EDP, Energias De Portugal: Improving customer satisfaction with Google

About EDP (Energias De Portugal)

A world leader in renewable energy, EDP (Energias De Portugal) is a global utility company providing electricity and gas to 10 million customers.

Industries: Utilities
Location: Portugal

EDP uses Google App Engine and Firebase to improve customer satisfaction across its customer mobile app and website, with improved uptime, push notifications, and faster page loading.

Google Cloud Results

  • Enables easy scaling and zero down-time for customer service app
  • Reduces page loading time by up to 90% for customer service website
  • Increases Net Promoter Score for customer service website by 81% in 6 months
  • Reduces deploy time from days to less than an hour and increases application uptime

Improved mobile app review score from 1.9 to 4.7 out of 5.

EDP is one of the world’s leading utilities companies, with a presence in 14 countries in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. It is an end-to-end operator involved in the generation, distribution, and trading of electricity and gas, with a supply chain that is being transformed by new technologies. “With decentralised generation, multi-directional energy flows, smart grids, electric cars, and offshore wind, there are a lot of new technologies that are changing the flow of energy,” says Joao Maia, Head of the Agile Development Center and Agile Center of Excellence at EDP. “In order to succeed with these new ways of working, we need state-of the art technical solutions in order to reduce time to market, and to deploy innovative products.”

“We needed to change our deployment process and give the teams a DevOps culture. We want to empower each individual DevOps team to be responsible for the full lifecycle of the application from design to development, deployment, maintenance, operation, and monitoring.”

Joao Maia, Head of the Agile Development Center and Agile Center of Excellence, EDP

As a large company responsible for diverse operations, EDP has a complex IT infrastructure with over 400 applications. That’s why it looked for a way to make its customer-facing applications work more effectively, both independently and as part of an integrated system. Google Cloud Platform provided the ideal environment for the new solution.

“A few years ago, we started deploying certain agile techniques and achieved some good results, but we needed to change our deployment process and give the teams a DevOps culture,” says Joao. “We want to empower each individual DevOps team to be responsible for the full lifecycle of the application from design to development, deployment, maintenance, operation, and monitoring.”

“When we implemented Google App Engine, our customer experience increased significantly and we understood that moving to the cloud gave us real benefits. We really appreciate the power and the flexibility it gives us.”

Joao Maia, Head of the Agile Development Center and Agile Center of Excellence, EDP

Google App Engine for improved performance

Large utility companies need to maintain complex supply chains while delivering the best possible service to their customers. Many of EDP’s IT systems were legacy systems not designed to integrate with one another, leading to inefficient delivery of data. In particular, EDP was experiencing problems with the performance of its customer account mobile app, which allows customers to check their usage, account, and payment details for both electricity and gas accounts. “Many of the core systems had scheduled maintenance windows that usually started when our stores closed at the end of the day,” says Joao. “That meant mobile customers using the app in the evening struggled to access their data.” EDP also needed additional capacity to meet peaks in demand.

To address these issues, EDP rebuilt the app in only two months using Google App Engine on Google Cloud Platform. The app’s server-side component was migrated from EDP’s data center to the cloud and redesigned to take advantage of cloud capabilities with Google Cloud SQL and Google Cloud Datastore. The autoscaling functionality in Google App Engine means the app easily scales to meet peaks in demand, and including near-cache features means customers can access their data even when EDP’s back-end systems are under maintenance.

“When we implemented Google App Engine, our customer experience increased significantly and we understood that moving to the cloud gave us real benefits,” says Joao. “We really appreciate the power and the flexibility it gives us.”

“We deployed the new website in March 2017, and in only 6 months we have increased our NPS by 81%. We have full control of the application and can monitor and quickly respond to customer feedback, supporting an A/B testing methodology.” Joao Maia, Head of the Agile Development Center and Agile Center of Excellence, EDP

Joao Maia, Head of the Agile Development Center and Agile Center of Excellence, EDP

Firebase for better notifications

Along with Google App Engine, EDP has moved its mobile apps to Firebase to improve the notification and authentication mechanism on its apps. “We were struggling with notifications, and Firebase enabled us to really simplify this process and make it more reliable,” says Joao. “The customer feedback was very good.”

Increased customer satisfaction

The new app has delivered significant gains for EDP, in terms of both performance and customer satisfaction. After migrating its customer service app to Google App Engine, the average page loading time decreased by almost 90% and its App Store customer reviews rating jumped from 1.9 to 4.7 in just a couple of weeks, with downloads increasing as a result. Redesigning the EDP website with Google products has further improved customer satisfaction, as Joao explains:

“By using agile DevOps and continuous delivery pipeline with Google Cloud Platform, EDP was able to reduce the deployment time from days to less than an hour, without application downtime. The reliability provided by the GCP increased significantly the application reliability and uptime” José Velez, Head of Application Management and Continuous Delivery, EDP

José Velez, Head of Application Management and Continuous Delivery, EDP

“We deployed the new website in March 2017, and in only six months we have increased our Net Promoter Score by 81%. We have full control of the application and can monitor and quickly respond to customer feedback, supporting an A/B testing methodology.”

“By using agile DevOps and continuous delivery pipeline with Google Cloud Platform, EDP was able to reduce the deployment time from days to less than an hour, without application downtime”, says José Velez. “The reliability provided by the GCP increased significantly the application resilience and uptime”

Now EDP is using Docker with Google Kubernetes Engine to build a hybrid network for improved infrastructure security. “It will be built on the cloud with an on-premises backup in case of an emergency,” says Joao. “As this infrastructure is of national importance, it is a strategic and technically complex project. It is just one of several projects we have under development using Google Cloud Platform.”

About EDP (Energias De Portugal)

A world leader in renewable energy, EDP (Energias De Portugal) is a global utility company providing electricity and gas to 10 million customers.

Industries: Utilities
Location: Portugal
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