As companies increasingly transform themselves into digital businesses, their IT operations don’t merely become more ubiquitous - they become more crucial to business success.
That is certainly the case for Centrica, an integrated, international energy company with major interests in energy production, supply, and storage throughout the UK, Ireland, and North America.
Centrica EM&T’s trading platform was a case in point. Platform uptime was essential to capturing maximum revenue from trading operations. So was the speed of overnight batch runs, which had to be completed before traders could know their starting positions for the next day.
But the trading platform didn’t perform at the level, and with the speed, that Centrica EM&T needed to meet its business goals.
"IT used to be the bottleneck on anything that needed to get done. Since working with Avanade, we have a track record of meeting business needs. IT is now an asset that gives the business confidence to explore opportunities."
To solve its technology issues, Centrica EM&T chose Avanade, founded by Microsoft and Accenture.
Centrica EM&T engaged Avanade in 2013. By the end of 2014, the trading platform supported a 50 percent increase in trading volume, along with a corresponding increase in gross margins. Behind that business turnaround was an equally remarkable technology turnaround. Platform uptime is at 99.9 percent, in part as a result of reductions in the number of downtime incidents (by 50 percent) and in the average time to resolve those incidents (by 60 percent). Overnight batch-runs are now regularly completing in time for start of daily operations, when previously they were frequently over-running and without proper maintenance would regularly fail to meet business needs.
Avanade put in place a team of 100 consultants, 20 deployed on application development, and 80 on a range of application maintenance functions, including preventative maintenance, second and third tier maintenance, environmental management, testing services, and database administration. About 30 percent of the Avanade consultants were located with Centrica EM&T’s own IT staff, where they could provide knowledge transfer to make their staff more effective.
Research firm IDC estimates that the cumulative benefit of Avanade’s engagement to Centrica EM&T over five years will be substantial. Most of its gain will come from the additional business Centrica EM&T can capture as it increasingly becomes a digital workplace in which traders are more able to maximize their productivity, aided, rather than hindered, by the trading platform.
- 50% increase in trading volume
- 50% reduction in downtime incidents
- 60% reduction in time to resolve incidents