How Stake Center Locating – the market leaders in high-risk infrastructure and fiber optic network locating – is making a digital transformation journey transitioning its damage prevention expertise from legacy systems to the cloud

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“It’s a difficult transition,” concedes Kennedy when contemplating the tech transformation journey towards improved data management at Stake Center Locating.

“Anybody that’s done it, or is in the process of doing it, or even thinking about doing it, realises it’s a hard thing to overcome years, if not decades, of systems and ways of thinking built on premise. Getting that mindset shift right to be able to migrate to the cloud is probably the biggest obstacle to overcome. Getting everybody on the team to share that same vision going forward and rally around what we’re doing is key.”

Transitioning from legacy systems to the cloud

Stake Center Locating is a market leader in the development of high-risk infrastructure and fiber optic locating. Working across the United States – from cable and communication to electricity, gas or large fiber optic networks – it completes over 700,000 locate requests each month.

After hitting 8 million locates in 2021, and with growth of 30% forecast for 2022, Stake Center has embarked on a digital transformation journey led by its CIO David Kennedy.

Consolidating to innovate

A key focus for the IT team has been Stake Center’s ticket management system; here, the first step of the transition away from legacy operational systems has involved consolidating multiple applications into one to make data management more efficient. “Because it’s always easier to migrate a single application,” notes Kennedy.

After initially considering building their own IP, Kennedy opted to leverage the expertise of external partners “to do the basic blocking and tackling of keeping the system up and running 99% of the time”. Adding Stake Center’s own requirements to leverage the application with other damage prevention solutions will provide the best product possible to its customers.

“The upside of involving third-party experts in our transformation is allowing our whole team to be able to focus more on innovation and change,” says Kennedy. “But it needs to be a true partnership that goes beyond the typical client/vendor interaction.”

With two decades of experience in IT leadership roles Kennedy has a proven commitment to continuous improvement to achieve shared goals. “If you don’t measure it, you can’t attain it,” he notes.

“And then you need to implement the daily metrics, tracking and visual management to follow your progress. By outlining and tracking our technology goals we can make sure we improve. Measuring these with KPIs, visual boards and daily stand ups is key for me to check on our progress to further measure success and hold teams accountable to make sure the targets we outline are reached.”

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