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Centrica: Making it simpler and more efficient for customers to contribute to a clean-energy future

Explore Centrica’s journey with SAP

As a multinational British energy services and solutions provider, Centrica plc is helping foster a greener future by making it possible for customers to sell microgenerated energy from their homes and business back to the national grid. To do this, it built the custom, cloud-based Microgen solution on SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP)

48

%

reduction in customer complaints.

13.5

%

decrease in the rate of abnormal system events or errors.

78

%

reduction in operational downtime.

Centrica values every opportunity to save our planet. SAP BTP provides a platform for building innovative IT solutions supporting Centrica’s sustainability vision.

Serdar Simsekler
Head of SAP Technology
Centrica plc

The Challenge

Promoting clean energy with a state-of-the-art cloud solution

Sustainable energy production is critical to the health and well-being of people and the planet.

 

With that in mind, Great Britain’s Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) initiative aims to promote interest in renewable electricity generation by requiring electricity suppliers to enable small-scale generation of low-carbon electricity, which can then be exported to the national grid. In return, the supplier pays the customer for the exported electricity.

 

To that end, Centrica plc looks to make microgeneration as simple as possible for its retail and business customers.

 

But the application it was using to manage the process was out of date. Not only did the system need to be taken offline to perform regular maintenances, but it was also hard to find people with relevant skills for implementing changes. This stretched timelines for applying regulatory changes and put the business at risk of noncompliance. It also made deploying new capabilities, such as bank transfer payments, UX improvements, single sign-on, and address searching, costlier and more time-consuming – making it hard to justify the costs of implementing anything but mandatory requirements.

 

The application also struggled to manage increasing loads, making it clear that it would not be able to sustain the more than 200 new microgeneration customers Centrica is adding every month.

 

To effectively manage customer, contract, and billing data for microgeneration accounts, Centrica needed to build a modern, cutting-edge, and scalable solution in the cloud.

With Microgen now running on SAP BTP, we have the scalability and flexibility to continue innovating and adding new customers. That means a lot more clean energy, which is good news for us and the planet.

Helen Mallett
Head of Digital Enterprise Services Delivery
Centrica plc

The Solution

Increasing flexibility, scalability, power, and performance

To achieve the flexibility and scalability it needed for the cloud-based Microgen tool, Centrica chose SAP BTP, which provides the necessary platform services to build a comprehensive cloud-native solution.

 

SAP Cloud Application Programming Model was the model used to build Node.js back-end applications, and SAP Business Application Studio was used by developers to build all the Microgen applications, leveraging SAPUI5 technology and following standard guidelines for the SAP Fiori user experience (UX). Data was replicated from an Oracle database to the SAP HANA Cloud database using SAP HANA smart data integration. SAP HANA Cloud provides fast data access and data processing procedures for data-intensive operations, such as billing simulations.

 

One point of access for all applications was built using the SAP Launchpad service, with SAPUI5 and the SAP Fiori UX. The applications can also consume third-party APIs for things like address validation and meter reads using SAP API Management technology.

 

A smooth yet secure login experience is made possible with single sign-on using the Identity Authentication service and role-based access controls.

 

Finally, the SAP Data Intelligence solution pulls reporting data from SAP HANA Cloud to be put in files for sharing. It also retrieves billing data from SAP HANA Cloud and pushes it to Centrica’s SAP for Utilities solutions for back-end transactions, such as payment processing and correspondence.

 

As a partner on the project, the team from Cognizant helped make sure the Microgen application was delivered both on time and within budget.

The Result

Improving efficiency and customer service for clean-energy generators

With Microgen, Centrica has a scalable, flexible solution that serves more than 120,000 customers – with 200 more being added each month.

 

Not only can customers now get paid through bank transfer, but with more validations implemented and error-prone side processes eliminated, Centrica is also recording a 48% decrease in complaints. Plus, with automated appointment booking and an average drop of 13 seconds in customer handling time – a significant call center KPI improvement – service representatives can spend time on more value-adding tasks.

 

Business users love the streamlined login and having all the apps they need in one place. And IT is happy with the increased agility and speed with which they can make changes and deploy new functionality. In fact, by moving to the cloud, Centrica is unlocking roughly £130,000 in cost savings and repurposing roughly £27,000 in hardware each year. And the 78% decrease in operational downtime is good news for everyone. On top of all that, regulatory changes can be implemented more quickly, thus reducing the risk of noncompliance.

 

The result: a more effective system for providing excellent customer service to microgenerators to promote the generation of more than 730 GWh of clean energy every year – corresponding to more than the city of Oxford’s annual electricity consumption.1
 

1. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 2020 consumption reported for Oxford local authority in the Sub-national electricity consumption statistics for 2005 to 2020, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/regional-and-local-authority-electricity-consumption-statistics.

SAP helps Centrica run better

Key business outcomes and benefits

  • Higher customer satisfaction as evidenced by a nearly 50% reduction in customer complaints
  • Greater convenience with automatic bank transfers for Microgen payments, eliminating the need to send customers paper checks
  • Time saved for service representatives by cutting roughly 13 seconds from the average customer handling time
  • Higher user satisfaction with a modern UX, streamlined login process, and the automation of customer appointment booking
  • Better data quality as a result of data validation
  • Higher availability, better scalability, increased storage and processing power, and more agile change delivery 

Featured solutions and services

  • SAP Business Technology Platform brings together capabilities for application development, data intelligence, and integration to drive innovation and faster business results.
  • SAP Business Application Studio is a modern cloud-based development environment, tailored for efficient creation and extension of SAP solutions.
  • SAP API Management lets you expose processes and data as APIs in an API portal, so you can create simple, connected digital experiences for consumers, partners, and employees.
  • SAP HANA Cloud is a high-performance, fully managed in-memory cloud database as a service that provides advanced analytics on data.
  • SAP Data Intelligence provides a data fabric to connect, integrate, discover, enrich, and orchestrate disjointed data assets into actionable business insights.

About Centrica

Centrica is a British multinational energy services and solutions company that is committed to creating a cleaner, greener future. Active in the utilities, HVAC, smart home, exploration, and trading sectors, Centrica’s goal is to cut customer and company emissions to reach net zero. To do this, it is investing in low-carbon technologies and solutions to help build a better future for us all.

Industry Region Company Size Partner
Utilities Windsor, United Kingdom 23,200 employees Cognizant
Featured partner

Cognizant engineers modern businesses by helping clients modernize technology, reimagine processes, and transform experiences so they can stay ahead in our fast-changing world. Together, Cognizant and its customers are improving everyday life.

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