • Better release timeline information and change proposal linkage to cross-industry codes

This is an exciting development with all work schedule to be completed by the end March 2022. By introducing the 19 steps, we are confident it will make a big improvement to the current DCUSA service and we are hoping encourage further engagement with more Party members.

If you have any questions about our road to digitalisation or would like to learn more, please contact DCUSA@electralink.co.uk. Our Advisory Services team offers full-service digitalisation consultancy, support and strategy development to futureproof systems and processes. Find out more on our website.