With diversified interests in the power services and renewable power sectors, Canada’s Spark Power continues to revolutionize the way electricity infrastructure services are delivered. Since 2009, the company has experienced continued growth and is now over 400 employees strong, serving 4,500 customers.
Challenge — Connecting and Collaborating across the Province
With 16 individual offices across Ontario, the company has 5 individual leadership teams from each business unit that need to communicate with each other in real time. Determined to better its collaboration, Spark Power placed increasing value on its weekly leadership meetings and monthly business reporting meetings, which required all relevant employees’ attendance at the central office in Oakville on the west edge of Toronto.
Looking closely at these meetings — as well as ad hoc meetings throughout the week — Spark Power realized that an average of 16 to 20 people were losing an entire day to traveling for meetings. Given Toronto is the 47th most congested city in the world, 8th in North America and 2nd in Canada, trailing cities like Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, employees were frustrated as they spent an average of 4-6 hours traveling in the car to each meeting. While the system was unsustainable, the team was unwilling to sacrifice the level of collaboration that these meetings provided.
Thankfully, they discovered a solution to their collaboration chaos.
Solution — Energizing the Organization with Video Communication
The beginning of an acquisition of another company in the spring of 2016 introduced Spark Power to the award-winning Lifesize video communication technology, and the team quickly realized how revolutionary it could be to their business. The leadership teams completed the acquisition largely by coordinating between Canada and the Netherlands virtually, and by the end of the process, video had become a necessary, mission-critical business tool.
Spark Power rolled out a Lifesize Icon 600 high-definition conference room camera and phone system combined with the cloud-based software service in each of their offices, and shortly after, all weekly and monthly meetings began occurring via Lifesize. This offered participants a wide range of options for joining. While many participants call in via the Icon system in an office, employees in the field have the option to join meetings via the Lifesize web app, desktop or mobile client, or audio-only dial-in. The ability to meet face-to-face without driving long distances has increased productivity and made employees much happier.
“I can’t express how easy it was to get our systems up, running and everyone on board with video conferencing,” said Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Corporate Development Gord Reynolds.
Looking Ahead — Electrifying the Energy Industry and Sparking Change
Not only has the new technology had an impact internally, but when clients come into the office for meetings, the team makes an effort to call any relevant remote employees into the conversation via Lifesize. This has made a positive impact on the client’s perception of the Spark Power team.
“Clients see the way that we collaborate, and that sends a really neat message to them. They see that we’ve embraced technology in a way that none of our competitors have,” explained Reynolds. The cloud-based Lifesize platform fits neatly into Spark Power’s cutting-edge IT infrastructure, which relies heavily on cloud delivery models for critical systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP). New enterprise technology is opening the door to new opportunities for Spark Power, and Reynolds expects to leverage Lifesize in particular to help grow the company moving forward.
“The energy industry is currently facing an issue of an aging workforce. Professionals who have real technical proficiency are nearing the end of their career cycle. This means that a higher volume of young professionals need to be brought in to fill the gap,” explained Reynolds. He hopes to pioneer a solution for this problem by using Lifesize to connect knowledgeable professionals with multiple apprentices working in the field. As the industry evolves, Spark Power will stay ahead of the technology curve by leveraging innovative solutions to complex industry issues and trends, and Lifesize will play a key role.
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