4 Key Learnings We’re Taking into 2022

illu
3 min readJan 14, 2022

As we kick off 2022, there is a lot to look back on from our first year. We celebrated new users across 4 countries, implementation of exciting features, and countless lessons learnt from our clients & partners, all of which will help us continue to build a robust & valuable product. Taking these lessons forward, here some of our biggest takeaways for the year.

Microgrid technician using illu to perform & document preventative maintenance checks

1. We are broadening our mission to illuminating all field work

We first focused on O&M as an area that we saw was particularly challenging for DRE developers. Through hundreds of conversations with experts and users, we realized the challenges we were working to solve are not unique to O&M. Whenever projects depend on field work — technical processes performed on site by remote technicians — similar challenges arise! We realized that illu can be helpful for field work at all stages of project development.
Ultimately, reliability of distributed energy depends on good field work at every step: installation, commissioning, operations, and maintenance.

The illu team has worked with our current users to develop workflows in the following areas: QA/QC, Site surveys, Commissioning checklists, and Operator training processes.

Our Takeaway: Moving forward, we are realigning our focus to field work across feature implementation to make sure our users can continue to be innovative with their use of illu.

2. Modularity & Flexibility are key product goals

Our users have varied and customized processes for their day-to-day work. This means that they need tools that can mold to their processes and are flexible to those needs. At illu, we are focused on building something that does not define a process but allows users to embed the process they use by prioritizing modularity & flexibility.

Our Takeaway: We are making existing features more flexible, such as allowing users to define their own Job types (available Q1 2022), as well as opening up additional ability for users to customize the app.

3. We have the opportunity to build a community that can aggregate and share the knowledge trapped in the minds of technicians

We have heard system developers and operators in vastly different geographies share very similar challenges and issues they face. For example, chronic failure points on solar water pumping systems. While there is rarely a one-size-fits all solution, across these stories there is an opportunity for building a community to share best practices & lessons learnt. Going into the next year, we are setting this is a key goal as we know the ways that this can help our users define new processes or refine old ones and give them access to aggregated best practices they can leverage through Workflows. This way, field workers can take on their work empowered with knowledge & confidence.

Our Takeaway: We are building a library of best practice workflows to be available for all users on our desktop application launching in Q1 2022. We are also exploring ways for technicians to provide suggestions on workflow content to encourage ongoing improvement of best practices.

4. Improved data collection around field work is critical

Before you can do any analysis on what works and what doesn’t, you have to collect clean data on what actually happened at site. Without standardized data on the specific, modular processes performed on site, there is no way to analyze how effective those processes were. For most developers, the data gathering is the biggest hurdle to prevent them from understanding current productivity and implementing improvements.

Our Takeaway: We are exploring ways for managers and field work supervisors to quickly pull down data on field work performed on site tracked through the illu app.

We are excited to continue our work in 2022 and look forward to supercharging more field work to help remote electrification easier. Curious about our lessons learnt or our product? Or have ideas on how to build on these takeaways? Reach out at natasha@illu.works!

About illu

illu is a software platform to manage DRE field work, focused on solar-storage and microgrids. We’re aggregating and distilling field work knowhow (currently stowed away in the brains of industry veterans) and making it super easy to share this knowledge to front-line technicians as they’re dispatched. Interested to learn more? Schedule a demo at www.illu.works

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illu

illu is a work management platform for teams deploying, operating, and maintaining distributed renewable energy (DRE) systems