How do you prove your credentials and expand into new markets by rapidly releasing new products?

Smart meter to show energy expenditure

The challenge

The UK Government had announced a new scheme to support homeowners with ways to improve energy efficiency and cut their bills. The trouble was the program was significantly behind schedule and the promised launch deadline was only three weeks away.

Our North American-based client had just won a place as a preferred software provider for the UK public sector. It was keen to prove its credentials and had just been asked to step in and help the UK Government deliver on its promise to launch its high-profile energy saving portal. The whole program was already behind schedule and the portal had to be live and able to receive applications from UK homeowners less than a month after the work was awarded.

Emergn was selected as our client’s technology service provider when we committed to helping them deliver in the three-week timeframe when our nearest competitor said it would take months. Within those three weeks, Emergn and our client had to deliver two things. Firstly, a citizen portal where any homeowner in the UK could submit their application for the Government’s energy efficiency progam. And secondly, connect the portal to our client’s underlying processing software to ensure robust data management.


By delivering the portal on time, we knew we would be helping our client demonstrate its credentials and expand in the UK market. Yet the three-week window for completing the work included time to sign all contracts. To onboard the team, agree what to build and build it. As well as test it, gather feedback and launch it to millions of people.

In parallel, we had to ensure the portal was fully integrated with our client’s backend software. This meant localizing the software for use in the UK (adapting language units and APIs). It also meant overcoming obstacles due to the time constraints like having to use virtual machines because part of the data processing software remained on legacy tech.

Following our key principles of Value, Flow, Quality (VFQ) – deliver value early and often, optimize the flow of work end to end, discover quality with fast feedback – we set to work with a compact product team for the initial release. The joint client-Emergn team covered UX/UI, front-end, back-end, DevOps, quality assurance, solution architecture and product management capabilities.

Our team created a cloud-native application portal using the Microsoft Azure suite of tools and components which in also supported us with data residency security, privacy, and scalability requirements. Terraform was chosen to build the infrastructure, as infrastructure as code gave the scalable, safe environment needed at pace; React & .NET to build the portal; CosmosDB for scalable and flexible storage; the Gov.UK Design System to comply with the UK government design guidelines and compatibility with variety of browsers and devices; and PowerBI – to visualize the application data.

Once this release was launched and stabilized, we gathered fast feedback and increased the size of the team to implement the changes for version 2. In the latter stage, we reduced the size of the team again so there were enough people to make small improvements and maintain the portal until the end of the program.

The team worked in 1-week sprints and used daily stand-ups to resolve blockers and answer critical questions. Reviews at the end of each sprint meant the wider stakeholders could see progress and give early feedback. This process also set the direction for the next sprint and ensured buy-in from all involved.

Our impact

Following the principles of VFQ, we delivered value early and often by building and launching the application portal in less than three weeks. This was only possible by optimizing the flow of work through sprints and by discovering fast feedback to ensure quality outcomes.

Successful delivery depended on the Emergn team creating small fixes daily (or even several times a day if necessary) while also making bigger improvements on a weekly basis. Our approach also enabled our own client to prove its credentials to the UK Government and build the business case to expand internationally.

Most importantly, our work on the portal enabled the UK Government to launch a scheme that enabled millions of homeowners to benefit from energy savings. A short while after launching, some 50,000 households had submitted applications for energy efficiency improvements – saving an estimated £28.5 million per year on their energy bills.

3 week

window to complete the work


estimated savings for UK households using the portal

Let’s have a conversation

"*" indicates required fields

Marketing preferences