Thursday, 1st October 2020

The need for flexibility and scalability

Centrica plc, the “Cloud first” multinational energy and services company, has deployed Citrix technology to simplify and standardise desktops for 18,000 employees.

The “cloud first” energy and services company, teamed up with Patrick Babic, service owner for Centrica’s End User Computing (EUC) team and its EUC service partner Fujitsu to develop a new solution based on Citrix Cloud services and improve its operating capacity.

The need for flexibility and scalability was a big driver for change

Centrica serves 26 million customers in the UK, Ireland and North America, and has 30,000 employees in locations all around the world, ranging from customer contact centres to energy traders working in the financial markets.

Previously, the business used a virtual desktop solution running on physical servers in its data centres, which was difficult to scale at speed or cost-effectively. This made it impossible to flex capacity in line with business seasonality, such as the greater demand on contact centres during the UK’s winter period.

As the server hardware was approaching end of life, Centrica worked with Babic and its EUC service partner Fujitsu to develop a new solution on Citrix Cloud services. Centrica has a cloud-first strategy and moving the virtual desktop to cloud has allowed the business to simplify and standardise its desktop whilst also bringing greater flexibility and cost savings.

From design to deployment in just five months

The team built two completely new, standardised desktop solutions, collating and simplifying 1,200 different applications that could ultimately be rolled out to 18,000 users around the world. The platforms, both connected to the Citrix Cloud services, were delivered to users in just five months.

For energy traders, where their trading software did not support a move to cloud, the team designed an on-premise desktop located in the private datacentre used by traders.

With the solutions now fully rolled-out in Europe and supporting contact centres, Centrica will shortly deploy them to its North American locations as well – aiming to have a single, global platform with a standardised build and user experience.

A global cloud approach brings efficiency and cost savings

The project is already cost-neutral and it’s forecasted that Centric will make cost savings in the first full year of operation due, in part, to the new model being consumption-based. With desktops on Citrix Cloud services and Microsoft Azure, Centric can spin up and down per region to meet seasonal demand. With Citrix Cloud services, Centric has also managed to reduce 44 management servers to a simple, single URL.

Centrica also has a huge robotic process automation (RPA) platform running on Citrix. With 350 bots running constantly, last year the platform processed over two million transactions which was 100% growth from a year before – this wouldn’t have been possible without a scalable solution. It’s activity that was previously done by humans, many of whom are now doing higher value work, so the benefits in productivity and cost have been huge.

Summarising the project, Steven Anderson, Fujitsu’s Global Client Executive for Centrica said: “Centrica, partnering with Fujitsu and Citrix, have designed, deployed and migrated thousands of users to a global desktop at pace and, critically, with no disruption to the business. It has been achieved collaboratively in just a few months, something that usually takes large organisations years to complete, meaning Centrica are quickly benefiting from a single, consistent user experience and cost savings.”

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