Shawcor, a world-leading integrated energy services company, needed to replace a 20-year old legacy system, that was hampering their digital enablement strategy. Working with implementation partner Do iT Lean, and using the OutSystems platform, they delivered the new iTrack mobile app and customer portal. Integrated with Shawcor’s ERP system, the new solution has simplified the management of each customer’s inventory. The mobile inspection app has eliminated paper-based inspections of customer’s assets. And, customers now never need to ask for asset status updates, as the customer portal provides real-time status visibility for every asset that Shawcor manages.
9 months to deliver (back office, mobile inspection app, and customer portal)
Improved CX for 300+ customers
Managing huge (1 million pieces) customer inventories
Mobile app for asset inspection, with off-line working
“It’s the ease of accessing information that’s the interesting feature for customers. They can go into the customer portal, and look up the job, and see the real-time status of each asset that we manage for them.”
Legacy Complexity was a Blocker to Digital Enablement
Challenge - Shawcor specializes in tech products for pipeline services, serving petrochemical and industrial markets. Headquartered in Toronto, Shawcor has 6,000 employees and over 100 manufacturing and service facilities in 25 countries around the world.
Shawcor’s executive leadership had put the company on a mission to expand the business with a digital enablement strategy. However, as Dan Lefebvre, Head of Delivery, Digital Solutions explains, a legacy system stood in the way.
"We urgently needed to replace a 20-year old legacy system in our Oilfield Asset Management ("OAM") business. It consisted of three different and complex databases and made it impossible for us to deliver disruption, digitization, and data visibility.”
The new solution would need to integrate with Shawcor’s IFS ERP system and provide secure access for customers to track and trace the status of all the assets Shawcor managed for them. This was not a trivial undertaking, as many of the customers had huge inventories of 1 million or more pieces.
Low-Code Development Gets Digital Innovation On-track
Solution - Working closely with Do iT Lean, Shawcor settled on a four-layer IT architecture:
- Secure access via web or mobile apps
- A low-code platform for application development
- MuleSoft as the universal connectivity bus
- IFS ERP backend.
Shawcor chose OutSystems as its low-code development platform, and the track and trace “iTrack” solution was the first significant project that their team undertook with the platform. iTrack would need to meet the complex needs of the OAM business, support 10 manufacturing sites in Canada and Mexico, and provide user-friendly access for staff at 300+ customers.
Developed by three developers with the support of Do iT Lean, the iTrack solution went live just nine months later. iTrack provides a consolidated and modern cloud-based solution with a shared database and seamlessly integrates with the IFS ERP system.
iTrack has three main applications:
- Back-office: The new back-office application simplifies the management of each customer’s inventory by streamlining the receiving, inspection, repair, and shipping processes.
- Mobile inspection app: The mobile service application is used to inspect each customer’s assets. It supports full offline working if the service is taking place in remote locations with no connectivity.
- Customer portal: A modern web portal allows Shawcor’s customers to understand which assets Shawcor is managing, each asset’s status, and up to date information on receiving, repairing, and shipping.
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Digital Asset Management Improves CX and Efficiency
Results - Having escaped the restrictions of the complex legacy system, Shawcor now has the freedom to iteratively develop and rapidly extend the functionality based on customer feedback and new emerging requirements.
Customers have responded very favorably to the system, and the efficiency gains are considerable for Shawcor. "Now, instead of customers needing to email or call, they can quickly go into the customer portal, and look up the job. They can access inspection reports and see the real-time status of each asset that we manage for them," explains Henri Tausch, Senior Vice President Corporate Development and Solutions.
Henri continues, “The days are gone when we had to exchange documents or other files to answer questions. It’s such a better experience for our customers and has freed-up a lot of productivity within our company.”
Shawcor expects improved customer experience to boost customer retention. For example, one customer has said they’d not do business with any supplier that could not provide similar self-service, and data transparency.
In addition to the efficiency savings, the accuracy and timeliness of data is a significant boon for the company. One database, real-time integration with ERP, and the elimination of manual, paper-based asset inspections—thanks to the mobile app—have all contributed to a dramatic improvement in data reliability and transparency.
Rapid low-code application development has won IT a new sense of trust in the company. As Henri puts it, “IT has moved to the front of the business, driving the transformation of the company.”
Henri also says that low-code is helping agile adoption. “OutSystems allows us to experiment and try things, which improves our engagement with the rest of the business. Agile forces you to keep iterating and keep meeting requirements. The faster pace of low-code development helps foster the business engagement needed for agile success.”
Looking ahead, the Projects and Development team will be using OutSystems for multiple other initiatives, and their new-found agility will help Shawcor innovate at speed to leapfrog competitors. Projects in the pipeline include an RFID enabled health and safety app to help safeguard people working with heavy pipes and machinery in the field, plus potentially 12 more products that are under evaluation.