Lition Energy switches to Docmosis for its customer documents.
Lition Energy is at the forefront of the renewable energy industry with its blockchain-based trading platform.
This Berlin-based startup was co-founded in 2018 by Dr Richard Lohwasser and Dr Kyung-Hun Ha, both former executives of large German energy companies.
It was the pair’s dislike of the high prices being charged for renewable energy by the big 4 German utilities that gave them the idea to create their own green energy, blockchain-based marketplace.
Through the Lition Energy exchange platform, household consumers pay their green energy producer of choice without a big corporate intermediary. This creates a win-win scenario where consumers pay less, with a bigger share of the returns going directly to independent green energy producers.
Lition Energy’s exchange platform has positioned the company to be one of the fastest growing green energy sellers in Germany, with an uptake of a 1,000 households per month.
In partnership with world software leader SAP, the technical team at Lition is working on a next generation blockchain technology which will facilitate the scalability of its own energy platform as well as paving the way for other businesses to roll-out blockchain-based solutions that are fast, secure and legally compliant.
In recognition of their innovation and impressive technological achievements, Lition received the prestigious German Excellence Award in early 2020 as Germany’s number 1 startup platform by a distinguished jury of representatives from the nation’s business, science and media sectors.
“Docmosis basically had all the things that you would expect from a company which has its tech in order…”
The Lition platform initially relied on a third-party billing system for the generation of all customer documents from welcome letters through to invoices for electricity consumption.
“We had a billing system with an elementary way of creating customer templates and PDF documents but we wanted more flexibility,” says Dr Richard Lohwasser, CEO of Lition Energy.
However, the desire for more flexibility was not the Lition team’s primary concern.
As Richard explains, “The system was not running reliably. Every night we would look at the customers that were due for billing, then we would create the bills to send out to them. If our external billing service was not running for some reason, then our customers never received their bills.”
It was the ongoing glitches and the ensuing number of customer complaints which prompted the Lition team to consider alternative solutions.
As Richard states, “This billing problem happened far too often and that’s why we looked for a reliable document creation solution that was capable of generating all the stuff that you normally get from your electricity supplier.”
“The billing problem happened far too often and that′s why we looked for a reliable document generation solution…”
After experiencing first-hand the issues of using a complex, code-based document solution in his former workplace, Richard appreciated the benefits of staying with a template-based solution.
“With a template-based solution you don’t need all this ping-ponging between the developers and the business people. The business team can create the templates themselves without relying on the developers to do the work.”
Another key benefit in retaining a template-based solution centered on the team’s need to change customer documents quickly when new products get added to their energy marketplace.
As Lition’s Content-Marketing Producer Jolie Rochell mentions, “We are adding more products and services all the time, as well as rapidly increasing our sales partners”.
The team recognised the ease of adding new product lines within a template solution, as Richard explains, “As we add more products, templates can be modified quickly. It’s often just another IF-THEN statement.”
Apart from their requirements for reliable and flexible template-based document generation, Richard and his team knew they did not want to run their system on-premise anymore.
They were committed to finding a cloud-based solution that would eliminate the hassles involved with setting things up and having to deal with ongoing server maintenance.
After preliminary evaluations proved them to be unsuitable, the team gave some thought to building their own proprietary solution. At this time, Richard found Docmosis and decided to personally trial their cloud service.
First impressions were favourable. “It worked easily with a really nice, modern console with a few more handy features than our old system,” says Richard.
One consideration was pricing. As Richard comments, “We were mindful that some cloud providers charge ridiculous prices when their actual server costs are negligible, and you know that it’s all profit margin for them. This was not the case with Docmosis, we considered their pricing to be fair.”
The regional processing capabilities also mattered, as Richard remarks, “The Docmosis DWS3 cloud service is quite advanced technologically with several data centres to choose from. Our Lition blockchain is built upon data privacy, so it would be kind of weird to send the data to the States. It’s good that we could choose to keep the data processing in Germany, Frankfurt.”
After only a few days of trialling the software, the decision was made to proceed with Docmosis.
In summary, Richard claims, “Docmosis basically had all the things that you would expect from a company which has its tech in order. That was why we ended up switching to Docmosis.”
The task of creating the templates was handed to the business team.
“The beauty of the Docmosis setup is that you don’t need to be a programmer to understand the language. It is relatively simple, you have your IF statement, your loops and so forth,” says Richard.
“The business team were able to login, upload each template to the console, test it, change it, upload it again, and then repeat the process until the finished document looked good.”
The business team made swift progress by using the templates and documents from the old billing system as the starting point. In some cases, they redesigned the coded structure, leading to a better result.
As Richard explains, “We are now able to implement multi-branding, which is advantageous as we have a couple of other brands other than Lition. Depending on the brand of the product, the logos at the top of the page are able to be replaced.”
In parallel to building the templates, the Lition team implemented the Docmosis API which was found to be straightforward.
According to Richard, “It is a good API which works as expected. Some of the APIs that we had integrated before were horrible, but the Docmosis API worked instantly. It’s apparent that it has been developed with a technical mindset and a view to making the life of developers as easy as possible.”
The entire migration of Lition Energy’s customer document processing over to Docmosis was completed within a couple of weeks. Says Richard, “We went live in stages, migrating document by document from the old solution to the new solution. We did the ‘welcome letter’ first, then the dunning letters and the last step was the actual billing statement.”
Richard is clear regarding the primary benefit that has come from the switch to Docmosis which effectively relates to reliability.
“Ever since we migrated to Docmosis, there has not been one single instance where the document creation didn’t work.”
The second major benefit from implementing the Docmosis template-based solution over other alternatives relates to the reduction in time to market.
As Richard says, “By moving the process to a simple Word document, the business team were able to make the changes, so all the intermediary steps that you usually use to automate a document were cut out.”
The net effect was to reduce the time involved in the migration project from months to weeks.
The cost savings were equally notable, according to Richard. “Our billing system charged a lot for document generation. I’d say we benefitted from a 5X cost saving at least with the switch to Docmosis where price is calculated on a page quota basis. In relative terms, that is quite a big impact.”
The Lition team expects their use of Docmosis will continue to grow in line with their rapid increase in customers and product lines. With this growth, the Lition Energy team is content to continue with the scalable Docmosis cloudbased solution.
Richard regards their decision to go with a cloud-based option as one of the beneficial outcomes.
“Some might think it’s safer to run on premise. However, these days you don’t need to go on premise. We encrypt all the bytes sent to Docmosis so I can mathematically guarantee that the data cannot be hacked.”
The benefits that Lition Energy has derived from Docmosis has strengthened the ties between the two companies.
As Jolie concludes, “We cannot wait to keep evolving and growing our business. It is a great benefit to have a partner like Docmosis to guarantee the quality requirements that we strive for every day at Lition.”