SNCF, France's State-Owned Railway, Uses Cutting Edge Mobile Tool
Client:National Society of French Railways (SNCF)
- Rethink mobile app to incorporate the opportunities offered by tablets
- An agile approach to app development
- A rich and innovative application completed in 1 year
- Near-unanimous user satisfaction
- Well-managed modernization
The National Society of French Railways (SNCF), France's state-owned railway company, operates and maintains a rail network covering 20,000 miles and accommodating 14,000 trains daily.
With such an impressive and important infrastructure to keep moving, the company's 15,000 train drivers must stay on top of every task.
To help with this, SNCF brought the digital world into the heart of its business in 2009, when it equipped train drivers with a smartphone solution. Developed with CSC, the app, called Sirius, allowed drivers to plan their workdays, aided them in operations and helped them complete daily activity reports.
But as a new generation of technologies, including tablets, came into play, it became clear that the company needed an ambitious update to the app to better align with users. The result? Sirius NG.
The development of Sirius NG was approached from a business perspective. CSC and SNCF gathered feedback about the earlier version of the app from users and sponsors and used that input to address demands. The app also met the specific needs of different SNCF operations, which include Transport Express Régional (TER) trains, Transilien suburban rail, Intercités classic network and TGV high-speed rail and freight.
From the outset, worker representatives were engaged on a national level to voice user concerns that needed to be addressed. The project team also established a change management plan that included adopting certain features, defining training needs and drafting a user's charter.
Agile methods were used to develop the updated app and involved all affected parties, including a panel of train drivers who actively contributed to design, delivery and change management.
CSC played an integral role in the full process. "CSC brings not only its technological and methodological expertise, and consequently its business knowledge, but also its pragmatism in the quest for success," says Fabrice Bréard, Sirius' project chief.
TRUE NEXT-GEN EXPERIENCE
Design and ergonomics experts advised the team on how to maximize the product for the newest mobile technologies and abilities, such as a tablet's larger screen and interactivity tools. "To [deliver] its full value and obtain complete adoption by users, a [business-to-business] application must be in line with the consumer standards of the general public," says Bréard.
In addition to the change in hardware and underlying technology, the tool now supports many of the train drivers' tasks with paperless documentation, automated recovery missions, location and real-time display of information, automated completion of activity reports, tracking of the trains' regularity and messages about missions in operation.
"The paperless and mobility projects must go beyond simple transposition of existing technologies and be rethought from the ground up with a logic of profound business and digital transformation," says Christophe Lienhard, senior partner in management and information system consulting at CSC.
The approach led to two major ergonomic innovations in Sirius NG: a screen that borrows the type of 3D scrolling used in automobile GPS systems, and a service bulletin presented as an intuitive schedule.
Other innovations suggested by CSC, including preloaded user manuals and multimedia training materials, as well as a self-training environment, helped facilitate the successful adoption of the solution. And a function that allows users to personalize their use of the tablet has been a welcome feature.
A positive collaboration and effective approach allowed CSC to deliver a complete solution in less than 1 year. Ninety-nine percent of users report being satisfied or very satisfied with the product. This approval rating, and a change management system deemed more than 90% positive, has allowed a sooner-than-expected deployment.
Praised by both SNCF and CSC, Sirius NG has been more than just a successful solution. For train drivers, it offers a true digital workstation that strengthens their connection with the company and brings them relevant perspectives on changing practices, processes and ways of working.