Modernizing and scaling USA Compression’s core application
USAC is an independent provider of natural gas compression services to the midstream energy sector and gas lift compression services in artificial oil recovery. Its customer base comprises producers, processors, gatherers, and transporters of natural gas and crude oil. The company needed a workflow application that could support its reputation for industry-leading uptime and satisfy regulatory requirements for a publicly-traded company as it grew 20%+ year over year.
After going public, the company needed to take a more strategic approach to enhancing and maintaining the custom in-house ERP app it had relied on for years. Developed and maintained by an independent contractor, the application had outgrown its usefulness and was preventing the company from achieving its business goals and satisfying regulatory requirements. By partnering with Headspring, the company gained access to deep talent and proven methodologies to modernize this mission-critical ERP application to improve functionality, performance, and regulatory compliance.
The core challenges that we were facing were that we were quickly outgrowing the software that we were using for one of our core business applications. Headspring’s technical analysis helped us uncover key problems with our systems and core processes.
The company’s Unit Database (UDB) system is critical to business operations as it manages everything from inventory management, client contracts, maintenance and support tickets and time sheets. Developed in the late 2000s, the application is used on a daily basis by nearly every employee across the company. While an independent contractor had customized the application to suit the company’s needs over the years, development was handled in an ad hoc manner. Unfortunately, the contractor lacked the skills and capacity to stay abreast ofthe company’s needs as a growing enterprise. As a result, the company’s agility was hindered, even as it was paying increasingly higher prices to the contractor.
As a newly public company, the organization knew that SOX compliance was paramount. That, coupled with the fact that a large portion of the company comprises field technicians who work remotely and interact with numerous other departments within the organization, meant it needed to improve company-wide security and visibility.
After considering his options – including hiring his own team of enterprise software developers the company’s Vice President of IT decided to outsource. This approach wasin keeping with the company’s philosophy of maintaining a lean IT group to ensure agility.
Impressed by Headspring’s executive team, engineers and architects, he chose to partner with Headspring.
After assessing the client’s UDB system functionality and source code, we worked with the Vice President of IT to develop a strategy for modernizing the application and underlying data security. After seven months we achieved:
- Design and development of an advanced, highly automated workflow system linked to a commercial issue and project tracking software application
- Modernized data security model and workflow processes that help ensure SOX compliance
- A web-enabled interface for the business to enter software requests
- Resolution of more than 200 bugs in the client’s existing software system
- Deployment of over 40 feature enhancements
At the same time, Headspring assumed day-to-day support of the new application, helping eliminate the previous risk of relying on an independent contractor.
All this was achieved while the client was undergoing major platform upgrades to modernize its hardware and operating system. Some bugs were related to parts of the application associated with EPA compliance.
The company’s manual deployment used to take a developer 1-2 hours per week. Now a Service Desk employee can handle deployments in just 15 minutes. The Vice President of IT’s business colleagues are much happier now that their requests are handled quickly and expertly. Plus, with the implementation of the issue tracking system, the company can resolve customer support requests as much as 50% faster. That not only drivesinternal efficiencies, but has also resulted in customer satisfaction increasing to over 90%.
A centralized source code repository means the company can now safeguard all its workactivities and intellectual property. Plus, fully integrated systems and data enable an end-to-end view into all system changes, which is critical for SOX compliance.
With control over its mission-critical application, the company can now strategically plan enhancements and standardize its release cycle. In addition, a more mature and strategic process for change requests enables the IT group to get considerably more work done in a shorter time.