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Dragonce Customer Story: HK Electric (App Development Platform)

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

In 2018, HK Electric began switching away from paper filing, which is a relatively slow working practice. Paper filing, the traditional working practice of many years, was used in internal departments, for tasks ranging from simple spreadsheets to patrol records. HK Electric invested in digitizing business functions, by making staff adopt the IT platforms eConnect and Dragonce, and by replacing paper filing with mobile apps.

When HK Electric staff were faced with working with mobile apps instead of paper filing, they expressed that it was hard to accept. But the management at HK Electric ensured that the staff got hands-on experience with building the apps themselves, with step-by-step teaching, and using the apps in live scenarios. They felt that in this way, staff would naturally learn to accept the new working practice.

The HK Electric IT Department admitted that they do not have the time or resources to troubleshoot too many problems at once. In fact, back then IT support sometimes refused ad-hoc requests from users. Having the staff build the apps by themselves reduced the burden of the IT staff, let the staff improve their own apps on the fly, and thus kept development time and costs low. Also, the staff understood the apps that their own departments were using better than the IT staff, and as a result the apps were better suited to actual requirements during live operation. Still, the staff can get help from the IT department if any weird problems are encountered.

HK Electric adopted Dragonce as their mobile application development platform. 9 out of 12 of HK Electric’s business units each sent 5 of their staff to attend a 3 day Training Course on Dragonce held by our company. The students, who were acquainted with organizing and analyzing data at work with Excel, drew up use cases for their apps beforehand. They had to think logically and became accustomed to the operation flow that the apps involved. By May 2021, 70 users from HK Electric developed about 130 mobile applications. Out of these 130 mobile applications, examples of these used internally at HK Electric are: “Anti-Wind Inspection”, “Risk Assessment Before Work”, “Site Inspection Records and Reminders”, “Pit Worksite Monitoring”, etc. An example of an app that involves external cooperation with NGOs is a part of the “Care and Share” Mid and Small Eatery Assistance Scheme; the app helps community centers register applicants and distribute meal vouchers. Currently, HK Electric apps made with Dragonce see more than 1,000 active users per day, and these users are not just limited to internal HK Electric department staff, but also can be suppliers, contractors, and business cooperation partners.

Use case: “Pit Excavation Monitor” App
Smartphone Screenshot of the pit excavation monitoring app (pic provided by HK Electric)

Transmission and Distribution Senior Rotating Operations Engineer Lee Ka Kit developed by himself an app for monitoring pit excavations within half a year. Pit excavations are executed 24/7, such as when power outages happen due to unforeseen circumstances. Before, a staff member went out on a daily basis to inspect several worksites, then returned to the office to enter data and communicated with contractors via email, to ensure completion of work before the deadline. All of this took at least one hour. Now, the staff member, while onsite, simply enters the data into the mobile app, all of which takes one minute. An added benefit is that he can quickly obtain and record feedback from construction workers and contractors onsite, who might have a better grasp of the worksite situation.

Use case: “Care and Share” SME Caterers Subsidy Scheme

The “Care and Share” Small and Medium Enterprise Caterers Subsidy Scheme, which is still ongoing this year (2023), is a large program that involved the distribution of 800,000 dining vouchers and the release of $20,000,000 in relief funds to participating eateries in 2020. Due to the huge amount of data involved, it took three months to create an app for the program. The app was used by community center staff to register applicants and immediately hand out coupons. Participating families would scan the QR code at eateries to quickly record the amount of coupon money spent. HK Electric management claimed that around 100,000 pieces of A4 paper, 80,000 HK Electric employee working hours, 17,000 social organization and mid/small sized eatery staff work hours, and 5 million dollars in operation cost were saved.

Photo of Staff helping customer register for "Care and Share" (pic provided by HK Electric)

Smartphone Screenshot of "Care and Share" mobile registration page (pic provided by HK Electric)

Use case: Electrical Appliances Subsidy Programme

In the “Energy-efficient Appliances Subsidy Programme”, which is still going on this year (2023), HK Electric staff used to print out forms in paper for all cooperating NGOs. Social workers would visit the applicants’ homes, fill out the application paper forms, then mail them to HKE. HK Electric staff were then embroiled in the time-consuming process of entering all the data into the system back in the office. They would have to calculate the subsidy amount, check the eligibility of each applicant, and print out approval paper forms. This was highly prone to human error and expended a lot of paper.

Currently, the procedure begins with HK Electric staff entering an appointment into the system that automatically notifies the social workers about their home visits. During the home visit, social workers record data and take photos with a mobile app. Finally HK Electric staff approve the application in the office. The digitized procedure conserves labor and increases work efficiency.

Recognition by Management

The board of directors at HK Electric were pleased enough by the effect of the digital transformation that they contacted the press to acknowledge both the increased productivity and innovation brought on by our platform and the work of end-users. Our company was awarded with “Special Recognition for Innovation” by the Hong Kong Management Association, HKMA.

Link to article on the same topic by Hong Kong Economic Times:


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