Case Study: Relieving Technical Debt and Powering the Future

Case Study

Relieving Technical Debt and Powering the Future

Leading energy and telecommunications support company transforms its customer-facing application suite from pending obsolescence to award-winning user favorite.

Today's tech-savvy consumers have extremely high expectations when it comes to the user experience, speed, performance, and reliability of the mobile apps they use.

The Client

National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) develops and supports innovative technology solutions for utility cooperatives and telecommunications providers nationwide.

Relevant Background

To maintain its position as a world-class provider of energy and telecommunications solutions, NISC recognized a need to upgrade its customer-facing, mission-critical application suite, the iVUE® AppSuite.

Without these critical upgrades, the application suite risked gradual obsolescence, as modern iOS standards surpassed its core functionality. Delaying the upgrades would necessitate extensive refactoring of the codebase, resulting in costly delays to NISC’s release schedule.

NISC desired to take its existing, functional application and enhance it, while maintaining velocity on the organization’s demand for ongoing development and feature releases.

NISC leadership recognized that time spent redeveloping the application’s core functionality from the ground up left room for competitors to catch up or surpass NISC. They also recognized that if they didn’t address the accruing technical debt, they would eventually pay the price.

Upgrade Requirements

The iVUE AppSuite is an iOS application originally developed by NISC to equip utility and telecommunications providers with real-time operations data to improve efficiency across all departments.

The application's core functionality included:

  • Secure user authentication
  • Layered and searchable on- and offline maps of equipment, facilities, and electric lines
  • Equipment tracking
  • Equipment-repair workflows
  • Meter-reading and bill-collection workflows
  • Workforce GPS tracking
  • Power outage management and recovery data
  • Accounting, billing, and customer service integrations

To maintain the company's position as an industry leader, NISC's executive team made the decision to redesign the iVUE AppSuite with a focus on improving reliability and efficiency, enhancing user experience, adding several new capabilities, and extending integration with other NISC products and services.

The Solution

With our full-lifecycle software engineering services, OCI was an ideal choice to get NISC’s iVUE AppSuite upgraded without interrupting the company’s forward momentum.

NISC needed more than a team of developers to enhance the application’s code. NISC relied on us for strategic expertise in helping elevate the application’s customer-facing functionality, and for a thoughtful approach that would support simultaneous development and updates to the core platform.

Our team of engineers analyzed the project parameters and orchestrated an effective strategy to complete the following upgrades, all while maintaining existing functionality and expected release cycles:

  • Modernizing code for iOS compatibility
  • Re-architecting for long-term integration capabilities
  • Adding desired functionality while maintaining existing functionality
  • Introducing best practices to improve overall quality

Core Technologies

  • iOS Core-Data with MySQL
  • Secure RESTful web services
  • ESRI, Apple Maps, and other mapping technologies
  • iOS Native Notifications
  • iOS Core Location
  • iOS Adaptive View Controllers

Business Outcomes

The upgraded iVUE AppSuite is an award-winning, state-of-the-art application that empowers electric and telecommunications providers with critical, real-time data. With its enhanced features and functionality, the app suite allows users to make better decisions for line crews, streamlines operations, improves worker safety, and increases overall customer satisfaction.

Additionally, we proposed and supported NISC in developing a new mobile-friendly UI design that was recognized by NISC’s primary geographic information system provider, ESRI. This design was later incorporated into other ESRI applications and services.

Finally, upon project completion, a number of intuitive functions were added to the application, alleviating the need for extensive employee training and reducing the frequency of support calls.

Today, the iVUE AppSuite is a user-friendly, out-of-the-box tool that brings tremendous value to NISC's workflow.

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