Vermont Gas (VGS) is a leader in energy efficiency and innovation, offering a clean, safe, affordable choice for over 53,000 homes, businesses, and institutions in northwest Vermont. They pride themselves on providing timely, comprehensive service for all their customers, ensuring they have heat, hot water, and energy to get through the cold New England winter.
However, VGS noted they were having some trouble getting service orders completed efficiently. They found they didn’t have enough trucks to fulfill their service orders, employees were working overtime, and customers weren’t getting their problems solved in a timely way. “We knew our existing reports were dated and challenging to maintain,” said Eric Hillmuth, Customer Technology Solutions Manager at Vermont Gas. “To solve this problem, we needed to implement an enterprise BI platform that will let us use data to address our business challenges like service quality and workforce efficiency.”
Launching the Data Rocket
If VGS wanted to deliver the caliber of service their customers expected, they needed accessible, healthy data they could trust in real time. And, to make sure everything runs as efficiently as possible, they wanted to have accurate data reporting available to anyone in the company who needed it.
To achieve this level of data health, VGS united four superheroes of data: Talend, Snowflake, Power BI on Azure, and Passerelle to coordinate it all — creating the Passerelle Data Rocket. VGS now has comprehensive, near real-time account information. With Talend, data that once existed in separate silos is now seamlessly integrated, streamlining customer information, billing systems, payment providers, and online account information to provide a superior customer experience. For data warehousing, Snowflake was the right solution because it scales significantly better than they ever thought possible. VGS was able to load their server data from all the way back to 1965 for maybe a few cents without even breaking a sweat. And to understand what all that real-time data means, VGS is using Power BI for their business analytics solution. “It was the best choice for visual analytics,” says Hillmuth. “The PowerBI offering best fit for our excel savvy users with rich features and easy to stand up services.”
Hillmuth noted, “You can’t put a value on a solution that works end to end like the Passerelle Data Rocket. We fit better with Passerelle from the get-go and have since had a lot of success.”
A successful launch
Thanks to the successful Data Rocket launch, Vermont Gas employees have new reporting capabilities they didn’t have before. The company expects to be able to reduce overtime and provide more efficient management of service orders. This will improve employee satisfaction; with only 25 service technicians, employee satisfaction critical to keep delivering great service to customers. Happy employees lead to happy customers.
In addition, the Passerelle Data Rocket improves service order efficiency at a very reasonable cost. The solution was quick to implement as well. With Snowflake’s flexibility to only pay for what they use, VGS was able to put the Data Rocket into action during downtime in their existing projects.
Where will the Rocket go?
Hillmuth foresees all kinds of opportunities for improving customer satisfaction, introducing new products,and creating even more employee satisfaction with healthy, accessible data. The Passerelle Data Rocket can scale to support all data and all use cases, delivering further ROI on customer data in new areas like consumption and billing.
“Together with Talend, the Passerelle Data Rocket gives us the flexibility and confidence that the tool will do what we need it to. Unlike our legacy systems, you don’t need to be a software engineer to build powerful integrations,” says Hillmuth.
As VGS transitions to a post carbon business model, Hillmuth expects to leverage the Data Rocket to help develop new products and strategies. In the next six to nine months, VGS plans to expand the number of data sources that are being pulled into the Data Rocket to gain more insights. With their next priority being to focus on using data to perform preventative maintenance on heating equipment. This will prevent late night calls in the dead of a Vermont winter where a technician needs to drive out to a customer in need.
And Vermont Gas is building more assets with Talend like using cloud-based data warehousing services to decrease reliance on on-premises infrastructure, improving business intelligence capabilities, and staying on the leading edge of technology. Hillmuth says, “The Passerelle Data Rocket allows us to make more intelligent business decisions, and that can only lead to better experiences for our customers.”