How SkyFire Energy Reinforced a Culture of Trust Through a Central Operations Hub

Founded in 2001, SkyFire Energy has become a significant force in the renewable energy sector, offering both installation services and operations and maintenance (O&M) for solar energy solutions and electric vehicle (EV) charging systems. With a dedicated team of 130 professionals operating across three Canadian provinces, SkyFire has effectively managed a large scope of projects in residential, commercial, and utility sectors. 

This case study focuses on SkyFire’s journey, highlighting its proficiency in streamlining operations amidst rapid growth. A critical factor in SkyFire’s success has been the synergy between its organizational culture – built on trust – and advanced technology, enabling the company to adapt and capitalize on opportunities in a fast-evolving industry.

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Over the last few years, SkyFire has achieved a great level of success. However, with an increasing number of projects and a growing team, this highlighted operational challenges that would prevent continuous growth.

Using a System Outpaced by Growth

The first visible hurdle was their operational platform—it couldn’t keep pace with expansion. This predicament is familiar to many fast-growing companies where initial infrastructure becomes inadequate as they scale. In other words, the old adage of ‘what got you here, won’t get you there.’

“It got to a point where the platforms we were using, were not keeping up with our needs”

James Nason, Residential Project Manager

As the company expanded, it became evident that there was a significant piece missing from the growth puzzle. As they brought in more and more projects, it became increasingly difficult to coordinate operations from disconnected systems.

In addition, with more projects also came the need to grow the team, and onboarding new hires also became less and less efficient. There simply was no easy or straightforward way for new employees to be plugged into the system. They had to go through weeks if not months of learning through osmosis and trial and error – which, needless to say, slowed down the whole team and introduced additional delays and costs.

It became clear that, without a Central Operations Hub, any additional investment in people or tools would take a long time to lift productivity and would only go so far. A simple metaphor to explain what was happening is that of an orchestra. 

Without a conductor, no orchestra can perform at its best, regardless of how talented the individual musicians may be and how well-crafted the instruments are. Similarly, a team cannot grow and scale to its full potential without a central hub of operations coordinating and connecting everyone and every tool.

Impact on Employee Well-being and Productivity

In addition to the inefficiencies with new employee onboarding, an additional significant indicator of the need for change was the impact on existing employees. The outdated and inefficient system led to increased stress and employee burnout, highlighting that the issue was not just technical, but also profoundly human. The frustration and exhaustion among employees underlined the urgent need for change. 

“The tipping point for us came when we started seeing our platform negatively impact our team executing the work. At a certain point, we saw that it was going to burn people out and simply not work anymore—we had to build for the future.”

– James Nason, Residential Project Manager

This situation was particularly important to management given SkyFire Energy’s strong organizational culture that places a high value on employee well-being. The company’s commitment to its workforce meant that addressing these challenges was not just a matter of upgrading technology, but also of preserving the core value of trust that defines their work environment.

Key Reasons For Choosing Scoop 

SkyFire’s decision to choose Scoop was influenced by the role it promised to play as a Central Hub of Operations and the platform’s exceptional adaptability and customizable features. In the ever-changing landscape of the solar and renewable industries, with frequent new product introductions, market cycles, and regulatory changes, Scoop’s ability to rapidly accommodate these factors was highly valued. 

“The adaptability and the configurability were what sold us on Scoop. Ultimately, the reason that adaptability is beneficial is because, as anyone in this industry knows, things change day to day, week to week in ways that we have no control over.”

– James Nason, Residential Project Manager

The platform’s design allows for efficient and intelligent updates, a crucial feature for a growing company like SkyFire facing increasing project complexity across multiple geographies. This adaptability and the capability to implement changes almost instantaneously made Scoop an ideal fit for SkyFire.

A Well-Planned Deployment: The Key to Success

While onboarding new technology can be daunting and time-consuming, its strategic importance cannot be overstated. A thorough and well-executed deployment process is critical in mitigating the risks and consequences associated with inadequate or poorly executed implementation. Selecting the right team and engaging them in the implementation process can not only ensure the system is configured in a practical way but also make them feel empowered and heard.

Dedicated ‘Scoop Champion’

Having James, their residential project manager, as the dedicated individual or ‘Scoop champion’ to lead the charge was invaluable. He acted as a bridge between Scoop and the SkyFire team, understanding both the platform’s technical aspects and the team’s practical needs. His nearly full-time involvement was crucial for a smooth launch, as he provided consistent support, addressed issues promptly, and helped the team adapt to the new system. His role was operational and motivational, helping drive enthusiasm and acceptance for the new technology. 

Leadership Support

The role of the leadership team in the change management process is pivotal. SkyFire’s leadership team was all in with Scoop and was ready to allocate time and resources to ensure success—such as a dedicated champion. When leaders are actively involved and invested in the implementation, it demonstrates a commitment to the change and encourages buy-in from the entire organization. This active participation helped address resistance, manage expectations, and foster a culture open to change and innovation.

Results: What SkyFire Energy’s Operations Look Like Today

Through Scoop, SkyFire went from a disjointed system and ad-hoc processes to creating a unified and standardized experience for their entire team. This not only improved their operations and ability to deliver projects but also the lives of their employees.

Streamlined Processes and Seamlessly Integrated Software 

The adoption of Scoop as a Central Operations Hub at SkyFire represented a significant evolution in the company’s approach to project management. Previously, the challenge was using multiple disparate software tools, which complicated the management process and made it difficult to obtain a comprehensive view of projects. This fragmentation not only hindered efficiency but also led to increased time spent on coordinating various software applications.

“Everyone in the industry is familiar with having a million platforms to wrangle but, thanks to Scoop and their integrations team, our systems are now connected and centralized.”

– James Nason, Residential Project Manager

With the introduction of Scoop, SkyFire experienced a transformative change. The platform centralized all residential project and service call functionalities into a single, cohesive system. This shift brought about several critical improvements:

  • Increased Efficiency: Leveraging a Centralized Operations Hub meant spending less time gathering information from different sources and more time on productive work. It streamlined communication, reduced the likelihood of human errors, and created a single source of truth for any important project information.
  • Standardized Processes: As SkyFire grew, maintaining consistency and quality across expanding teams and regions became paramount—they could no longer rely on the tribal knowledge of a small team. Here, Scoop plays a pivotal role by standardizing and automating workflows, checklists, and processes. As James explains, the platform serves as a ‘gate’ that ensures tasks and projects are correctly executed from start to finish.

“When you set up Scoop the right way, it makes it easy to trust your team and trust yourself to keep track of projects. I now spend much more time doing things that move us forward rather than putting out fires left and right.”  

James Nason, Residential Project Manager

This quote from James represents a perfect depiction of how having the right technology in place can not only have a positive impact on operations but also on the people who make everything possible—which brings us to our next point.

Reinforcing SkyFire’s Strong Culture and Values

Scoop’s impact at SkyFire extended far beyond operational improvements—the platform played a significant role in complementing and reinforcing the already strong culture of trust and employee well-being at SkyFire. Through streamlined and standardized work processes, Scoop helped them preserve their organizational identity while scaling and managing more projects than ever.

  • Enhanced Trust & Empowerment: The clarity and transparency provided by Scoop solidified trust within teams, as everyone had the tools and information they needed to execute their work properly. At SkyFire, Integrity is one of their core values, and Scoop made it much easier to practice what they preached. The platform reduced their need for supervision or backtracking, allowing managers to focus on leading the organization rather than taking part in counterproductive micromanagement. 
  • Faster Onboarding: For new employees, Scoop facilitated a quicker and more comprehensive understanding of their roles, leading to faster and smoother integration into the team. Standardizing processes ensures clarity when learning how to execute projects as everything is clearly mapped out and standardized.

“We just onboarded a new team member with minimal experience in solar and Scoop made the learning curve much smoother than ever before. The platform essentially served as a learning tool. By seeing all our processes mapped out and standardized, she was able to become a rockstar in no time.”

– James Nason, Residential Project Manager

Wrapping it All Up

SkyFire Energy’s successful integration of the Scoop platform showcases the significant impact of adopting the right technology to address growth challenges. Initially hampered by an inadequate system, SkyFire faced operational inefficiencies and employee strain. The transition to Scoop, characterized by its adaptability and a well-managed onboarding process, marked a significant turnaround. A dedicated ‘Scoop Champion’ and strong leadership involvement were crucial in this transformation. 

As a result, SkyFire not only streamlined its operations but also reinforced their established culture of trust and efficiency. This shift led to improved project management, enhanced productivity, and a proactive work environment, underlining the importance of strategic technology implementation in driving business growth and maintaining a positive workplace.

If you’re facing challenges similar to those of SkyFire Energy and want to improve your operations, reach out to one of our passionate experts today!

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