Case Study: Readying a Large Public Utility to Stay at the Forefront of Technology

Case Studies Innovation + Transformation Technology

When a large, widespread public utility organization needed to enhance adoption of its IT systems, a custom training and communications-support program helped provide the tools to keep it on the cutting-edge of technology and efficiency in the years to come.

BY FUTURE STATE

A large public utility organization had provided years of services protecting consumers, safeguarding the environment, and assuring Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. Its critical support systems include providing discounted communications services to schools and libraries; offering lowered energy and cell phone bills for those in need; and providing assistive speech and relay services for the hearing impaired.

In order to provide these essential services, the utility organization needs modern, efficient IT systems. Yet it struggled with training and adoption of those systems due to an understaffed IT department that was responsible for deploying and supporting a disproportionate number of systems. In the past, the organization had relied on face-to-face instructor-led training, but with staff in three locations and in the field, this method led to inconsistent adoption of new systems. The large and varied team needed a way to stay up-to-date with its technology so it could provide critical utility services smoothly and reliably.

Listening to Find the Solution

Because of its large and dispersed workforce, the organization believed the solution to increased adoption would be to offer more computer-based training or eLearning, but it wasn’t sure what that program would look like or how to implement it. Future State was contracted to help solve these logistical training issues.

Rather than starting with a preconceived idea of what the solution may be, Future State began by examining and exploring the problem holistically. We met with stakeholders across the 11 divisions of the organization to better understand the reasons for lack of adoption.

Based on our discovery, we suggested an integrated set of solutions rather than exclusively focusing on computer-based training. We recommended an adoption campaign that included multiple training formats backed by solid communications-support systems.

Demonstrating the Model

To demonstrate the model, we implemented our integrated solution for one of the organization’s most critical system deployments—its Employee Tracking System. We developed a specific adoption strategy; built the communications-support system; and created a training system that included instructor-led training, eLearning, job aides, user guides and “lunch and learns.”

The Employee Tracking System achieved 100 percent compliance, with every employee trained and successfully using the system. In the end, we worked with the stakeholders to deliver a custom solution to meet the specific client needs, focused on communication and tailored to increase adoption based on what we heard from the employees who used the system every day. Thanks to that real-life example, the client saw the importance of clear and consistent communication and the value of a blended learning approach, strategies the organization can now apply to ensure the success of future programs.